WWE '12 Updated Hands-On Preview

We do even parts creation and destruction as we check out WWE '12's new ring builder and then tear it apart.

Bigger. Badder. Better. They're the three words game developer THQ uses to describe the 2011 version of its popular wrestling series. After seeing the game running in all of its baby-oil-drenched flesh, and taking control of some of its new features, we've got to agree that this is one of the biggest updates the franchise has seen in some time. Gone is the Smackdown vs. Raw branding that has headlined the series since 2004; instead, this year's game will simply be titled WWE '12.

While the name has gone on a diet, the content has done anything but, bulking up to more than 80 different match types and including more than 70 Superstars, Divas, and Legends. The figure is inclusive of future characters available as downloadable content, but the company has promised that by September, at least one more Legend will be announced as being playable. The main story mode will span more than 12 hours in length, while the never-ending Universe mode, 60 different unlockables (such as arenas), and almost a dozen different creation tools should give this game plenty of life.

One of the most often-requested features from fans has been the chance to create and customise the places where the stars get down. WWE '12 finally obliges and sees the introduction of a ring-creation tool that will let you build theatres from the ground up with a variety of different looks. Some examples that we saw included a John Cena-branded main stage, D-Generation X, and classic WrestleMania liveries. Players will be able to customise most elements in the environments, picking promos to run across electronic billboards, turnbuckle pads, barricades, announcer tables, aprons, and the mat, all the way down to individual strands of rope enclosing the ring. We saw a wide range of pre-created logos, textures, and national flags available, spanning everything from army camouflage and blood-splattered cloth all the way to cow print.

Working with them is as simple as choosing the design and moving it around the surface that you want to apply it to with the analog stick, before using the D pad to scale within proportion or skew perspective. None of the images in the bank take your fancy? Beyond messing with colours, you'll be able to create original artwork with multiple layers. THQ devs on hand at the event admitted that they hadn't yet ironed out all of the final details but suggested that future texture packs may also be made available as DLC. We had fun knocking up a design using the available templates with our basic craft skills, but there's scope here for quality original creations, which can then be used for your own matches, or, if you're the generous type, shared with other members of the game's online community.

Building the ring is enjoyable and all, but we weren't there to paint. We wanted to feel the crushing injuries sustained when fist is introduced to skull. Thankfully, we got a chance to explore some gameplay during our demo, and we were surprised to feel how far it seems to have come from WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011. A new animation and rendering system adds some much-needed life to the ring, with the ropes and floor bouncing in time as bodies hit the mat. Pacing has received a major overhaul, and, in line with other sporting titles, the performance of each wrestler is tied to the individual's designated attributes. Time between moves has been considerably reduced--some of the dead time and button mashing waiting for characters to return to their feet. As you'd expect, early in the match players have far greater stamina, snapping back up with ease after being knocked down, and slowly taking longer to recover as they take a pummelling, or as the match drags on in length.

The result is gameplay that feels much less stop-start, giving a natural flow to the action, but never feeling like you're sitting around mashing and waiting for something to happen. Combined with the game's new, smoother animation system, grappling looks and feels better as you transition from one hold to another. It's not without its quirks, and we did see the occasional slightly jarring movement, but it's much improved over last year's game and, indeed, everything that has come before it in the series.

Fans of fighting series like Street Fighter and Tekken will also be pleased to see the introduction of a revenge-style meter that works as a comeback system. Players on the back foot and staring down the barrel at a loss can turn it all around quickly, and, if you can successfully land your character's three-hit combo, you'll be further rewarded with an instant finisher. Likewise, Super Finisher moves have been introduced, with each character receiving a fight ender by successfully nailing a signature move. Artificial intelligence difficulties in the single-player mode will also be getting a major overhaul in WWE '12, with fans receiving much more challenge from the Hard and Legendary modes than they had previously.

Character models have received a spit and polish, and their likenesses to their real-world counterparts are now much better, but, by far, our favourite new feature is the introduction of more cinematic camera angles during matches. The game sucks you in as the view switches to a close-up showing looks of agony for each choke and slam, further mirroring the presentation of the television broadcast style. Camera cuts are slick, fast, and dynamic, so you don't need to worry about losing your character positioning or missing a beat as it goes back to a wide view of the ring and the action continues.

The game's full roster will include names such as Kelly Kelly, Rey Mysterio, Undertaker, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Michelle McCool, Vader, and Mr McMahon, amongst others. The Rock will be offered free as a preorder incentive for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii versions of WWE '12, although we're interested to see which faces will fill the remaining gaps in the list.

