Release Date: November 2 (Europe), October 30 (North America)
Platforms available on: Xbox 360, PS3
Last year's annual WWE release went back to basics, reintroducing a more arcade-like control system and filling the roster with countless wrestling legends from a bygone era.
Continuing the trend of revisiting the past, WWE 13 introduces the Attitude Era single-player mode, a period popularised by superstars such as Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. Will this walk down memory lane lead to a pinfall victory? Or is it time for the franchise to tap out?
WWE 13's Attitude Era mode, which replaces the traditional Road to WrestleMania experience, features authentic storylines and matches from 1997-2000.
The first chapter, for example, follows D-Generation X members Shawn Michaels and Triple-H and features appearances from The New Age Outlaws, Dude Love, Bret Hart, British Bulldog and Legion of Doom.
The matches against these superstars happen almost exactly as they did more than a decade ago, replicating the arenas, pre-match interviews/commentary (which includes actual audio) and finishes. Further context is provided by slick and informative WWE video packages, which summarise the biggest feuds of the time.
Unlike last year, predetermined match finishes are no longer dependant on clumsy and restrictive objectives. Instead, they are replaced with a series of optional aims, such as hitting somebody with a chair or winning the match with a submission hold.
Completing these objectives activates the finishes as they occurred during the Attitude Era - unlocking tons of bonus items in the process - although crucially, scoring any old pinfall victory still advances the story. As an added convenience, players can replay matches as and when they please, unlocking any bonuses that were missed at a later date.
Tag-team and group-based objectives - where the aim is to pin or perform a move on a specific wrestler - continue to frustrate, thanks to poor opposition AI and broken game mechanics. We'd also prefer the option to play each of the six Attitude Era storylines simultaneously, instead of focusing on one wrestler/faction for an extended period of time.
Perhaps Attitude Era's biggest flaw, however, is that it might not appeal to the average WWE 13 customer. Focusing on one of the most popular periods of wrestling history makes sense, but the development team risks alienating younger viewers.
Fans of modern superstars such as John Cena, Sheamus, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan might feel slightly short changed by the inability to play as their favourites in the game's main story mode.
Fortunately, there's more to WWE 13 than the Attitude Era mode. The real meat and bones of the game can be found within WWE Universe, which enables users to play general manager, booking their own shows and pushing their favourite superstars.
This year's Universe mode contains more options than ever, providing roughly 200 storylines, as well as additional statistics, extra card space to book matches and a mammoth number of wrestlers.
However, while the abundance of content and options, not to mention a comprehensive customisation suite, is good news for the Universe mode, there's a sense that WWE 13 places more stock on quantity rather than quality.
Users will constantly find something new to explore and features to unlock, but won't always enjoy the in-game action thanks to the one or two long-standing gameplay flaws.
The reversal system, for example, has been tweaked to provide feedback on timing, but still manages to feel completely random. Ultimately, pulling off reversals feels less about skill and more about luck.
It's not all bad, of course. The gameplay feels very similar to last year, which means that the controls remain tight and each wrestler has an abundance of moves. WWE 13 also adds context-sensitive OMG moments, which add a little extra razzle-dazzle to the matches.
Giants can superplex each other through the mat, superstars can perform their finishers mid-air, while daredevils can plant their opponents through the announce table. It adds a little extra excitement to matches, giving users even more ways to win.
WWE 13 is as mixed as a John Cena crowd reaction. Despite one or two minor flaws, the Attitude Era mode is enormous fun for older fans, but won't appeal to everybody. The game includes a wealth of unlockables and gives users enormous freedom to create their own experience, even if it doesn't always get it right between the ropes.