WWE '12 Review

This WWE franchise overhaul is held back by some serious control issues.

Doing more than simply dropping the SmackDown vs. RAW moniker that has prefaced the last run of WWE games since 2004, WWE '12 aims to refresh the long-running wrestling series' recent stale leanings with redesigned gameplay and an all-new game engine. While it still packs a massive roster and is brimming with all of the over-the-top macho bombast and ridiculous braggadocio hardcore wrestling fans love, not all of the updates are for the better. It's easier to jump right into the ring and start hammering away at meaty dudes with vigor, but overaggressive AI and a near-broken attack counter system sap the fun. Unfortunately, other problems add to the pile, making it tough to enjoy the game's authentic trappings.

This is what struggling with the reversal system feels like.

WWE '12 mirrors the energetic spectacle and cheesy swagger of the television programming it's based on with admirable gusto. Outside of the ring, there are plenty of flashy, grand entrances and throngs of cheering fans eager to see endless combinations of the game's huge selection of wrestling combatants bludgeon one another in style. When it comes to the matches themselves, the action is fast-paced and intense. The game's overhauled engine showcases a nice level of detail in the character models, and the animations are more fluid this time around when transitioning between attacks and reversals, but it's still rough around the edges in spots. Collision detection is off at times, and some transitions are a little too fluid. For example, it's possible to go from throwing a punch at your opponent to almost instantly being upside down between his legs in a midair pile driver--weird instances like this can happen so fast that you don't even know how you wound up being ground face-first into the mat. Other times, though rare, the game bugs out altogether. One glitch causes a wrestler to float very slowly toward the screen, through the ropes, out of the ring, and into the air above the crowd, forcing a reset of the match to restore order. That said, major bugs are infrequent, and most matches do look realistic enough to appease followers of the sport.

Retooled with accessibility in mind, the gameplay flows quickly once the fists start swinging. Strikes, grapples, and Irish whips are single-button moves that change with your position, yielding more elaborate attacks as opponents grow weaker. Whittling your adversary's stamina down opens up room for sweet signature moves and fancy finishers, and a new limb targeting system lets you deal damage to specific areas of the body when grappling. Everything works pretty well, with the exception of defensive maneuvers, which are a major stumbling block. WWE '12 gives you and your opponent far more chances to counter each other's attacks, but the window of opportunity to pull off these crucial reversals has been shaved down to almost nothing. You have a split second before contact to tap the right trigger to block or reverse. These prompts don't always appear onscreen when they should either, and more often than not, hitting the corresponding button at the right time doesn't register.

WWE Superstars know how to make an entrance.

Your computer-controlled foes, on the other hand, are adept at countering almost everything you throw at them (at least on the game's default difficulty). They adapt to your move patterns quickly too. It's extremely frustrating to get turned into a slab of battered meat and lose several matches in a row because every counter you attempt fails to stick--even when it feels like you're quick on the draw. While you can dial back the AI to a more comfortable setting, the problem doesn't go away. It does feel satisfying when the tide turns in your favor, but once things start going wrong, it easily snowballs into a match-ending catastrophe.

For those who can tune out the inconsistencies in WWE '12, there's an abundance of play options to dig into. WWE Universe returns with a never-ending run of matches and lots of flexibility to tweak the experience to suit your whims. Any number of matches on the schedule can be simulated or played hands-on, and it's a lot of fun to hop in and play an interfering role in certain matches. If you just want a quick game or two, there are a slew of options for configuring one-off matches. Multiplayer modes are flexible too, and playing against other humans locally or in online matches is preferable to the irritating AI, though you still have to face the prospect of rage quits due to unresponsive attempts at countering.

Having the freedom to create your own content to play in the game is another area where WWE '12 shines, since you can craft everything from your own custom wrestlers and movesets to entrances and storylines. The story-driven Road to Wrestlemania, on the other hand, is one of the game's biggest disappointments. It has three lengthy chapters that explore heavily scripted storylines centering on Sheamus, Triple H, and a custom wrestler you create, but these matches are some of the least enjoyable encounters in the game. They often revolve around unclear yet strict objectives, and deviating from them results in failure.

Michael Cole steps out from behind the commentator's desk to get his hands dirty in the ring.

The franchise may have been in need of some serious tinkering, but the impact of the gains made in this next evolution of the series is canceled out by the leftover problems lingering in the formula. While a few improvements feel like a step in the right direction and will no doubt hit the sweet spot for some players, there are crucial areas where WWE backslides. Insidious AI and the weak story mode are among the bigger culprits, but the fact that such a huge portion of the gameplay hinges on a horribly imprecise reversal system is a real deal-breaker.