For what has largely become a yearly sports title with a few new features thrown in, WWE '12's new name appears to signal a major turning point for the franchise. We had a lot of fun making our own unique venues and dropping RKOs, and we're looking forward to seeing more of it in the ring. Look for the game in late November this year.

Written By

Want the latest news about WWE '12?

WWE '12

WWE '12

Follow

Discussion

43 comments
ghost-recon25
ghost-recon25

@johnevilways they have blood on 2011........ you just have to go into the settings and turn it on..................................................................

willis013
willis013

why do the take of features from the previous ones only to bring it back .... storing ur finishin moves.. i hope the career mode is atleast good

hkymike
hkymike

Looks crazy! Getting it for the 360

garcia_jx
garcia_jx

Can't wait to unleash the viper on everyone

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

@jaispeed2007 namecalling is the refuge of those who cannot sustain an intellectual argument.

leapMC
leapMC

The Rock is always welcome in any wrestling game. Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. :)

jaispeed2007
jaispeed2007

@bahamut_au you really are a dumb idiot... the graphics have not gone backwards, they've gone forwards..it's simple..if you don't like.. then don't buy... but stop being a damn idiot

Invisible_Kid2
Invisible_Kid2

@johnevilways said " if you play this game off line your a loser and boring. cause after you play it for awhile its boring. online you get to play with friends and have a blast." But what if I have real life friends who can actually come over and play the game, and taunt at each other face to face instead of on a mic? Does that still make me a loser? I haven't been this excited for a WWE game since SVR 07. THQ or AKI can make a near perfect wrestling game. Why they don't? I don't know. It's not like it's rocket science. Take things from previous WWE games that people loved and add them into 1 game. Preform death defying bumps off of high places like in HCTP (stacking tables + ladder, jumping off of the smackdown fist, ect.). Make nearly everything customizable. Give each wrestler and CAW 4 slots for alt. attire. I would love to see a 3 tier cage/cell in at least 1 wrestling game. Since it was in WCW, and WWE bought WCW, why not use the damned thing, at least in a game. It seems that they're taking a few steps in the right direction though, by getting rid of that god awful joystick grapple crap, and speeding up the action some. The last WWE game I've played was the demo for 08. They're winning me back. I'm out of date on who wrestlers are though. I haven't watched wrestling since Flair 'retired' from the WWE after one of the Wrestlemanias.

johnevilways
johnevilways

screw offline. they really need to work on the online. like fix the lag 100% and fix the chatt system its like useless to even use a mic on 2011. they have done great with offline its now time to work on the online part of them game. like the create arena if you can use it online its 100% useless and waste of time. another thing is haveing an actually online league were you can make real online stables. the game has potentional but crap people in control. like really they took out blood on 2011 what the crap. and in 2011 royal rumble you couldnt even play online thats gay anyway they should have waited till next year to even come out with a new game and take there time and fix everything. if you play this game off line your a loser and boring. cause after you play it for awhile its boring. online you get to play with friends and have a blast. i mean really this game is perfect for leagues or clans but alot of stuff stop it all though we do the best we can to make clans. like fight night champion had a online league what the crap.

garcia_jx
garcia_jx

Must be the greatest year in videogame history: gears war, mw3, battlefield, assassin's creed, wwe12, and skyrim.

Feroz06
Feroz06

r-truth looks amazingly realistic!

devilmaycry27
devilmaycry27

i hope they just bring back the story in career mode because that was the best part in svr games till 2009 to 2010 making us pick who want to fight in career mode was lame but yet they made a story for road to wrestle mania why couldn't they just put the whole road to wrestle mania part in career mode

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

The graphics have gone backwards. They looks like PS2-graphics. Fail.

the_phenom_
the_phenom_

Hopfully they fixed the problems of Universe Mode. Primarily how you couldn't set your own title matchs and that you couldn't turn interference off. Also Ring Creation tool sounds really good.

yabbie442
yabbie442

Hope the fix the sound when you hit people - sounds weak and lame (almost like a slap). Need to improve doing slams on top of weapons, especially the stairs and ladder. Need more item-specific moves. Need to be able to move around more before slamming someone through a table. Need to go back to the way the announce tables used to work - should be able to do any move on top of them to break through them. Should be able to put someone on the table, set up a ladder in the ring and jump from the ladder onto the person on the announce table. Get rid of the backstage stuff - it's boring.

shinspikes
shinspikes

Despite a overhaul, give it a unbiased review as always. I like to know the truth if its actually better.

