Yet another instalment of a WWE game has been released by THQ/Jakks Pacific, and yet another game goes divided with opinion among the Smackdown! Community.
I have been playing these since Smackdown! Just Bring It and my favourite in this series is Here Comes the Pain. Does this game live up to that game? No. Is it a bad game? Read on and see.
As you start up the game you go through several loading screens, but they are quick. The usual THQ and Jakks Pacific logo, then a preview. In the review we see a kind of mix between WWE ’12 gameplay, and WWE in reality, done in the style of the intro to any WWE show. This adds to the feel that you are watching an interactive WWE show.
Now, for the past two years, Smackdown! Games have had a training ring as the menu screen. I never found this helpful, as I am a veteran of the series, so I know most controls to the game. However, to newcomers (and there are thousands every year), this was a very useful feature. This year, they decided to rid of this arena, and instead get a standard menu screen, with a mixture of Top WWE Superstars posted around it.
Now, there is not initial problem to this, but the training they have in this game, is pop-ups during your first match. Now this, in my opinion, is very bad. The first match experience per year in these games is always exceptional and always feeling real. It truly feels like you are playing as your favourite WWE Superstar in an actual match. The flow of the match is beautiful, and it plays like a harp, but it is ruined by game pausing pop-up information tips. You could be running at your opponent, full speed ahead, then PAUSE! ‘To move your superstar, use the left analogue stick.’
WWE ’12 has a brand new physics engine for superstars and objects. The physics system was introduced last year, but was not applied to superstars, just tables, ladders and chairs, along with various items the crowd hands to you ECW style.
Wrestlers have now stopped moving like headless chickens, and actually move like a human should. They also sell moves a lot better. For example: Early in the match, you hit a standard move like a clothesline, they will get up immediately, but still selling the move.
But, let’s not forget this is the first year they have done this. This leads to a steady amount of glitches.
Submission controls have gone back to button mashing, and I know that the majority of you may groan at this, but it is actually integrated well.
Button mashing online is often cheated, battery use so often done, or using oil on the fingers. But, THQ has taken this into account, and so pressing one of the face buttons is all that is necessary, and pressing more than that actually hurts your submission game more than helping it. Similar to fire-rates locked in place in First Person Shooter games, there has been a varied version of this included in this game. If you can press buttons faster than Batman can stop Harley Quinn, you won’t be punished, but you may find your half of the submission meter is not going as fast as you think it should.
Universe Mode (Universe 2.0) has also been improved this year. Or, so you’d think. Universe 2.0 has everything it had last year, making its own matches, allowing you to make your own, and cut scenes galore. This year it also has draft pick matches, the ability to defend a title on Raw or Smackdown (although the CPU doesn’t set these up), and even more cut scenes. Besides that, it hasn’t improved too much. If you would like to take somebody off your roster, you can out them in free agent, but it doesn’t stop them from being in pre or post-match attacks. There are also run-ins aplenty this year, which at first is actually quite fun. But, when you are going through a ten minute match, filled with R2 button presses at exactly the right time, but it still doesn’t reverse the move, and finishers left and right, when you finally get the upper hand enough to attempt a pin or submission, RUN-IN! This usually screws you over, and the CPU wins the match. You can almost hear the console of your choice laughing at you.
But, besides being laughed at by the PS3, this game is enjoyable. DLC is also promised for later this year however some superstars that are DLC only should have been in-game anyway. (Shawn Michaels is a prime example.) The glitches in this game are visual, and so it is never game breaking in my experience, more of a laughable matter. John Cena is still overpowered, but that’s true to life, and the Story Mode still sucks, again, true to life.