For years, THQ has been making games based on the universe of "World Wrestling Entertainment," home to such superstars as John Cena and Triple H. But with "WWE 13," THQ has hit its stride. And despite a few shortcomings, the company has produced a game that both wrestling fanatics and casual players are sure to admire. (It sells for $60 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.)
Fans of the WWE will recognize such grappling match events as the "Hell In a Cell" (the ring is surrounded by metal fencing) or the "Ladder Match" (players have to climb a ladder to retrieve a championship belt dangling above). But they'll really get into the new "Attitude Era" mode, which recreates classic moments from the 1990's-2000's era of the company — considered its finest years. THQ has even brought in "Iron" Mike Tyson for good measure, playing an enforcer in the matchup between "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and the tag team of "Degeneration X."
Along with several favorites from yesteryear, "WWE 13" includes many popular faces with the company today, including Cena and current champion C.M. Punk. You can also use the create-a-wrestler mode to put yourself in the match.
Along with the power to build your own grappler from scratch, "WWE 13" also lets you put together your own shows and pay-per-view events with WWE Universe 3.0. With all the options, you'll be lost for hours at a time setting up storylines and seeing how they play out.
The gameplay feels about as good as it gets. You can perform body slams and other physical moves on offense, and counter opponents' moves on defense. Sometimes collision detection between characters can be off, though, forcing you to miss them completely and get grabbed from behind, but it's not too big an issue.
As for the presentation, it's quite similar to WWE programming, with multiple camera angles and plenty of authentic wrestler animations. If you prefer, you can watch the action unfold from just one angle, which is less distracting. "WWE 13" also includes announcers from the shows, although their timing can be off. There were occasions when they continued to talk even though nothing was happening in the ring.
Finally, "WWE 13" features full online support for Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, once you activate the Online Axxess code included in the box. It's fun, especially if your friends are wrestling fans. [See also: What Is Cloud Gaming? ]
Despite some technical shortcomings and the lack of certain superstars (like WWE Diva A.J. Lee — who's being added later via downloadable content), "WWE 13" is a fun time in the wrestling ring. As Ryback would say, "Feed me more!"