Previews

WWE '13: Breaking expectations in half by returning to the Attitude era

Attitude adjustment

Higher powers. Stone Cold driving a truck to the ring and drenching Mr McMahon with beer. D-Generation X attacking WCW. 24/7 hardcore matches.

TLC matches. Inferno matches. Mankind being thrown off the top of the Hell In A Cell, only to be chokeslammed through the roof minutes later. Shane O'Mac elbowing Big Show from the top of the Titantron. Cars filled with cement. Cars dropped from forklifts. Invasions. Screwjobs. Mr McMahon wetting himself in the ring at gunpoint. Mr Socko visiting the hospital. Cactus Jack going through the cell roof. Blood...

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The words 'Attitude Era' burn brightly in the minds of any wrestling fan who knows their stuff. It encompasses the latter half of the '90s and the early portion of this millennium, back when WWE was known as the World Wrestling Federation and the notion of PG-rated content was given a two-fingered salute by the company.

It was edgy. It was exciting. It was daring. It was marvellous. And it's precisely what you can expect from WWE '13.

People power

How apt that in the current age of John Laurinaitis' 'People Power' movement the people have spoken and THQ have listened. After last year's disappointing career mode execution, 'Road to Wrestlemania' has been wished well on its future endeavours and in its place is a career mode set entirely within the Attitude Era.

The campaign is all about reliving the past in the boots of eight classic Attitude Era wrestlers, and in a trick borrowed from WWE All-Stars and Legends of WrestleMania, THQ have got WWE to create over 20 bespoke videos (totalling 35-40 minutes of content) to build up the feuds and storylines using archive footage from the shows.

Unlike WWE All-Stars, however, the Attitude Era campaign won't just be a selection of separate matches with no linking themes. Instead we're talking one very long timeline with one wrestler's adventures dovetailing into another's, and although the campaign will be split up into chapters you'll experience the whole thing in chronological order.

What of WCW and ECW? Despite now living under the WWE umbrella these brands won't feature in any big way (WCW will appear from time to time in the show footage vignettes to explain how the Monday Night Wars are going, and HUD elements will pop up pre-match to describe how WWE is faring against its then-rival company), which is a shame.

Making up for their absence is the news of bonus matches that'll unlock as you play through the campaign, so if you're in the middle of a major storyline and you have a match on a PPV that was remembered more for a classic bout featuring a different character, you'll be able to relive that fight also.

And those blasted 'Press to finish the fight' prompts that were spread all through WWE '12's campaign mode? We're pleased to report they've been booted out of the arena and banned from making a return.

I do like Mondays

Of course, what made the Attitude Era truly shine were some of those once-in-a-lifetime moments we mentioned back at the start, which is why THQ have come up with the notion of 'Spectacular Moments'. They're the types of moves that tend to have the crowd yelling, "holy s***!" in awe, and they're finally getting the treatment they deserve.

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In the past games, throwing somebody off the Hell In A Cell and through the announce table was both fiddly and massively underwhelming. The move was frequently ignored by crowd and commentators alike, and after a quick breather the victim was up and ready to fight again as if they'd just suffered a clothesline.

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