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Ok I get it. This game came out nearly two months ago and you’re getting a review from me now. Well, here is the thing; I’m not a pro game reviewer (although I once was) and I figured why not REALLY play through the game (Really? REALLY? REALLY!?) to give you what I feel are my two hard earned cents. Being a huge wrestling fan, wrestling show host, fantasy wrestling writer (all but one true) I also figure that my two cents may be worth at least two and a half.

Now, the hype for the game was as expected. Every year you are promised better graphics plus more bells and whistles. Personally  I feel like they went above and beyond with this installment and delivered on most promised. The gameplay is more fluid than the last couple years installments, the graphics are better, the entrances are better to the point where sometimes you are forgetting you’re playing a game, and the potential match quality is superior because of the new power ratings system (you are no longer winning matches RIGHT after you hit a finisher within a few minutes, instead you really have to BEAT your opponent.) You get a pretty excellent wrestling game right off the bat, which is what you want as a fan. However, it does not stop there by a long shot.

If you enjoyed the Attitude Era as much as I did then you would certainly find that the AE mode is something to pick up the game for (sorry fans of the AE you will never EVER see that kind of programming on WWE TV agane.) I am in my early 30’s and seeing some of your favorite older moments brought to pixelated life in the palm of your hand is a pretty sweet feeling. Although it’s not perfect it still delivers on some extremely hot fan favorite moments (Formation of DX) , forgotten moments (Mankind/Kane Hell in a Cell), and even gives you a ratings timeline with WWF vs. WCW during the Monday Night Wars.  The cool thing about all these storyline moments and matches that you have is that you can just simply win your match OR go above and beyond and score bonus materials by completing optional match objectives, which is a nice touch for any fan who wants those EXTRA costumes, arenas, matches, or belts. The match types are fantastic and you get everything from your regular one on one to your glorious Hell in a Cell. This game also makes it easy for you to break your opponent through barriers and tables. The WWE Universe mode is pretty much fully customizable and yields very interesting outcomes dependent on how you set your rosters.

Now, as soon as I got the game I plunked down the extra money to be able to download all future DLC for free. Let me tell you that it’s worth every penny. So far the DLC packages have been great and they include a plethora of superstars past as well as some new ones whom you may want to satiate further than usual, if you get my meaning. My only hope is that they keep the DLC coming because in years past they give you three packages at most. I would love to see some classic stars return such as Macho Man, Hogan, and Flair.

The controls are pretty much the same as the last few years but the reversal system seems a bit more sensitive in this incarnation, which is a plus. And, as I said before – you actually can have some 5 star matches because the AI is way better in WWE ’13 than other earlier games. However, the game is not without its faults. There are a few glitches that I hope get resolved at some point. Sometimes you or your opponent may freeze with your arms outstretched (exactly like Y2J) and start floating around the screen. Also, on a rare occasion the button commands will not work with regards to climbing out of the ring. I would say my biggest gripe with an otherwise fantastic game is the fact that the commentary audio is poorly recorded and the canned commentary gets very old very quick. There could have been a lot of little extras within the commentary that would have given the game that extra oomph. The crowd graphics and animations leave a bit to be desired but I am not all to concerned over that at all because that’s not why you got the game in the first place. On a side note it also really grinds my gears that you are not getting a legit Cactus Jack theme song.

Overall, this is a great game for any and all wrestling fans and should be a must have on anyone’s holiday list. If you got kids that are into wrestling then I do suggest this game because of the fun factor and the fact that the more racy moments were taken out of the attitude era mode (no Rick Rude, China, or Sable to be found as well.) I would give the game an A for overall excellence, roster (IT’s HUGE!), Universe mode, CAW, AE mode, and just the overall big feel of the game. Here’s to hoping that next years version will be that much better AND that some long gone WWE wrestlers make it into the game (Ric Flair, Hardy Boyz, Dudleys, Al Snow, Dean Malenko, Carlito just to name a few) and I would personally love it if there was an old school mode including Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Tully Blanchard, and I could go on…Frank Gotch, Buddy Rogers, Nick Bockwinkel.) Just get the game already!

Also, if you are as big an Austin/CM Punk fan as I am you can check out this video hyping the game. It makes you want that forever teased Austin/Punk match that much more.