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WWE '12 Preview (Xbox 360)

I visited THQ this week to play the E3 build of the newly rebranded WWE game, WWE' 12. The tagline is "bigger, badder, better" and from my experience over the last two days, it lives up to the tagline.

The game has been rebranded, eliminating the outdated "Smackdown vs Raw" name and joining other sports games with a more specific name related to the actual sport. There are numerous changes that I will try to cover over this preview.

Presentation

I have seen some complaints about the graphics not being upgraded over last year's game. Well, unless you see a comparison image, it pretty much does look the same as last year's game. However, once you see both games side by side, it's easier to see the improvements.

The graphics are definitely improved in about every way, including the wrestler's models, shadowing and the lighting. The lighting gives off the feel of a wrestling event being viewed on television. But even better than that are the new camera angles. They truly make you feel like you are watching Raw or Smackdown on TV. Along with the presentation upgrades are some more "gritty" graphical changes, including the ring having some bounce to it, the ropes shaking and the ring itself just having physics. These are small changes overall, but giant changes when all put together.

On the other hand, I'm still disappointed in the sounds of the game, especially the crowd. Nevertheless, they are improving, and the developers know they need to keep attacking this issue. The entrance themes now have reverb, which sounds fantastic, but the commentary is still weak. My only other real negative impression has to do with the meters on the screen. Simply put, for a game trying to mimic a TV broadcast, the meters look out of place.

Gameplay

Now on to what we really care about, gameplay. In short, you have to play this game to really appreciate how it has improved. The controls have been greatly improved while also being made simpler. Gone are the grapples from the right stick, replaced now by grapples on the face buttons. This will appeal to the hardcore crowd as well as the pick-up-and-play gamers. The game just moves so fluid thanks to the new graphics and control scheme. You are linking moves now, and the match actually tells a story instead of it being more like a fighting game in the past.

If you played WWE All-Stars, then you know about the interruptible animation system, which is also included here. No longer will you have watch or punch air while John Cena is doing the Five-Knuckle Shuffle during a triple-threat match. This alone makes the engine feel so much improved.

Beyond that, one of my favorite improvements is the wake-up taunt. This is something that has been needed for a long time in order to give you that TV feel. After you have a finisher ready and your opponent is down, you press up on the D-pad to initiate this wake-up taunt. So Orton will punch the mat while the still-groggy opponent stands up all. From there, you can then hit your finisher. On top of that, the RKO can be hit out of nowhere (except if someone jumps off the top rope at you, we tried). Adding to that, if you hit your signature move right before your finisher, you will have a more powerful finisher to add even more realism to the match.

Pins have also changed this year. You hold down a button before releasing it in a specific box to kick out -- no more button mashing to kick out. There are two things I love about this: the box moves around before each count, and if you hit the more powerful finisher described above, the count only appears after the one-count, giving you only one shot to kick out. Again, this makes finishers and matches feel better overall.

There is a limb-targeting system now as well. In a grapple situation, you press RB and a face button (on 360) to target a body part. The Y button is for the head, X or B is for the arms and A is for the legs. Each attack affects the body in different ways as well. This leads into the Breaking Point system, the new submission system in the game. It's essentially a button-mashing system to force the tap out, but it works better than in previous games. I can't say that I love any button-mashing systems, but this one surprisingly worked very well, especially in multiplayer matches.

The game now also features a comeback system that certain wrestlers carry.
In our build, both Orton and Cena had the ability to press a button after
taking a certain amount of damage to essentially get one chance to get back in the match. It made matches with a superstar like Cena feel very authentic. My only complaint was how it was implemented. It's one button press (Y button) for either the guy getting beat up or the guy winning the fight. It almost becomes a battle of making sure you can spam the button in time, especially against a human opponent.

Another change that fans may be really excited about are that there are now 12 attributes that every wrestler is rated on in the game. This also helps balance out the roster and make the individual wrestlers all have a different feel.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I came away very impressed with WWE' 12. The developers have a real passion to make this the best wrestling game they can, and they listened to both our positive and negative impressions.

I can't wait to see the final build. I told the developers -- and still feel this way -- that the E3 build of WWE '12 played better than Smackdown vs Raw '11, which is a great feat. I said it once but have to say it again, this is a game that needs to be played; the videos and screenshots don't do it justice.