The Good
Enhanced realism
Lots of customization options
The Bad
Broken reversal system
Unbalanced AI
Weak, overscripted story mode
6
Fair
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127 comments
chrisuchiha123
chrisuchiha123

this is the best game ever what are you talking about


Undeadpizza
Undeadpizza

I am disappointed and so mad at whoever is creating this game every year...there is no aggression in the moves anymore, same move sets, when I go to create a finisher they hardy give you any room to create...they just give you the same moves that were created years ago on SmackDown Shut You Mouth and Here Comes the Pain! its just stupid now, what the hell is wrong with them. Id fire everyone of them, they have ruined a decade of great gaming that could have been. Wheres the blood, wheres the bone breaking moves, where is the imagination!? im sorry to say this but since SvR 08 till now has been a complete waste of time and money...someone needs to be fired or  listen to the peoples voice!!! thats what im freaken cooking!! 

Count333
Count333

No Mercy for the N64 is still the best wrestling game ever made in my opinion and a lot of other people I know feel te same way. It had the best control scheme and the best create a wrestler ever made. Why the f*** did they ever change it? The newer control schemes are just overdone and ridiculously overcomplicated. The only wrestling game I've been awaiting over the last decade and then some is Wrestlefest for Xbox Live Arcade but who knows if it'll ever release. And if it finally does release, will anyone give a shit after all these false release dates? Personally, my patience is wearing very thin on that particular game. I won't be surprised if I actually pass up the free trial on launch day just because the interest is slowly dwindling. THQ needs to get their shit together.

georgirobot
georgirobot

Personally, I think the SvR franchise went downhill after SvR 2007. The new franchise seems good and I hope that the new beginning  will do good. I haven't played the new franchise yet but from the review it seems if they work a bit on the AI and gameplay the game will really shine. Let's just hope they clear up these problems in WWE '13.

hamebone123
hamebone123

great game...but the road to wrestlemania is not as good as it could have been. the matches in RTW are fixed to the point where you can't even win some matches because in order to move the story ahead you have try to do something in the match that either makes you lose or gets someone DQ'd....it's very rare to get to win a match by pin fall or tap out in RTW. But other then that it's still a pretty good game.

Amgadashrafshra
Amgadashrafshra

ok so some people dont like this game but i have it and i really liked it and i like how they change from one road to wrestlemania to another without loading and the wrestler creator is really over the limit so i will give this game a full 9.5.

fareskhaled12
fareskhaled12

iwant it soooooooooooooooooooooooooo mush

 

Hordriss
Hordriss

The reversal system isn't broken - you just have to react quicker.

lotusclown
lotusclown

will there ever be a decent wrestling game?

XZAVIERRED
XZAVIERRED

pissed that i dont have it but its still a cool game

thehorror2
thehorror2

And I was all set to start buying/playing wrestling games, too....

 

...Ah, well. Back to Def Jam: FFNY.

Thesuperstar2k
Thesuperstar2k

I agree to this review. Thq needs to do fix the glitches and stuff.

OneSamTwoCups
OneSamTwoCups

This review is kind of ridiculous. I am not a WWE fan, I was when they were WWF, but I still play the games. I hadn't play new WWE game since SVR 2008 (which was awful to me). Once I heard they were changing their engine, I bought it, and let me say, this is a HUGE improvement. I'm actually having fun with it. Universe mode is really fun and RTWM was pretty cool. The reversal system is fairly easy. Controls are better, I feel like I'm playing No Mercy again. Only flaw for me is Community Creations crashes and Universe mode breaks up my stables A LOT. Other than that, it's pretty darn good.

MVan86
MVan86

Having rage quit while ill and sold my copy then acquired and played the two prior entries I've come to realise the mistake I made and will be rectifying it. Enemy AI in 12 is indeed better than the others - ie even on the lowest difficulty they don't just let you turn them into tenderised meat slabs easily, opponents actually tend to stay down after they've been on the receiving end of a beating, and the universe mode is finally almost fully realised. The counter system could perhaps do with a tiny bit of tinkering but it's no worse than it was in 2010 or 2011.

