Hey guys, I’m SteveO and I’m the new video gamer reviewer here at The Daily Rotation! For my first review, I selected a new game that is also my latest pick up, WWE ’12. Its THQ & WWE’s newest iteration to the wrestling video game franchise that has lasted for 12 years now. It all started on Halloween day in 1999. THQ, fresh off the end of their gaming deal with WCW where they made the ultra-popular Nintendo 64 titles WCW vs. nWo World Tour & WCW/nWo Revenge moved over to the WWE and started off by making the favorite of all of us late 90s wrestling fans, WrestleMania 2000. The game was so good and sold so many copies, that THQ and WWE are still together making games today. To this date, they have made 33 games across all types of systems ranging from the home consoles like Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, to mobiles like the N-Gage. But that’s enough history; let’s get back to 2011 with the release of WWE ’12!

WWE ’12 starts off fresh this year. After too many fans complaining about the same thing year after year when THQ launched WWE Smackdown! vs. Raw 2011, which was the 12th game in the series. THQ decided to revamp the game with a new technology dubbed “Predator” and change the title to just WWE ’12. In most cases, this works like a charm. The hours I plugged into this game felt far more realistic than any WWE game I’ve ever played. Another big change this year has been the graphics. This is graphically speaking the best looking WWE game ever created. THQ has even gone as far as to add the realistic pyro intros to the shows in the game and has even added the actual camera angles used when you watch WWE TV. However, as you will find out more as you read more reviews from me, graphics are not all that important when it comes to me giving a review.

For everything WWE ’12 does right, it does something wrong which I feel is a step backwards for the franchise. If you were a fan of things such as the Road To WrestleMania mode like me ever since the 2009 game, you will more than likely be saddened by its death in this game. Yes, it’s still in WWE ’12, but long gone are the 5 superstars to pick from and the unforgettable storylines that drew us in with stuff we’d never see on WWE TV today in the PG era. Instead we get the most watered down thing I think I’ve seen in a WWE game ever. There are 3 storylines to pick, but you don’t get to pick, at least not until the other two are unlocked. Rather, we get thrusted into a villain story staring WWE Superstar Sheamus. While the storylines themselves aren’t half bad, the matches and voice acting are atrocious. Sheamus eventually forms a stable with WWE Superstars Wade Barrett, Drew McIntyre & William Regal called “United Kingdom“. Works for me, since they are all from Europe.

But it’s moments like these that let you down. For example, there are match objectives now that weren’t in previous games. At Bragging Rights, a WWE PPV where a team from RAW faces a team from Smackdown!, you have a moment where the game tells you to weaken the Big Show in the ring. Sounds fine, then I’ll pin him and eliminate him, right? Wrong. You spend all this time working him over, to hit Y or triangle when told which causes a cut scene to occur where he chokeslams and pins you. What?! I just spent 20 minutes on this objective and now he chokeslams me and pins me? That was my objective all along?! This will occur in 90% of the matches you have throughout the 3 storylines. It really feels like a dumbed down version this year.

The shining moment this year in my opinion, is the revamped WWE Universe mode. Dozens of new features were added this year including the ability to turn one of the shows into your own show! Always wanted to have TNA Impact! in a WWE game? Now you can. Bring back WCW? Do it! Throw in the ability to create your own arenas this year, and you have one of the best things to hit wrestling games…probably ever. Also included this year are much more Universe only cut scenes and 23 championship belts! Everything from hardcore to the attitude era and even the European championship belts are in the game. Universe mode feels really great when using it. It even has event matches, including Draft matches after WrestleMania. And the winner, actually drafts a superstar to their show, just like on WWE TV. It feels like the complete mode. It does have its flaws like everything else, but it’s definitely a mode everyone who plays this game should invest time into.

Another shining moment in this game like I mentioned before is the creations. You can do everything from make a superstar or diva, to make an arena, move set, entrance and finishing move all the way down to an entrance movie for your created superstars. Also returning this year is the Community Creations where you can go download created things from others who have uploaded them. However, this mode, as of this writing has been plagued with server issues galore. I was however able to snag a very sweet looking Kurt Angle and AJ Styles from TNA wrestling which look amazing! And after I downloaded them, I then burned a CD with their TNA themes on it, uploaded it to my Xbox 360 hard drive and set their entrance themes. SWEET! However, since the ability to do this has been around since the 2009 game, it never felt complete because they didn’t have entrance videos and I wasn’t skilled enough to make them in the Highlight Reel mode. However, this year, the game will make one for you. All you have to do is select a created superstar, set a theme which for Angle I used American Patriot, duh! Then type in the font you want and the color and then boom, the game makes you an entrance video with your CAW (Create-A-Wrestler). A VERY cool feature indeed!

Now let me get to the last big change, the new control scheme. THQ has done away with the control scheme we were all used to. Why? I don’t know. I loved it. Sure it was complex, but that was the point. They added a new control scheme which dumbed things down while making them harder somehow. Now instead of initiating a grapple with the right thumb stick, you simply hit a direction with the left, and press A. That’s it. Mostly everything else stayed the same, reverse with the right trigger, punch/kick with X, etc. Running has moved from the left bumper to the left trigger. This is all on Xbox 360 of course. I for one wasn’t happy with the new controls, but after spending some hours with it, it kind of grew on me. Just takes some getting used to. Also I’m on the fence about this one; they made this game EXTREMELY hard compared to the previous ones. While the AI is still wonky as hell, they will pretty much reverse anything you throw at them on the easiest setting. The reversals can be dumbed down in the AI sliders in the options, but out of the box, this game is nearly unbeatable with no explanations of controls and the insanely hard AI. And when you hit that right trigger to reverse them, it does feel like the timing for the game is off by a lot. I hope it’s an issue that a patch can fix.

Pros & Cons: Some of the pros in WWE ’12 would be: WWE Universe 2.0, the creations area, new technology, fun to play with friends.Some cons would be: The stupid AI still exists, Road to WrestleMania mode, difficulty spikes HIGH from previous titles, online server issues (for now) and the new control scheme (until you’re used to it).

Closing Thoughts: All in all, WWE ’12 is not a bad game, not in the least. It however, is not a great game either like some review publishers will have you believe. I’m a straight shooter; I tell it like I play it. WWE ’12 is a good game. I think for all it tries to be, some parts it hits greatness and some parts it fails on. Sometimes it tries too hard to be great. Universe 2.0 really is a shining portion of this game and having friends over to play 4 player matches in your living room is a BLAST! However the flaws are big ones and it does weigh WWE ’12 in the end. I think once they solve the online issue and people start putting up the killer CAWs that we’ve seen since 2010’s game, this game will be amazing to play outside of the Road to WrestleMania mode.

Final Verdict: 7/10