WWE '12 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 PVarck31 @ 06/04/11 04:25 PM
Sounds great. Happy to hear the music has reverb. Make it more authentic.
 
# 2 Anaxamander @ 06/04/11 04:26 PM
I'm waiting for impressions about the AI. That was my biggest problem with the last couple games.
 
# 3 RedZoneD25 @ 06/04/11 04:26 PM
Thanks for the write up, and I'll be sure to keep an eye on this game.
 
# 4 Fiddy @ 06/04/11 04:37 PM
thanks for the write up man.. dang it, now im all fired up for this game!! lol..
 
# 5 Steve_OS @ 06/04/11 05:31 PM
EG is on a plane home, btw. I'm sure he wants to spend some much needed family time, so he'll get to the questions, when he can. Thanks.
 
# 6 Cubfan @ 06/04/11 07:20 PM
Thanks for the impressions EG
 
# 7 ExtremeGamer @ 06/04/11 07:23 PM
I will answer questions either later tonight or tomorrow. Thanks for the responses.


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# 8 BlueNGold @ 06/04/11 07:31 PM
Thanks for the impressions, EG. Glad you pointed out some of the negatives and things you didn't like as well.
 
# 9 DCDuck @ 06/04/11 08:04 PM
Online will still be filled with people playing 99-rated CASs.
 
# 10 Qb @ 06/04/11 08:11 PM
Hmmm... maybe I'll be buying a WWE game for the first time in a few years. I trust Scott's opinion, so hearing his positive take is encouraging. But how the AI plays will be the make or break for me, even if online could be a ton of fun.
 
# 11 PantherBeast_OS @ 06/04/11 11:06 PM
Extreme you did a good job on the writeup bro. The new controls sound good but a little strange to me right now. But I'm looking forward to playing the demo when it comes out. I'm also glad the see that they are going with more of a TV type cameras and all to make you feel like you are watching it on TV. I just hope the moves ain't scripted and all. The only thing that concerns me tho. That I can't pull off just any moves I want anytime I want. That's the only thing that bothers me. But still to early to judge until I see game footage and all. But again Extreme thanks for the review on WWE12 bro. I loved it very much.
 
# 12 Majingir @ 06/05/11 09:56 AM
Is the AI improved/harder to beat(last few years, even on legend mode, you could still win within minutes). So I'm hoping on legend mode we can see realistic wwe matches lasting 15+ minutes.

Does the game have more variety for slider adjustments? (Last year you could only really adjust the reversals when the main problem was how quickly a superstar received damage, I could win on legend without even hitting a finisher or signature move)

Does the game take as long as it did last year to load a superstars custom threads or a created superstar?

Is the tron still broken like it was last year where it just showed the brand logo on the tron during the match and during the post match cutscene, it didn't display anything at all.

Is there any new mode added other than just changes to RTWM and Universe mode?

And while the commentary isn't much improved, is it at least redone so some comments from 2007 and stuff aren't still in the game.

And is the crowd noticeably different or is it still silent for 90% of the matches.
 
# 13 ExtremeGamer @ 06/05/11 10:15 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Majingir
Is the AI improved/harder to beat(last few years, even on legend mode, you could still win within minutes). So I'm hoping on legend mode we can see realistic wwe matches lasting 15+ minutes.

Does the game have more variety for slider adjustments? (Last year you could only really adjust the reversals when the main problem was how quickly a superstar received damage, I could win on legend without even hitting a finisher or signature move)

Does the game take as long as it did last year to load a superstars custom threads or a created superstar?

Is the tron still broken like it was last year where it just showed the brand logo on the tron during the match and during the post match cutscene, it didn't display anything at all.

Is there any new mode added other than just changes to RTWM and Universe mode?

And while the commentary isn't much improved, is it at least redone so some comments from 2007 and stuff aren't still in the game.

And is the crowd noticeably different or is it still silent for 90% of the matches.
I can only comment on the E3 build so most of your questions I unfortunately cannot answer. The game does have the full Titantron working all match. It looks really nice. Sound, outside of the entrance themes sounds mostly the same, little cleaned up. There I updated commentary but still repeats itself. Cole is a huge Miz mark in the game and mentioned the Cole Miners. AI felt better but only one difficulty on the E3 version.