Xero1246
Xero1246

after playing the game i described it in two simple ways 1. nice graphics and animation(nothing beats awesome animation and game play) 2. poor controls (it felt like my contoller batteries were dead whenever i played it). was about average anyway!! :/

elitesoldier117
elitesoldier117

WTF! A six? thats really unfair=[ the SVR games in the past that you called terrible got a better score. why gamespot/=[

jaymo1978
jaymo1978

I like the idea of WWE Universe mode, being able to jump in and play or interfere wherever you like. Remember the last Smackdown game on the original Playstation? The career mode on that felt a lot like this, and it's the last time I've seen anything like it. Glad it's back!

peterhawk2
peterhawk2

this on is amazing.better game playing better graphic and nice story i like to play this

paperogafumato
paperogafumato

I don't have all this problem with reversal and i think that the real problem of this game is the bugs. I hope tha some of this can be fixed with a patch and, form me the game value is about 7 - 7,5, up to 8,5 if bugs will fixed. I love story mode and i'm making a story called 'tasty fighting' were someone stole a sandwich from big show ... cooming soon on ps3

Mr_Intense
Mr_Intense

Best wrestling game since Here Comes The Pain, has its flaws but worthy of much more than a 6.

jetstopia
jetstopia

I dont really have much trouble with the reversal system. The orginal WCW wrestling games on nintendo 64 taught timing with reversals. Back then you had your (L)s and (R)s for attacks and grapples and no on-screen prompt for help, just anticpation and a knowledge of roughly 'when' the attack would come. I think the targetting system is a much bigger problem than the reversals

rainydayman
rainydayman

I agree with previous posts. If you read the review, read between the lines: the reviewer obviously sucked at the game, so he set the difficulty to Easy, but he still sucked at it, so gave it a 6. By the way: if you played the game, you know that counter controls are not unresponsive, just hard to nail. It takes good reflexes and some practice to get good at countering.

JMcN76
JMcN76

Maybe someone who enjoys wrestling games should have written this review. It seems like this writer was pissed he had to review this type of game.

MasterOfSprites
MasterOfSprites

Alright, so I finally got the game and played the hell out of it. I can say it deserves a hell of a lot more than 6. The AI is improved, the Commentary is improved, The fighting system is improved, and the game is addicting as hell. I would give it an 8.5, only because the game had far too many glitches for a higher score.

kingspanky30
kingspanky30

In RTWM how are the match goals unclear? They pop up in the match like every 10 seconds. Why don't you look at the rest of what the game has to offer then re-write the review. Had this been a COD game it would have got a four page write up.

Aseroth
Aseroth

There is something terribly wrong with this review... Just as the others stated, the reversal system is great, the game is great, the story is better than the ones we're following on the TV, everybody's wish including me and Cena's wish here came true, The Rock is present every week and not just for promoting another movie he just finished. The graphics are better than last year, except for the loose ropes and some other glitches. But a 6.0? I'm sorry but if the reviewer sucks at games like this, a simple reversal move even in legendary difficulty isn't that difficult, both the PS3 and XBOX360 for me have the same difficulty, he should be replaced by someone who can review games better. Even my friend who was new to the game almost reverses every move his opponents throw at him. If for anything else, this game should at least get an 8.0 in my opinion...

narutoman500
narutoman500

Gamespot, I'm sorry but you guys kinda really suck at reviewing wrestling games. The whole article was about how it sucked with RTW and the rversals system. I mean come on, If the AI are too tough for you, set the diff. to easy or go back to SVR 2011. You didn't even talk about the comeback ability or the wake-up taunts. Serious work guys...

drknessfeeds
drknessfeeds

guess i will be waiting another year to see if they get it right

guyxeno
guyxeno

@magicblueninja, yeah dude we might as well.

guyxeno
guyxeno

@gelugon_baat, its common sense really. if someone knew i didnt like zelda they wouldnt give a damn about my review or thoughts about skyward sword. they would go to someone who has played all the zelda's. obviously this reviewer doesnt even like wrestling games so he didnt seem fit to be doing a video game review for a wrestling game

TheWormRodman
TheWormRodman

Why the MUST to start off story mode with Sheamus?!? It was quite a Bumpy ride. Hmmm... might be better if we could choose a wrestler. Or use our own character..

MagicBlueNinja
MagicBlueNinja

Overaggresive AI did you play last years with the least aggressive AI I have ever seen that's like complaining about a game when you set it to hard come on

MagicBlueNinja
MagicBlueNinja

@guyxeno I agree with you 1000% lets be gamespots wrestling game reviewers from now on.

