WWE 13 preview: why the Attitude Era is all win

WWE 13 ps3 preview Sheamus

THQ 3:16 says quit your whining about last year’s Road To WrestleMania and grab yourself a couple of cold beers to toast the new WWE game in style, because the divisive story mode’s failed its wellness policy and has been given an indefinite suspension. Its replacement? A campaign entirely based on the trail-blazing, eyebrow-raising, crotch-chopping, authority-dropping, beer-hosing, five-second-posing, uncensored-swearing, bra-and-panties-wearing golden age known to all wrestling fans as the Attitude Era.

WWE 13 preview

CM Punk might be the face on the cover of the box, but it’s the likes of Stone Cold and Mankind who’ll be leading the way in a campaign set in the late ’90s. The retro story follows eight wrestlers in all, and will be a purely ‘relive’ affair – meaning you’ll be replaying history rather than creating your own Attitudinal splinter timelines via any paradoxical match outcomes.

Abandoning present-day WWE events seems like a shocking tactic for Yuke’s this year, but it could be the smartest idea it’s implemented this gen: not only is the Attitude Era the period of choice for many who are dissatisfied with the current PG-TV era, but WWE’s ever-changing feuds and angles mean the game’s stories are often out of date the day they hit the shelves.

Tired of seeing stables split, unexpected heel and face turns, and major brand changes taking effect in the months leading up to release, the team realised a retro campaign could deliver authenticity in ways present-day storylines couldn’t.

While ‘out with the in and in with the old’ seems an odd step for an annual series, it’s one that should lead to the most faithful career mode ever seen in a WWE game. And unlike WWE All Stars’ separate matches, WWE 13 ties them all together in one long story arc and then threads bonus matches into the tale. These extras unlock infamous PPV matches that aren’t tied to the main storyline. Last year’s infuriating scripted match endings have been scrapped too, so you won’t have to simply weaken an opponent and then hit triangle to see what happens next. We like the smell of what THQ is cooking.

As was the case back in the Attitude Era, the classic pairing of Jim ‘JR’ Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler are on commentary duties. (We also spied Michael Cole in one modern-era screenshot, though, so expect a mix of commentary teams across the modes.) And welcoming them back is an audio system that’s been completely gutted and rewritten by the old UFC Undisputed audio team, sparing it from the recent closure of the THQ San Diego studio.