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# 14 ExtremeGamer @ 06/05/11 10:21 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by goh
I'll just re-iterate the questions I had from the other topic from the IGN preview and came up with a couple of more as well.

How are the movesets? Orton shouldn't be doing a springboard splash.

Can you still do the basic moves later in the match?

Is there anything representing medium grapples or is it just light and heavy?

Could the big meter at the bottom be turned off?

What current game does it most compare to?

Can the targeting system be mixed with weapons?

How long did your matches last?

Even though you say it feels less like a fighting game gameplay wise I assume the focus was still winning instead of putting on a good match but was there at least some sort of match rating system?

When you say the RKO can be hit out of nowhere other than being jumped at does this mean he has all the different variations at once now? Like the corner one?

Does the interupting move system make sense? Like if Cena had Miz on his shoulders for an AA and ADR punched him will Cena stagger and drop Miz with Miz landing on his feet or is it like the Gamecube games where they just sort of both fall over? For that matter does it work the other way? If Cena succeeds with the AA and ADR was standing next to him would Miz's feet hit ADR and ADR stagger or fall over?

Did it still have the enviromental grapples?

Has putting someone through the announce table been improved? It was so terrible last year.

I'll guess they didn't have commentary yet but if they did was it good? I'd ask if it was improved but it's hard to do worse than last year.

How many different body part attacks were there? I mean the attacks themselves. Like did they have 4 different arm attacks or just 1?
Wow.

The moves feel authentic. Of course some guys are going to have some they don't do, just like teams in NCAA and Madden will have plays they done run. Do you really want Cena only doing 3 moves?

The meter can be turned off but currently no way to know when you have sigs or finishers without it on. I was told they are still working in that.

The RKO works as now when it's stored you press "Y" and can hit it at any point. No grapple needed. Moves like the punt need to be started from the corner.

Just one attack for the head, arms, and legs in the limb targeting system. I was disappointed as well.



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# 15 LBzrule @ 06/05/11 11:47 AM
EG, what about physics. Will guys in a high flyer class like Rey Mysterio have a power game, where they body slam, choke slam, pile drive guys in heavy and super heavy weight classes like the Big Show? Also for Create a Wrestler are there parameters? Last year for online I hated how guys would create 7 foot wrestlers but have Rey Mysterio move set and 100 speed. Also, is the targeting system the same from Smackdown vs Raw 11?
 
# 16 ExtremeGamer @ 06/05/11 11:59 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by LBzrule
EG, what about physics. Will guys in a high flyer class like Rey Mysterio have a power game, where they body slam, choke slam, pile drive guys in heavy and super heavy weight classes like the Big Show? Also for Create a Wrestler are there parameters? Last year for online I hated how guys would create 7 foot wrestlers but have Rey Mysterio move set and 100 speed. Also, is the targeting system the same from Smackdown vs Raw 11?
Rey is not in the E3 build so I can't comment on that. No CAW or multi wrestler matches either.


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# 17 Majingir @ 06/05/11 12:57 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeGamer
I can only comment on the E3 build so most of your questions I unfortunately cannot answer. The game does have the full Titantron working all match. It looks really nice. Sound, outside of the entrance themes sounds mostly the same, little cleaned up. There I updated commentary but still repeats itself. Cole is a huge Miz mark in the game and mentioned the Cole Miners. AI felt better but only one difficulty on the E3 version.

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What was the difficulty you played on and how long did it take you to win a match?
 
# 18 cquigley @ 06/05/11 01:56 PM
This sucks, now this just adds to the treasure trove of video games I have to spend money on at the end of the year.
 
# 19 ExtremeGamer @ 06/05/11 03:12 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by cquigley
This sucks, now this just adds to the treasure trove of video games I have to spend money on at the end of the year.
What sucks? Please be constructive if giving any feedback.


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# 20 ChaseB @ 06/05/11 03:15 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtremeGamer
What sucks? Please be constructive if giving any feedback.


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It sucks that he now has to buy it he means.
 

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