I could start with the usual clichés about wrestling, but that would just be rolling over the same dirt as before, instead I will drop into the review of WWE '13 and boy is it a "slobberknocker"!
For those of you who don't know; WWE '13 is a wrestling game that follows the lineage of many games such as Smackdown!, Smackdown! Vs Raw and WWE '12. All the previous games have been excellent not only for their innovations but graphically as well.
This version seems no different, this time instead of a "Road to Wrestlemania" mode you have the "Attitude Era" mode which takes you back to the peak time of the late 1990's when wrestling was king. In this mode you have various classic matches from the period to play with historic goals which have to be met to unlock costumes, characters and other matches. It was great for a fan like me to play matches that I remember from when I was younger most notably the "Hell in a Cell" match between Undertaker and Mankind.
The matches vary in difficulty and in "Hell in a Cell" you have to throw Mankind off the top of the cell into the announcers table, not an easy feat when there are no real instructions on how to do it (Pro-tip: press the grapple button near the edge of the roof while your opponent is groggy), it took me quite a few goes to figure out how to. It was the only thing that wasn't mentioned in the internal manual/tutorial so it was a small niggle. Other matches are much more straight forward and the on screen historical checklist keeps you informed of what to do in the matches. The "Attitude Era" mode is quite long and can take up a good morning of play to complete, rewarding you with more unlockable matches in the "Off Script" section of it.
One more note on the unlockables is that if you don't want to go to all the trouble of playing through the "Attitude Era" mode you can unlock them via the Fan Axxess download for 1600 MS Points on Xbox Live.
The other major game-playing mode is the "WWE Universe" mode which sets up programs with matches like the TV shows; e.g.: Raw, Superstars and Smackdown!
You can play any match listed on the program or interfere in the match which in my opinion is a great addition to the mode (last time I played a WWE game it was Smackdown Vs Raw 2011) and adds some real colour to the game. Playing through the mode will help you gain achievements such as winning Money in the Bank and then successfully cashing it in, it's all the little details that matter.
Other modes included are the create options and if you are familiar with previous WWE games they are pretty much the same with good customizable "Superstars" and "Divas" as well as designing signs/logos for tattoos or trunks, you can even design your own Arenas. The online community downloads are something else, they are great! I have enjoyed using other creations from other players and with how good the create-a-superstar mode is you can make almost any wrestler who has donned trunks.
Still there in the create menu is the story mode which seems unchanged and is still a good addition to the overall game. One slightly hidden option is the "create a custom title belt" which is hidden in the Title Management option of "My WWE", it could have been better served in the Create menu.
Now onto online play, it seems that THQ have done an excellent job on the servers this time around as I jumped straight into a match online, unfortunately it was meant to be a ranked match but I ended up against two opponents in a handicap match. When I lost badly and went to find a singles match I couldn't get one, obviously people wanted to play specialist matches at the time. My experience is no reflection on how good the game handled online play, I just sucked badly enough not to be able to beat two other players.
Graphically the game is superb, I can't fault it. The "Superstars" look like who they are meant to be and the crowd is detailed enough to recognize them as people with faces rather than just blobs. The lighting shines off the chests of most wrestlers (well they do oil themselves!) and other effects are highly effective. My only small niggle about the graphics is that sometimes the wrestlers look a bit weird when their heads are looking down and slightly morph in to their necks.
The physics of the game works very well, with ropes moving when wrestlers make contact with them either by running at them, holding them or even being thrown on them, I just cannot fault the physics. I've tried throwing stairs, ladders, tables and chairs and the physics handle them all correctly.
So the question is; "Should I buy WWE '13?", I would say if you are a fan of wrestling then yes. If you enjoy a good fighting game which enables you to fight various types of matches and will keep you entertained for a long time then, yes. WWE '13 is a good solid game for many reasons and will keep me coming back for more.