This weekend I was very honoured to represent for the first time to a THQ Community Event. I got to admit, I decided that my main goal while I was there wasn’t going to be to play the game for my enjoyment, but to test the hell out of it and make sure that any possible bug would be acknowledged by THQ and hopefully fixed by the time of the release. But we’ll talk about this later on in this article, which I’ll try to keep as short as possible dividing it in chapters, even though there’s a lot to cover! So, is WWE ’12 really bigger, badder, and better? Let's see!


I don’t know if that’s just the fact that I never played Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 in a Full HD TV, but damn, the graphical aspect of the game just caught my attention immediately. Character models, depth of field, lighting, camera angles, ring reaction… Everything looks much better and realistic then all of before. The presentation is stunning as well. This year we’ll be having the actual WWE and WWE HD logo in their real positions, but most importantly entrances are perfect, with titantrons, minitrons, curvetrons, sidetrons, electronic billboards, all perfectly placed and adapted to every single arena. The arenas are perfectly reproduced, and even though the WrestleMania one is not actually bigger than the others, the atmosphere and the looks make it look like it is, and the cube displaying superstars’ graphics right above the ring is a really nice touch. In another nice touch, UFC-Style in-ring introductions take place before Title Matches. We only have one announce table this year, and near to it there are two opened-chairs that we can pick up at anytime, while the podium with the ring bell has been moved outside of the barricade, just like it is in real WWE programming. Furthermore, each superstar has a specific warming up animation before the match starts. Oh, and Sin Cara has his mood lighting (only in one on one matches and can’t be turned off).


This mode is absolutely mind-blowing, the possibilities that Create An Arena offers are endless and are everything we’ve always wanted. We can customize the ropes (all three of them or each one individually), the ring, the apron, the ring post, the turnbuckle pad, the floor, the barricade, the announce table, and even the electronic billboard that’s displayed all around the arena. And by customize, I mean full freedom: colors changing, logos, custom logos (paint tool), pertaining textures (patterns), WWE designs (and all classic logos and previous Wrestlemania ones are already selectable, and even the recent Capitol Punishment), everything can be placed in each of the parts that I mentioned before. You can even change the type of the barricade, using the old school rail if you want to!

There are some downsides as well: we can’t change the ramp or the stage, having to deal with a preset one (which at least looks really cool), and unfortunately we won’t be able to play online with our created arenas. We do will be able to share them via Community Creations though, and we will able to use them in Story Designer and WWE Universe (more details about Universe in the upcoming months – really cool stuff).

The only real change to Create A Superstar, is the Call Names system. In WWE ’12, we will be able to make up our custom call name by stringing together up to 4 parts, and for each of them we can select from over 500 different names, including simple letters, numbers, articles, nicknames and real names (was disappointed to see that “Andy” wasn’t included in the latter list, but I’ll deal with it lol). This only works as Announcer call name, while as far as the Commentary call name the system is the same as previous years.

I find this functionality great, and it’s been extremely well-put together. Apart from that, there’s really nothing else to talk about Create A Superstar. Nothing was removed, but I haven’t seen particular additions either (also true is that I haven't spend that much time on it). Bad news is that the preset skin colors selection is still there and lacking of some proper color variations, good news is that the transparency is back.

Nothing was removed from last year’s game. All match types are still in, and all creation modes are making their return, so Create A Moveset (luckily movesets look way better than last year), Create An Entrance, Create A Finisher, Paint Tool, Highlight Reel and Superstar Threads will all still be in the game, with an addition been made to one of these modes, which will be revealed in the upcoming months (as announced, it's an addition to an EXISTENT mode, so it’s NOT Create A Championship). WWE Universe and Road To WrestleMania are still in as well and have been improved upon.


Before reading this, I suggest those who haven’t to first read THIS and THIS topic to know everything you need to know about this year’s gameplay improvements, grappling and reversals. With that been said, I will be giving my impressions on the things that NEED to be talked about more in-depth. Now, hands-on, I must say that Dynamic Comebacks and Wake up Taunts really are the most awesome additions, so good that when you’ll get the hands on the game you’ll wonder how you could live without them in the past.

10 Superstars have their Comebacks (Daniel Bryan, Edge, John Cena, John Morrison, Kofi Kingston, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, The Undertaker, Triple H and a superstar yet to be revealed), but you can assign the ability to whoever and choose for them one of those 10 comebacks.

As far as wake up taunts instead, the selection is way more satisfying: in fact, every superstar has one, and you can choose as your wake up taunt from ANY taunt available in the game. Just pick which one you want, and the opponent will stand up groggy right in front of you everytime you perform it. Oh, and you can even perform a Wake Up Taunt from the apron, stalking your opponent before a Springboard attack.

Very satisfying as well are the removal of “warping” and the move interruption possibility, we were waiting for this for a long time now. And it has been implemented in a very good way, even though there still room for improvement of course, I’m sure that everyone will be very pleased with this. Everything feels more realistic, and players can feel more in control of what they are doing, without having to sit through extremely long “cutscenes” instead of actually being involved in the action.

