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    Entries in thq (6)


    WWE ’13: A “Revolution” For Wrestling Video Games?

    Written by Jimmy Donofrio

    Back in January, I wrote a piece on WWE ’12 that begged Yuke’s, THQ, and the WWE to change the tired formula of their wrestling video game. It was the first year for the newly branded brawler, but not enough had actually changed to justify buying what amounted to an updated roster (and even that was incomplete, as Chris Jericho, a headliner at this year’s Wrestlemania, is still missing from the game despite three rounds of DLC). I wanted the game to be about the business of wrestling, eliminating the kayfabe and basing matches on performance goals (including losing on purpose) instead of simply winning and furthering the story.

    Flash forward four months, and the first new details of this year’s entry, WWE ’13, have finally emerged. On Tuesday, IGN debuted the new teaser trailer and exclusive details of WWE ’13, along with an exclusive interview with cover-grappler, CM Punk. While it isn’t everything (or, arguably, anything) that I could have hoped for, I’ll admit, there is a lot to be excited about.

    The shiniest addition that will get most of the attention in the lead up to the October 30 release is the new Attitude Era Mode, which will warp players back in time to the late 90’s, the heyday of professional wrestling as a moneymaking, media-driven spectacle. You’ll play through some choice storylines of old while reliving the Monday Night Wars from the perspective of the WWE and classic superstars like Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mankind, and The Undertaker. It isn’t mentioned in the article, but it’s obvious that Yuke’s found some inspiration in the “Jordan Challenge” and the recent success of the NBA 2K series. How it will be executed is yet to be seen, but if there’s one thing that sells in professional wrestling, it’s nostalgia.

    Is it finally “Clobbering Time” for a WWE video game?

    What really got me pumped up were the new details pertaining to individual matches. New settings and factors will make previously unrealistic (I realize the irony in using that word, but stay with me) match lengths and outcomes more logical and bearable, by professional wrestling standards. From the IGN article:

    ..players will be able to adjust a setting called ‘Match Experience’. Three settings - “Quick”, “Normal” and “Epic” - will affect the overall pacing of a fight, independent of AI difficulty. Factors such as momentum, damage, enemy aggressiveness and even kick out and reversal rates will be affected. The difference can be staggering. Quick matches feel lightning quick compared to epic ones, where superstars seem to have limitless stamina - and health.

    Add to that a new setting that limits the amount of finishers available to use during a given match (from 0 to infinite) and tweaks to the way devastating moves will influence pinfalls, and I’d argue that we’re starting to see a change in the genre as a whole. Up to now, wrestling video games were fighting games based on the “rules” of the wrestling universe. These changes to match mechanics are the greatest step towards a real broadcast wrestling experience since the introduction of real TV and PPV arenas in WCW/nWo Revenge on the N64.

    There’s still a lot to be revealed and learned about WWE ’13 in the coming months, but I’m going to label myself “Cautiously Optimistic” that this is actually a step in the right direction for the future of wrestling games. We may never get the real look behind the curtain that I rallied for, but actually attempting to mirror the product your game is based on is certainly good enough, for now.


    It's Not Real To Me, Dammit!

    Written by Jimmy Donofrio

    Hey THQ, let’s be real, okay?

    Professional wrestling is fake.

    That’s not a bad thing, millions of people all around the world love professional wrestling – myself included. But we’re not morons. With the genesis of the “Reality Era”, where guys like CM Punk and Chris Jericho sit atop the business with gimmicks that laugh in the face of kayfabe, it’s time that our wrestling video games followed suit.

    WWE ’12 was supposed be a refreshing change from the formula that THQ has trotted out since 2004. Well, that was the idea, at least. Realistically, wrestling games haven’t changed all that much since the days of the original Playstation, and there hasn’t been a truly great wrestling video game since the incredible WWF No Mercy for Nintendo 64.

    The WWE has changed the way they do business in the last year. They’ve let WWE Champion CM Punk shoot from the hip instead of from some script written by Michael P.S. Hayes. They strapped the various belts on true fan favorites, guys that have clawed their way to the top through the independent circuits, instead of the manufactured big men of yore. There’s a little more transparency on our tv from week to week, and it should translate in our games, as well.

    So here is what I’m proposing, THQ: Let’s forget the silly “Road To Wrestlemania” or “WWE Universe” game modes, and give WWE ’13 the kind of Career Mode that truly represents professional wrestling and the plight of your everyday WWE Superstar.

    Sheamus wrestled in Europe for 5 years before getting his break in '07. Two years later, he won his first WWE Championship.

    1. Instead of letting the player be in control of a wrestler, let the player be in control of a performer (sure, this changes the game from a “fighting” affair to more of a “roleplaying” one, but isn’t that what professional wrestling has been forever? It’s really just a stage play with steel chairs). You’ll still be able to punch, kick, run, grapple, etc., but you’ll also be able to sell a hit, control the flow of a match, and put over another wrestler if need be.

    2. In turn, you need to change the goal of each match. A WWE Superstar doesn’t go out to the ring to win, he goes out to tell a story. So lay out each match ahead of time, with a timeline on the screen, marking off certain spots that need to be hit and a predetermined winner. If you’re a good wrestler, you’ll hit your spots, tell your story and extend your career. As your career progresses, your matches will become more complex…

    3. …and you’ll run the gamut of cliché wrestling storylines. The difficulty: sometimes you have to be the loser. Sometimes you need to get squashed. Sometimes you need to put over a weaker wrestler to show you've got the goods, even when you're supposed to be bad. And, in turn, you’ll get your big breaks. Let’s pull back the curtain and delve into the backstage atmosphere that creates this multi-million dollar product.

