Dot Net Video Game Review: WWE ’12 – Does the series reboot live up to expectations?

Jan 12, 2012 - 02:37 PM

By Will Pruett

It’s that time of year again (or, more accurately, it’s that time of year for me since I just got the game) to discuss WWE’s latest video game release. This year is a little different than the last few since WWE ’12 has been heralded as a major reboot of the THQ franchise. Gone are the days of Smackdown vs. Raw (2005-2011) and this game definitely takes some major steps forward, but not without growing pains.

First, let’s talk about the graphics. Every year this franchise seems to take leaps and bounds forward and this one is no different. From the entrances, to the in-ring action and the finishes everything on this game shines. The wrestlers are rendered in a fairly realistic manner and the arenas look fantastic (bonus points to the WrestleMania XXVII arena having the amazing video cube over the ring).

This game is downright pretty and one thing that makes it look and feel even prettier is the roster. There are a ton of wrestlers on this game, some of which have yet to appear in the series. We get the game debuts of Daniel Bryan, Alberto Del Rio, Michael Cole and many others. On top of that there are also legends like Brock Lesnar, the Legion of Doom, Demolition, Arn Anderson, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler and so many others.

Of course, many of those are downloadable content that must be purchased separately, but the bonus ten dollars is well worth paying for everything you will get.

With that roster, WWE Universe mode becomes a true highlight. This is a mode that tries to create episodes of Raw, Superstars and Smackdown, along with pay-per-views for an infinite amount of time. This is a very fun way to pick a superstar and play them up the WWE ranks, while participating in other stories as well. This mode is very fun, especially when you take a legend or undercard star and build them into a main event player.

In a direct contrast to the fun of WWE Universe mode, there is the Road to WrestleMania mode. This acts more like a traditional story mode where you take one superstar and play as them all the way to WrestleMania. In years past the stories began a few weeks out from the Royal Rumble, but this year they begin months or even a full year out. The added length is definitely welcome.

What is not welcome is the way matches must be won in this mode. Very few matches actually must be won by pinfall or submission. Instead, you must beat your opponent up and then push a certain button when prompted which leads to a cut-scene to end the match. Although you have been playing the whole time, you don’t actually get the satisfaction of winning the match yourself. You just watch the computer do it. These finishes take a lot of the fun out of playing and are a sad addition to the game.

Although the Road to WrestleMania mode is a little disappointing, they are not the worst part of the game. That is the actual in-ring game play. The matches become very frustrating when the computer opponent takes over on offense. They seem to be able to reverse anything at-will and you are unable to score a simple reversal at times.

Compared to last year, this is a major step back. While the new system looks prettier, it is much more frustrating to play. There have been moments playing this game where I simply have to walk away.

Overall, this is still not a game purchase I regret. With the enhanced creation modes (including the very fun Create an Arena feature), WWE Universe mode, the vast roster and the overall look of the game, I’m quite satisfied. I’d rate the game a 7 out of 10. It would be almost perfect if the gameplay came close to last year’s edition, but without that it still impresses me.

Let's do some good old fashioned talking about this review and the game! Feel free to email me at or to follow me on twitter at Please note that I do not want to play the game online with you. Don't ask.

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