WWE '12 Preview
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Can you smell...what THQ...is cooking?...
It might be a yearly franchise, but THQ do all they can to keep their WWE games fresh with new features. Fortunately, the latest game in the series looks once again to be an improvement on its predecessors. Dropping the Smackdown vs. Raw label, WWE 12 looks to be another step forward for the franchise, and Shadowlocked got hands on with the release at the recent GamesCom expo in Germany.
When the traditional WWE superstar entrances began, it was immediately apparent that the graphics have once again improved. Wrestling as Christian (Hey, I’m a peep) we saw that his model was far more detailed than last year, with plenty of real looking stubble and other facial features. A passing glimpse could see the superstar entrances in WWE 12 get mistaken for their real counterparts on television.
However, it’s the core, in-ring gameplay that’s changed the most, with all the Superstars attacks and grapples being controlled with the face buttons on the pad rather than the analogue sticks as in previous iterations of the game. This simplified control scheme, which owes a little to WWE All Stars, makes WWE 12’s gameplay faster flowing, and indeed more like what we have grown to love via its live counterpart.
Furthermore, WWE 12 makes the action much more realistic (or as realistic as is possible for the world of wrestling to be real) by allowing more interaction between opponents in matches that feature more than two superstars. While playing a Triple Threat match in Smackdown vs. Raw, the third superstar would stand there doing nothing while the other two were involved in grappling manoeuvres. In WWE 12, if the third superstar attacks, they’ll inflict damage as well as breaking their opponents up. Again, it’s just a little something that makes WWE 12 that ever so slightly more ‘authentic’ than previous iterations in the series.
There are also plenty of other tweaks and changes for WWE 12, including changes to how submission moves work. “In the past couple of years, the struggle submission system utilised the right analogue stick, and it wasn’t very engaging, you basically just held it in a direction to apply pressure.” WWE 12 lead gameplay designer Brian Williams told Shadowlocked. “This year, however, we wanted to go for a more classic submission gameplay, where the attacker and the defender both rapidly need to press the face buttons to apply pressure, and defend against that pressure”.
“We’ve also added, for the first time, the ability for the defender to manually crawl towards the ropes when they’re put in submission. It's an exciting new feature and we are looking forward to see what fans make of it" Williams added.
There’s also a new comeback system that allows a superstar - on their last legs - an attempt at getting back into the fight, through successfully passing quick time events. “As any WWE fan knows, the top superstars have their own sequence of moves that they’ll perform when they’re in dire straits that, if performed successfully, puts them right back into the mix of things" said Williams. “ So, what the fan wants, the fan gets, and we’ve added this ability into the game. For example, John Cena does his shoulder block x2 and back suplex, before moving onto his famed 5-Knuckle Shuffle and finishing with his Attitude Adjustment.”
The WWE 12 lead gameplay designer also explained that this is just one of many features implemented to get the game to more accurately mimic what a viewer would see on TV. “Players will be able to replicate what they see on programming in the game this year, which is something we’re very happy about, because in addition to all the new technology and all the new gameplay features, we really wanted to push the presentational aspects of our game to its limits. I think we’ve done a really good job as far as doing that this year.”
Away from the gameplay, there are more additions to the 'Create' game modes, with the biggest being the introduction of ‘Create an Arena’, which does exactly what it says on the tin. You can create your own wrestling arena, using a wide range of options ranging from the conventional to the wacky. Of course, as before, all of the arenas can be shared online once finished.
Worried the game will get stale? Don't fret; Shadowlocked learnt that WWE 12 will continue to support DLC's in order to keep the game as fresh and up-to-date as possible. Indeed, during our hands on with WWE 12, we played as CM Punk and found that his new entrance music and titantron video - which are only a few weeks old - are already in WWE 12.
It’s the little things like this, in addition to the improved gameplay and presentation, that makes WWE 12 one to watch in the upcoming months...
WWE 12 is released on November 25th for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii.
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