    4. This isn’t going to be like those NFL Head Coach or MLB Front Office Manager abortions. There will still be ridiculous entrances, outrageous matches, larger-than-life personalities on full display. There will still be wrestling. The context, however, is completely different: you want to actually put on a great show instead of just emulating one.

    This, of course, is a very rough outline. The point is, the wrestling business isn’t some kind of big secret – we know it’s fake, and we love it anyway. We know how hard these guys work, and we love them because of it. THQ, give us a game that does both the industry and its superstars justice. We play Madden to be a football player, Zelda to be a Hylian warrior, a whole host of games to be some kind of space marine guy. When we play WWE ’13, let us, finally, be a professional wrestler.

    World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan is an indy wrestling legend, and has jobbed on almost every continent, and even a few back yards.


    Tim and Eric and Genki Sell You on Saints Row: The Third

    Did you know that Tim and Eric teamed up with Saints Row: The Third to make a reality out of the fictional Professor Genki and his Japanese inspired game show wack house? It's true. And it's actually pretty good. Normally, not even the Chains of Olympus could keep me in my seat for an entire 12 minutes of YouTube video, but I can honestly say I watched Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax from start to finish, without any forwarding of the timeline. Highly amusing!

    If you're a fan of Tim and Eric's offbeat sense of humor, this video is made especially for you. Even if you're not a fan of the ambiguous duo, this "game show" has enough gratuitous skin, fried chicken, and tall cats to keep you entertained, and perhaps coax a $60 purchase of Saints Row: The Third. As if the game didn't look like enough of a wacky romp. My question is, when will we see Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax on weekly network television? Not soon enough.

    Preordered Saints Row: The Third yet? Get off your ass and do it, you'll get $10 of Amazon credit and the Genki Pack, which includes a Professor Genki suit and Man-A-Pult Car. Praise Genki!


    Warhammer 40000: Kill Team Brings Space Marines to Twin Sticks

    So apparently, the Warhammer world is this hugely popular fictional universe that spans decades and is the source of inspiration for many of today's popular ideas in gaming. If you're like me, and don't have the patience for lore, literature, and tabletop games, you probably could care less for this world. All that is about to change very soon, with the introduction of Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team, two-player twin stick shooter.

    Kill Team will compliment Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, which I'm not as excited for in comparison. It's due out this July for PSN and XBLA, and priced at $10 (800 MSP). Love me some twin-stick action. Pause.


    The History of Red Faction: Blowing Shit Up

    The good people at Volition have created a dev diary of sorts, discussing some of Red Faction's history, it's legacy as a science fiction series, the enemies, and of course, blowing shit up. 

    If you're not familiar with the Red Faction series, you can watch this to acquaint yourself a bit, but you really should play some of the past entries. If you're strapped for time, then maybe just give Red Faction: Armageddon a shot. It looks like Armageddon will continue the franchise's streak of quality gaming, and lovely destruction. Don't like the way that wall is looking at you? Blow it up! Guilty conscience, wall-killer? Rebuild it again with your Nano Forge. Destroy, build, destroy; Andrew W.K. would be proud. 

    In other news, have a look at Red Faction: Armageddon's pre-order bonuses, by way of these silly ads. Best Buy gets the Recon Pack, featuring a nice looking set of Recon Armor, XNG-5000 rocket launcher, and the chain-lightning spitting Arc Welder. Gamestop pre-orders fetch you the Commando Pack, whose odd looking Commando Armor looks like a hybrid of Mass Effect's N7 and Final Fantasy XII's Judge armor. Also, fucking SWEET Laser Pistol and flame-throwing Plasma Launcher. Amazon pre-order is less flashy, but worth it in its own right. $10 worth of video game credit, and a free download of the addicting vehicular slaughter action of Red Faction: Battlegrounds. Where will you pre-order?


    Get Your Red Faction: Armageddon On Sooner, Then Later

    Show of hands, who here loves Red Faction? Sweet, so do I. Look at that, we have so much in common. Are you busy Friday night? Maybe we can enjoy a candle light dinner followed by some Guerrilla action. But I digress! This is a good news/bad news post. As usual, you'll get the bad news first.

    The bad: the release of Red Faction: Armageddon will be delayed. I hear the collective groan, but wait, let me finish. The delay is only a week, which is completely bearable. The date has been bumped back to June 7, as opposed to the scheduled release of May 31. That gives you plenty of buffer time to finish up with L.A. Noire.

    Now the good, so you can leave this post feeling positive about life. Mark May 3 on your calendar, because that will be the day that we all receive the Red Faction: Armageddon demo on Xbox Live and PSN. Though who knows if the latter will ever be back online, let alone by May 3.

    When I spent some hands on time with Red Faction: Armageddon at PAX East last month, I walked away thoroughly impressed. And though I didn't get to try any of what we'll probably see in the demo -which I'm sure is a sliver of the campaign mode - messing around in Ruin Mode, putting all of the glorious instruments of destruction through their paces made my evil little heart flutter with sadistic glee. Really looking forward to this one.