MagicBlueNinja
MagicBlueNinja

@gelugon_baat I am a wrestling fan and in no way do i give every wrestling game a good rating TNA sucked ass and so did the AAA game and some of the previous smackdown games but this game is a 9.5 only because of glitches otherwise it would be a 10.0

MagicBlueNinja
MagicBlueNinja

this game deserves a Game Of The Year award its better then any sports game on the market right now. this is outrageous. now the TNA game that was a bad game.

giddins
giddins

i found the counter system in smackdown vs raw 2011 and allstars to be more broken then this one. not to say that i believe this one to be perfect. i just had a lot more problems countering in those games then i did this one. i always tell friends who are having troubles that when the prompt came up you were already too late. it's like the games are saying "you should of pressed this button already"

guyxeno
guyxeno

@gelugon_baat , they should have had someone who knew what they were doing to review this game. im not a zelda fan so would it make sense to have me review it. if you have someone who complains about the reversal system then obviously he isnt well verse in wwe games to begin with.

guyxeno
guyxeno

@masterofsprites, since 07 which sucked, 10 and 12 were very excellent.

John_Aguilera
John_Aguilera

Bring back GM mode for the earlier ps2 days. That simulation was quite entertaining.

MasterOfSprites
MasterOfSprites

@guyxeno Actually anything from the original smackdown vs raw to 2007 was an excellent game, the newer games are pretty lackluster in comparison.

guyxeno
guyxeno

@picturegame, if you thought last years was better then your just a troll. last years game sucked in almost every aspect. i play these games every year and the only great ones seem to be svr 2010 and wwe 12. if a wwe game is bad, i will say it....like last years game.

guyxeno
guyxeno

@knyt4kryst your comment just proves that you should at the very least gamefly the game. you cant always trust reviews. if there is a game you really want to try you shouldnt let opinions stop you. if your iffy about it then dont buy it, just rent it.

guyxeno
guyxeno

wow gamespot i once praised you for having trustworthy reviews after getting rid of all the crap reviewers. i feel like its 2004/05 again. the controls are just fine. the only difference is we are not dependent on using the only the analog stick for grapples, all it takes is getting used to after 4 years of "ultimate control". im convinced that people who complain about the reversal system just suck at the game. i have the indicators off and i can reverse just fine. i think most people try to button mash like its still wwf no mercy and they wonder why its not working. the AI does abuse its reversals though. even if you turn the scales almost down they still reverse like crazy, but if this is an issue for you....then turn them all the way down. problem solved. RTWM is pretty weak. there are some great ideas but i hate having to beat the crap out of someone only to have a cutscene where i lose. that happens A LOT, as well as the insane number of backstage brawls. universe mode is a major improvement over last years. i remember playing last year and the same 2 things would happen over and over again. this year different things happen every week and i was only playing as my CAW. universe mode is a lot of fun and make up for RTWM. to me this game is at least an 8.

Mister_Falcon
Mister_Falcon

@knyt4kryst You should give it at least a try, man. The gameplay is by far the best in a long time. Does not hurt to try it.

knyt4kryst
knyt4kryst

I usually trust gamespots reviews i was going to rent this on gamefly but changed my mind, the only game i have disagreed with their score is Skyward Sword that game is so epic its ridiculous i see no control problems with skyward sword it works perfectly fine and dont say im a ''nintendo fanboy'' cause i love CoD, Halo, and most tof the popular games out there but i also luv nintendos franchise games i have never played a franchise nintendo game that was bad except for Mario Sports Mix and those olympic games

Mister_Falcon
Mister_Falcon

Not like the review matters to me as I bought the game as soon as I read the ign review, but I just hate the fact when you have non fans of a game reviewing it. Of course they are going to give it a low score. Rather than writing about the good things and bad, they just focus on all the bad things or things that may not be necessarily bad but they hate it (i.e., skyward sword controls). The dude gave it a crappy score because he did not know how to use the controls. On another site, wwe12 got a 6, because the doofus did not know how to turn on the hud. I mean c'mon, really? What about the other guy that only played rtwm? He gave it a 5 without trying the other modes. Honestly, if it were not for ign, I would not have purchased this game.

Mister_Falcon
Mister_Falcon

@sammyd1234 seems like gamespot's quality has declined over the years.

WWE '12 More Info

  • First Released
    • PlayStation 3
    • Wii
    • Xbox 360
    The WWE franchise is back with an exciting all-new edition with WWE '12. The new gameplay system will make you feel like you're truly in the ring with the most fluid, dynamic, realistic, action-packed WWE simulation to date.
    7.6
    Average User RatingOut of 733 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate WWE '12
    Developed by:
    Yuke's
    Published by:
    THQ
    Genres:
    Wrestling, Action, Fighting
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence