WWE '12 (X360)
Developer: Yuke's Media Creation
Street Price (As On 2-Feb-2011): Rs 2200 (Flipkart.com); Rs 2300 (Letsbuy.com)
The end of last year saw the evolution of wrestling video game series Smackdown vs. Raw to WWE '12. To the joy of all wrestling fans, THQ and Yuke's Media Creation have brought about major revisions to the core mechanics to keep the franchise alive outside the squared circle.
The game is presented in a TV show format, thus maintaining the drama and action evident in and out of the ring. If you are a sucker for "pro" wrestling melodrama, you will definitely love the narrative that the video game equivalent brings along. WWE '12 features more than 60 superstars, including Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and Shaun Michaels, as well as new entrants such as Husky Harris and Sin Cara. The developers have painstakingly crafted each superstar's entrance, going so far as to adding the latest entrance themes of CM Punk, Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, and others.
In contrast to its previous iterations, WWE '12 has lived up to its tag line of "Bigger, Badder and Better". Its gameplay focuses on executing precision moves, just as they appear on TV. Button combinations let you execute a barrage of attacks, along with grappling moves. This year, the submission system also has a lot more depth as compared to Smackdown vs. Raw 2011. It is mesmerising to witness the seamless transitions between moves. Furthermore, the limb targeting system is a notable addition to the franchise. It lets you attack foes with greater accuracy and weaken them enough to execute either a submission or a finishing move.
This is not going to end well.
There are plenty of game modes and matches to choose from, such as Inferno, which isn't found in the TV show. The Royal Rumble is my favourite, and involves a 10, 20, 30, or even 40-man event. However, if you truly want to enjoy the game, get some friends along, or go online to experience the multiplayer. It could do with fewer bugs though.
Someone please give them a glass of Glucon-D.
Unfortunately, the Road to Wrestlemania mode is quite disappointing. It involves battling your way through a number of scheduled Monday Night RAWs, Friday Night Smackdowns, and various other pay-per-views occurring throughout the year before Wrestlemania. However, the storyline restricts you to a negative character, followed by an outsider, and finally as the intended hero.
The game provides a lot of customisation options. For example, you can make your own superstar by combining the entrance theme of Randy Orton with the finishing moves of Triple-H. You even have options to create your own finishing moves and arenas. The WWE Universe mode gives you a complete schedule of shows, along with the power to customise each and every one as per your wish.
The overall presentation of the game is quite good. The developers have done a great job of capturing the likeness of the superstars and their signature moves. The transition from one move to the other has been vastly improved over the previous versions of the game. You can even find the entrance themes of the superstars matching with the actions they perform while descending down the ramp. The smoke, pyrotechnics, and the video on the JumboTron adds up to a richer experience. Finally, the camera angles give you the feeling of actually watching the show on TV.
Look ma, no hands... and feet either!
The audio adds depth to the matches and cutscenes. For example, you can hear the crowd chant "Let's go Cena" or "Cena Sucks!" in the background, depending on whether you choose John Cena or play against him. The commentary is another aspect worth mentioning. Michael Cole is back (with his biased commentary for specific superstars) along with Jerry Lawler, but Booker-T isn't present in this instalment. The voice acting thankfully matches with the real voices of the wrestlers. The audio is good enough to tell the Irish accent of Sheamus from the British accent of Wade Barrett.
Yuke's has taken great efforts to bring alive the WWE franchise, and even succeeded to a great extent. The core gameplay mechanics have been pumped up, but certain aspects of the franchise haven't been faithfully recreated. Road to Wrestlemania, for example, could have benefitted from a better story. Moreover, the number of glitches and the lacklustre AI prove to be quite annoying at times. However, on the whole, WWE '12 is a fabulous simulation of the franchise - once you manage to look past these niggles.
Gameplay And Design: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5