SYXXmaster
SYXXmaster

PC version??? pc version would be a blast .... and its time to bring this game to the pc ... it may not sell as much as ps3 or xbox360 ... but think all the mod can be done ... beside this mod can be used for later release of this game ...

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

But...will we be able to do moves on people ontop of weapons and through Tables? thats why I loved Smackdown vs Raw 2011.

chimera1984
chimera1984

They need to go back the old Smackdown here comes the pain style games, backstage areas, storylines with full choices and branching through the shows, they were quality games, least theyve pumped up the engine a little because the last 3 or 4 renditions have been far far to slow to play

mattuk69
mattuk69

Intresting. I was a fan of the WWE games until SvR 2007 when it went all slow. It looks like they are putting the fun back into wrestling games. Too bad it took them like 5 years.

SLAMMIN23
SLAMMIN23

im done getting wwe type games like this until they start adding backstage areas again

commander1122
commander1122

release for PC pls...and bring back old legend like godbreg..ric fair !!!

scphan
scphan

not a big wrestling fan alto a i was when i was little never bought any of there games cuz they were to bad but this title looks like they have improved on almost everything and im impressed

Skargamer
Skargamer

I hope they deliver and make it better. SvR has been the same with barely any improvement. Hope this improves.... :?

KUNG-LO
KUNG-LO

Limb specific damage ? About freakin time !!! This has been tech wrestling 101 and only now Thq/WWE give to us. Each year they feed us the same game and only tweak a few things, but they still remove things that worked well for the previous games. I might by this one after reviews but I miss the good old days when AKI made great wrestling. Now all we have to look forward to is a THQ wrestling game. Is there no one willing to take up the challenge and make a decent wrestling game ? Come EA you had a great engine in DJFFNY and with AKI on board you could bring back a great wrestling game to the current consoles.

thesovvolf
thesovvolf

Are they going to remove the uncanny valley effect with the animations and characters? Hated that in every wrestling game, there was always something off when you attacked or used a grapple move. Something that I'd have been accepting to back on the PS2 and the XBOX but now with modern consoles it feels lazy and dated. Not a big wrestling fan, probably casual fan at the most however my cousin is and he buys these games every year and from the sounds of things from the last game... This one will have to do something supremely impressive in order for him to pay the money out for it. I don't tend to play them enough to get an in-depth look on them. Mostly play them at his house on 2 player mode, mess with the character creator and such. So honestly the last few have been a blur to me and they just seem the same thing. The animations seem recycled as do the character modes which I swear haven't changed since the first game to hit the current gen consoles. I honestly think they need to just scrap the series and build it again from the ground up on a different engine all together. Hopefully this is what they're doing with this given the name change but from what I've seen I highly doubt it. The games just seem clunky, dated and lazy which are words I shouldn't have to write for a series that as been going on for as long as this.

pcgamer442
pcgamer442

Looks very Good, at least better than SVR 2011

newkillerstar27
newkillerstar27

@khaledgamer911 The sad thing is they're still using the same old character models they've had since 2007/2008 -_-

nardhardy
nardhardy

Looks like an improvement and every year they improve but im waiting for a game that was great as or almost as great has htcp, and day of reckoning, the physics and realistic ways of both games made everyone love it, they are getting there each year with improvement but im going to still wait for reviews to see if its worth it, hardly played svr 2011 i got bored fast with it =/

Larouche911
Larouche911

No Mercy was the last wrestling game that was actually worth my money.

xbox360555
xbox360555

IDK, i wasnt exactly impressed with SVR 2011 (i had some fun with it though) see i like that they are adding new creation tools and gameplay mechanics n stuff. But the real question is is it gonna be fun to play.

dark_rising76
dark_rising76

Last year's SVR game was pretty good and lived up to most of the promise. I didn't like the control schemes since they came to the next-gen consoles but this looks to be very, very good, simplified and more AI competitive. And the fact we can create our own ring/stage looks to be even better.

nemesis4x
nemesis4x

@Majkic666 yeah i agree with you. They announce one feature and hype it up so much, but when it is released its like many other features are removed

ajleo
ajleo

Rock, Austin, LOD, = good enough reason for me to get this one

Majkic666
Majkic666

no thanks each time i bought WWE they said there is more and new content but it has always been disappointing so not gonna get this years version.. they need to improve the game a lot before i go back to buying these games

ryzrocks
ryzrocks

The people's edition 4 me :P

blaqphantom
blaqphantom

can't wait for this! looks so good going to get the CE!