E3 2011: WWE '12 Hands-On Preview

It's a new era for this long-running franchise, and our first hands-on with the game tries to figure out just how much this series has changed.

THQ is trying to breathe fresh life into its decade-old WWE SmackDown vs. RAW franchise, making significant changes to animations and gameplay in an attempt to freshen up the series. We managed to get some time playing as The Miz and Randy Orton at E3 2011 today, and from our brief bouts, it feels that this wrestling mainstay is playing the smoothest it has in years.

On the surface, the most visible signs of change can be seen in wrestler animations. WWE superstars in WWE '12 move from animation to animation in a more realistic way and can now also be interrupted mid-move in a more convincing fashion. These brawlers also seem to move more quickly--non-fatigued wrestlers didn't seem to stay down on the mat for as long, rolling over and popping up quickly to get the action flowing. It certainly wasn't at the same pace as the arcade title WWE All Stars, but it still moved quite well for a simulation game.

Controls have also been tweaked and are more streamlined than in last year's offering. Whereas grapples were mapped to the right analog stick in the last major game release, for example, they've been placed back on the face buttons again, allowing for quicker input. Pressing a direction on the left stick determines what type of grapple your superstar will perform. The timing for reversals, too, seems a little more forgiving, and we were able to pull off impressive-looking counters by pressing the right trigger just as an opponent's strike was about to land.

Breaking-point submissions in the game occur when your character has been put in some sort of submission hold. To escape, we needed to quickly mash all the face buttons. Another interesting new addition is the comeback moment. Essentially, comeback moments are triggered when one wrestler has been dominated and is almost out of stamina. As in real wrestling, superstars in this situation (particularly faces) undergo a miraculous recovery, fighting back strong against seemingly overwhelming odds. In WWE '12, comeback moments result in a temporary stamina boost, giving you a way back into the match (unless your opponent can strike you out of the boost, that is). We're not quite sure exactly how comeback moments will be "earned" in WWE '12, but we're keen to find out more. Check back with GameSpot soon for more information on WWE '12.

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Discussion

19 comments
sammyd1234
sammyd1234

they have fixed the main problems, thats all that i care about, especially the ai, i hated it when someone gets pinned and and the ai just stand there for 2 seconds then by the time they decide to stop the pin count the ref has already counted to 3

mrquebeccity
mrquebeccity

Will there be a GM back in the 2012 edition ?!? I truly miss this !

punchacku
punchacku

The problem i see with svr is and has always been the game play....here comes the pain was good then it just got out of hand...it's not smooth or realistic....and pro wrestling is not supposed to be real...its a spectacle...and the games should glamorize that...not shun it. WWE all stars even with the lack of match varieties, creation modes and a really crappy championship mode is still miles ahead in "in ring gameplay"...its fluid, the moves are devastating, the sound of the bumps is powerful....they need that game play with all the cosmetics of svr....then they have a formula they wouldn't have to refresh every year. No mercy was great for it's time and the game play is still better, plus the variety or customization in matches and great create a wrestler is still great by today's standards. It's simply limited by the tech of its day...no look at def jam....mainly a wrestling game.....same mechanics improved but different theme. So really i don't understand how they got lost along the way.

coryblaze
coryblaze

They tried to make these games like sports games. However, think about it... sports games do the same thing most of the time aside from update rosters. So if they break away from that then they might have a shot. Like they did in the older days. The other part of the downfall was what we see on TV. Think about it... when we saw something on TV they tried to add it in the game. We saw backstage fights, they had them in the game. When we saw buried alive matches or inferno matches, we had them in the game. Today in the WWE all we get is headlocks and punches. So what does one expect to get... aside from headlocks and punches. I would love to see some time spent on a good and longer storyline for CAW. Love to see many different types of matches, along with backstage areas. Also, adding some decent weapon/ area actions would be nice. However, I don't see them changing too much... even with a "re-boot" as they call it.