The pin system is now only relying on the Hold option. The Tap option is gone, so that means no more turbo controller users, but that also means that if an online match is laggy, it could (it will) be very hard to kick out even from the simplest pin attempt, because the only way to escape a pin is to stop the indicator exactly in the blue zone. I brought this up but it’ll probably stay like this in the final version of the game, so make up your own idea of it. An addition to the pin system, is the new way Resiliency works. Now we can only use it once a match by pressing a button while receiving a pin. This will cause our blue zone to become 2x bigger to give us more chances to kick out for that particular occasion.


- Gamespy is no longer taking care of online. Online servers will be handled directly by THQ.
- Durability ability appears to be gone.
- Ring Escape ability can now only be used 3 times in a match
- We can now perform Springboard attacks while running towards the ropes without having to lean on them
- We still can’t keep our Advanced Entrance if we win a championship.
- Targeting system looks the same as last year, which means is still bad. I was playing a one on one and ended up doing a Springboard on the ref inside the ring, when I was trying to Springboard towards my opponent outside of the ring…
- There are two move positions: one is the classic 619 position (and that’s where you trigger Rey’s move), the other is “opponent grounded, player standing near corner” (and that’s where you trigger the Punt Kick, the Spear, among with other moves)



- Reversals into Chain Grapples have been fixed: no more constantly button mash the reversal button to get out of them.
- So is the Apron Running Attack, this year is possible to perform it again.
- The AI now is much more responding during pin attempts and does kick out a lot more than last year.
- No more referee constantly distracting himself in matches with managers, even when the manager is down on the floor.
- There was an issue last year that prevented us from doing finishers from the top of the ladder to the opponent placed on the table. This year, we can!
- It’s no longer possible to attack your opponent while he’s rebounding off the ropes (in the moment he touches them)
- Triple H running knee attack animation has been changed
- The glitch that caused the Freeze finisher has been removed
- The freeze glitch with two people in the turnbuckle is gone as well
- The turnbuckle DQ Ref Glitch (online players will know what I’m talking about) has ben fixed too


- Unclean entry is back in the game (doing an unblockable running grapple to your opponent while he’s entering the ring)
- Switching between grapple and drag animation inside a Chain Grapple an infinite amount of times is still possible.
- The removal of the “reach animation” for signatures and finishers and the fact that the opponent doesn’t need to be groggy to perform them, basically make them executable at any time, even when the opponent is getting up, and this without any transition, making them in those certain cases almost unblockable, since there’s no time to react.
- If you reverse the strong Irish Whip as soon as you are arriving at the corner, instead of stopping yourself from hitting the corner like in previous years, you will literally freeze yourself in the running animation.
- It happened quite often that during normal Irish Whips or other regular gameplay situations, the opponent would just freeze for no reason in the running animation
- In the TV near mine, a multi-man match was being played and I often saw superstars both randomly teleporting in a grounded state from a chain grapple state and other strange things like this.
- In Steel Cage matches, performing a Strike Combo when the opponent is leaning on the ropes causes the opponent to go through the cage and outside of the ring.
- Performing a limb targeting move from the Back Chain Grapple causes the opponent to awkwardly turn in a Front position without any transition.
- Going outside of the gameplay for a second, for some reason it wasn’t possible to change camera angles in Advanced Create An Entrance (I discovered this randomly while trying to see if Sin Cara had his trampoline, LOL)

Please note that I brought up to THQ developers ALL of the above issues (they’re aware, and they care, they took notes and recorded footage) and I’ve been told they still have a month to polish the game, so there’s a very good chance to see them all fixed in the final version. Again, take this list as AT CURRENT DAY and just as informative (if the glitches remain in the final game you will know what awaits you, if they’re gone you will know THQ worked very hard for you).


Content-wise, WWE ’12 has it all. The numbers are just impressive:
- 80+ Match Types (more yet to be revealed)
- 70+ playable characters for one of the biggest roster in history (plus an awesome unexpected mystery character)
- 12-Hour Road To Wrestlemania Mode (improvements yet to be revealed)
- Never-ending Universe Mode (improvements yet to be revealed)
- 10 different Creation Tools (with Create An Arena and a new addition yet to be revealed)
- Online Play, Content Sharing and DLC (more yet to be revealed)
- 60+ Unlockables (and you have no idea how much you will be pleased by them)

Plus, a real life presentation and an incredibly overhauled gameplay experience, with the addition of:
- Wake up Taunts
- Dynamic Comebacks
- Better Submission System
- No more warping and move interruption
- Improved selling and smoother pace
- Limb targeting

So it's definitely Bigger, badder and better. But is it perfect? No, unfortunately. Content-wise it can’t get any better, but the game that I played at the Summerslam event, as I described in the last chapter, was very glitchy. But like I said, THQ is working hard and believe me they are, (I found out there first hand) to make sure everything is going to be fixed. And if it will, ladies and gentlemen, we finally have it: WWE ’12 is going to be the ultimate wrestling game.

Andy Badwool -

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