WWE '12 "Universe Mode 2.0" Preview

"Smackdown Vs. Raw 2011’s Universe mode, which is the equivalent of a dynasty mode, sounded like a dream come true for fans. It gives them a blank check with what to do with their favorite characters and all the while maintaining some sort of balance in making sure the superstars that do deserve to be champions are the ones that get title shots. WWE ’12 brings back Universe mode with even more ways to build your own ideal wrestling organization.

During our preview of the game over the summer, one of the biggest additions to the creation suite is the ability to design arenas. From the obvious choices - like color blocking of the rings and ropes – to the even most minute of details – such as the text on the arena graphics – being able to create an arena will allow for the imaginations of fans to go wild. Thanks to WWE owning the rights to just about every significant North American wrestling organization, you can also recreate classic arenas of the past, such as the AWA and WCW sets of the 70s and 80s. In Universe mode, you have total booking power, so if you wanted to, you could technically create a WWE that is filled not with Raw and Smackdown, but Nitro and Thunder. Belts that you win or unlock or even create can be used in Universe and replaced as you see fit as well.

All of the matches that you set up or allow the game to simulate in Universe mode will be taken into account by the game’s momentum feature. Each superstar will have a momentum bar on the screen and it takes into account how well they are performing on a weekly basis. A superstar with extremely high or low momentum will see changes in their attributes as the season goes along. Conceivably, if you keep booking Zack Ryder on television every once in a while, you might actually get him to a decent enough rating that he won’t get killed by just about every other superstar.

As unpredictable as you can make Universe mode, THQ did add a few more bits to really drive home the dynasty mode feel. Injuries can take out major superstars for months and that will force you to make changes to your booking, and having certain superstars competing or teaming up with each other often will build up their rivalry or partnership. A few unlockables can also be found in Universe mode, one of which is a character that most people already know thanks to a reveal last week.

Can WWE ’12 really be the game that replaces No Mercy?

It’s such a ridiculous question, but it does beg to be asked. For some people, a game that is more than a decade is still the wrestling game of choice. Those are the same people who cling to the Attitude Era for dear life and spend all day complaining about current WWE product and conveniently forget there was a lot about the 90s and early 2000s that should never be spoken of again (hand baby, anybody?).

We live in the Reality Era of the WWE now and much like the current conspiracy storyline playing out in television, the big reveal – in this case, when we get final review code – will be when we can definitively say if WWE ’12 was worth it for THQ to blow everything up and start over fresh. From online to DLC to unlockables, there is still a lot that needs to play out leading up to the game’s November 22nd release."



WWE '12 preview: hands-on with Road to WrestleMania and WWE Universe
The wrassler’s single player action gets redone as well

"WWE SmackDown vs Raw is no more, and in its place is the new and easy to remember title WWE '12. After years of dominating the world of wrestling games, THQ is out to make a fresh start, though the publisher and the Yuke's development team aren't forgetting what made SmackDown so huge. Not too long ago we saw the gameplay tweaks and creation suite updates, and now we've seen the single player offerings. Fan favorite modes Road to WrestleMania and WWE Universe are back, but just how much have they changed for this new era?

Ever since Road to WrestleMania was introduced in SmackDown vs. Raw 2009, we've been big fans of the dedicated campaign mode and its stories worthy of appearing on actual episodes of Raw. Over the years RtWM has focused on stars as diverse as CM PunkShawn Michaels, even the Divas, but the biggest shake up this year is how complete a story it is. There are three separate campaigns with one leading directly to the other, the overall story spanning a much longer period of time than the mere months between Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.
The mode begins with John Cena getting ready for a match against The Undertaker as you walk with the unbeatable hero to the ring. Then out of nowhere Cena is jumped by Sheamus and you realize Cena isn't the star of this mode, it's the Great White Irishman of the WWE that‘s taking the spotlight. It was a pleasant surprise to see the devs taking a break from Cena and giving a shot to the greatest Ginger in WWE history.

As his story continues, the plot plays up to Sheamus' background, as he forms a stable with other stars from across the pond. Sheamus builds a team with William Regal, Aaron Riley and Wade Barret to form a United Kingdom of villains. Soon they’re dominating the entire WWE, snatching all the titles from the promotion. At the demo event for this preview, we met with Sheamus in person and he mentioned that the plot is similar to one he and the Brits tried to start up in the real promotion but it never got going, so it’s nice to see the story find a place in WWE ‘12.
Eventually group turmoil disrupts the stable as Wade Barret challenges Sheamus for dominance and they ultimately square off in a match for all the gold. As you can see from the shot above Sheamus ends it in a dramatic fashion by throwing Barret into a spotlight, seemingly killing the Englishman. That’s when we found out how the second of the three Road to WrestleMania modes starts, as Sheamus’ Villain campaign leads immediately into the Outsider campaign featuring Triple H.