LaLeDo
LaLeDo

What they really need to do is get a sweet story line for your created character and do a mass effect type decision making. These games get old quick so they need to have a mode where you get to be the super star running the show

madmike1349
madmike1349

smackdown here comes the pain was the best wrestling game ever until smackdown vs raw that was an epic fail

C4nnon
C4nnon

glad there killing smackdown vs raw cause they killed it after the last 3 yrs for me!!! didn't make it any better to play each of those 3years!

ultralesus
ultralesus

You know what, every year I read the same comments. People need to get over No Mercy. I still have my N64 and yes, No Mercy is the cartridge that is in it, but the game is so dated compared to what you can do in the ring and outside the ring with SvR. With thats said, SvR isn't perfect. The thing with SvR is... every year they try and add some new revolutionary gameplay mechanic which just got bolted on to the old engine. Over the time the game mechanics got bloated and while the game worked in many ways, it started to feel out dated and needlessly complicated. We no longer talk about SvR being 'next gen'. This is THIS gen, and SvR has done little over the years to improve with the technology, except say the physics revision of last year. I'm hoping that with the re branding this will be addressed. The new animations and shader looks pretty, even though moving around the ring still looks a bit robotic. I also noticed on the stage demo, Del Rio's model slid across the ring to get in preparation for Orton's move, but hey, they do that in real wrestling too... What's got me about interested is the pacing tweaks,comeback, improved AI and remapped controls. The message this year seems to be, 'We're not taking out any match types or create modes, but we are not adding any either so we can focus on the actual gameplay.' ...good.

SLAMMIN23
SLAMMIN23

what they need is backstage areas otherwise im not getting this game

southernzombie
southernzombie

no wrestling game will ever top No Mercy unless they do some serious work. why not just go back to the simple strong grapple weak grapple system that worked perfectly. pair that system with todays graphics and a good create a wrestler. maybe tweak the grab system to let you have more than 8 or 10 moves like No Mercy but other than that it works.

HiramJ866
HiramJ866

@ brian419 thanks for the correct spelling AKI for some reson i thought it was longer. anywho I still play my N64 wrestling games up to this day. and WWE'12 won't stop that.

Chronokid
Chronokid

This game will hopefully be good, hopefully they improved alot more then just the appearance of the fans, i would like them to bring back the free roam thing from back stage where you could go to the boiler room and the kitchen and that sort of thing. an when it comes to the earlier games, day of reconing was just stupid the controls were horrible and i couldnt get into that series, the n64 games were pretty fun, but the best game in the smackdown series for overall fun was smackdown 2

brian419
brian419

@HiramJ866 I agree with ya, nothing has come close to those WCW and WWF wrestling games made by AKI on N64. That was pretty much all I played on N64.

hiphopskip
hiphopskip

whatever jack day of reckoning was sooo stupid and i personally loved the right stick grapple control from SVR2011

JackDurder
JackDurder

Does anyone else see the obvious influence from Day of Reckoning 2 for the Nintendo Game Cube. One, being able to interrupt moves at any time. Two, a comeback movement to steal your opponents momentum. And three, just like last years Raw vs. Smackdown, you can put an opponent through a table just by aiming your move in the area of the table. WWE '12 will never be anything close to Day of Reckoning 2, or the greatest wrestling game even released No Mercy, and it's a complete fail that their "new" ideas to reinvigorate the series have been done long before.

HiramJ866
HiramJ866

Meh, Just another Smackdown Vs Raw game. I stop caring after 2007 & lost all interest after the garbage that was Smackdown Vs Raw 2011. I think its time for a new developer. may be aki-how ever you spell it. The people who did the WcW games. anyways I won't be buying this day one I'll wait till at least it hits twenty or under.

plainpain93
plainpain93

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

The-Apostle
The-Apostle

Thank God they're putting moves back on the face buttons where they belong. Putting them on the right analog stick was a disaster. Hopefully this also means finishers are back on L1/LB where they belong with run on triangle/Y. Also, let me bask in the first time I ever got to be first to comment on a story. :D