The Attitude era was the time I paid the most attention to Wrestling. Back when it was labelled the World Wrestling Federation, the stories in the ring were at its best. So it’s a wise goal for them to go backwards in time and dig up what is arguably the best time for wrestling fans. So we lace up our boots and pull on our man tights, and wrestle with the historic rise of the WWE.
The return to the classic era is the new mode that players will partake in. The storyline starts with Degeneration X and works its way through a guided line of various popular superstars. Stone Cold, The Undertaker, and The Rock are just some of the persona’s players will don. Videos were specifically created to give players a narrated story of events. The game even re-creates famous sequences with the actual voice-over from the show in question.
A checklist of objectives is shown while on loading screens that lead into the match. Players have to replicate events of historic matches to the letter with objectives that open up as match conditions are met. So completing a match could be as simple as pinning an opponent and watching a cut scene play. It’s as close to the show as it can ever be, and in a way that’s the problem with the mode.
Players are compelled to complete all of the challenges to see the true story unfold. Quite often the game will make the player complete rudimentary tasks like getting an opponent to critical health. Right after that the player will be introduced to a hidden objective based on a timer or QTE. If the player fails either of these they will have to restart the match and try again. This unfortunate series of events repeats throughout the entire Attitude Era mode. It reflects negatively on the impact you get from actually wrestling, since accomplishing these minor goals feels more mechanical than successful.
A ratings timeline marks your current place in the Era, and it plays large part in the storyline. In fact, the actual era plays a backseat to the rating as a whole. The game fondly reminds us of key matches of the era, but it oddly skips over the sequences that make those matches interesting. Instead we’re shown a narrative of a movie instead of investing ourselves in these historic events.
As a matter of fact, the Degeneration-X storyline just ends without Shawn Michael’s or Triple H ever becoming the no nonsense duo. Right after, you’re pushed into Stone Cold’s story right at the peak of his career in the WWE. So instead of getting a rich backstory of these history making wrestlers, you’re instead thrown back and forth between ratings boosts. This seems underdeveloped as we don’t even see the amazing “I quit” match which practically made the career of Stone Cold, or the battles between DX and the Nation of Domination.
Gameplay feels as realistic to the show as it possibly can. Players can grapple with one button and use the right analog stick to switch between various stances. Heavy movies, light grapples, and even submissions are triggered depending on the lock-up animations. The player can focus on specific body parts by holding the right bumper/R1 button and pressing the grapple button. Enemies pop off the ground continuously early on, stumbling about in preparation to be grabbed and slammed down again. As the match goes on, players can wear down opponent’s limbs and get them to the point of being finished off.
It is fun but I wouldn’t say it’s too different in comparison to the last game. The Attitude Era mode brings back glimpses of why I originally enjoyed Wrestling. The recreation of “key” events from one of the most historic events in WWE history is done very well. Too bad it lacks the important portions of all of these stories. The Corporation, The Nation, the Acolytes, and more key sections are carved like fat to bring forth a confusing but entertaining experience. If you didn’t live through these moments as I did, jumping into a random match without getting a true backdrop can derail the experience. Half-Ass Gaming gives WWE 13’s: Attitude Era mode a B-, if a little more detail surrounded the stories and it played less like a list of chores… this could have been a much better mode.