Hunter’s plot revolves around him making one more play for the championship, trying to topRic Flair’s record for most world title victories. HHH is out to dominate like never before, but he also has no friends backing him up this time, which leads the story to some strange places. At one point he battles Rated-R Superstar Edge, which shows how WWE games can sometimes beat the real thing, as Edge retired very suddenly and permanently due to health issues earlier this year, something fans can (temporarily) ignore in WWE ‘12.
Once Triple H’s tale is over the focus moves pretty suddenly into the final third of Road to WrestleMania, the hero campaign. Though we wondered just who the hero would be (Daniel Bryan? Cover star Randy Orton?), THQ instead is giving us the first ever full Road to WrestleMania storyline that stars a created wrestler. You make the character at the start of the mode, and in the cutscenes he goes by the nickname Cass (shorthand for Create-A-Superstar mode), as you follow his trip to the top.

Your created wrestler begins his career on Raw as the winner of WWE’s up-and-coming talent competition NXT and immediately gets into a feud with fellow NXT star Husky Harris. Later on it involves the addition of Kevin Nash, as Big Sexy has become the General Manager of Raw in the storyline. Despite the main character of this section being “made up,” the final third of Road to WrestleMania still emphasizes the mode’s more cinematic qualities.
Overall Road to WrestleMania didn’t look all that reinvented, but instead further refined. We aren’t complaining, as the mode has been a continual favorite of ours since its creation years ago. The devs promise 10 to 12 hours of gameplay in that RtWM alone, which would be a pretty good chunk of time by itself in most games, but WWE titles are nothing if not over brimming with content.

Another example of the huge amount of game that WWE ’12 boasts is the improved WWE Universe mode, aka career mode, as you can play through years worth of simulated WWE events. Universe 2.0 as they call it aims to be more open than years past, with more options and variables than ever before.
First off you aren’t limited to WWE show schedules, as you can create your own shows to perform on. You can switch between what wrestlers you play as at any time along with a superstar‘s friends and rivals, and a wrestlers win/loss record matters more than ever for their progress to challenging a title holder. Also the devs wanted a more focused experience with less random stuff popping up in storylines, hopefully meaning it’ll make more sense as you’re playing it. But that doesn’t mean unpredictable moments don’t happen, as Brock Lesnarmade his shocking in-game return to WWE in the Universe mode that was being demoed to us.

Altogether the single player offering in WWE ‘12 look more substantial than ever, which is great news for those who aren’t as into the title’s wide array of online and offline multiplayer. We still aren’t completely convinced this is the full-on reboot that the name change signifies to some, but we like what we’re seeing in the improvements to classic modes. The game hits stores November 22, so keep an eye out for any new info we get on the title between now and the review. Long-time wrestling fans especially will be pleasantly surprised to see what THQ has in store for the title.

Oct 19, 2011"



WWE '12 Event: Hands On Preview

"For all the aspiring GM's the universe mode has been dubbed Universe 2.0, and for good reason. Everything is fair game this year, including creating your own show. Want a show for Tuesdays, you got it! On your Tuesday show, do you want to have a draft selection show, where the winner of his match wins a draft pick for his brand, oh its there. Everything is fair game, from the titles to be awarded, to making a custom arena including the ring aprons to the entrance ramp is open to complete customization.The part of Universe 2.0 I had the most fun with was now players have the ability to interfere with any match, and boy oh boy is it sure fun to run into the ring, hit a finisher, and then wake the ref to cause your rival to lose a match.

What was really pushed at the event was the new refined Road to Wrestlemania (RtW), with a deeper story, and length. In this year's title, the RtW mode consists of an eighteen month time-span, with three different superstars being used in it. Players will start off doing the "Villain Story, where they will control Sheamus. I wont go into details of the story, but will say Sheamus himself was there at the event, and told everyone present that the storyline was one that was developed by him and a few other superstars from the actual television programs. At the end of the Sheamus story, the game flows into the next chapter, the "Outsiders story", starring Triple H. Following the conclusion on that, The final chapter is the "Hero Story" for a created superstar. The storytelling in this year's RtW mode is on par with real life TV productions, and left this fan eager for the game's release."

WWE Universe Preview by XboxAddict.com

WWE Universe 2.0: Last year's introduction of WWE Universe was huge. Finally, gamers had the proverbial keys to the toy store, and could customize the entire WWE storyline universe they way they see fit. If you didn't like a wrestler on one show, you could switch him to the other, or write him off altogether. While this was a great start, there were a few complaints. Firstly, it was too hard to set up title shots. There was a fairly complex logarithm that only listened to certain rules, where only certain title contenders could get shots at certain times. This has been amended for you to set up shots whenever you want. Not only that, but if you're sick of WWE's sets, you can import your arenas and have your own Universe with whichever shows you feel like - WCW Nitro, Thunder, ECW - anything you can think of can be put into the Universe. You can even defend and issue your choice of 22 different title belts, and have the ability to interfere yourself in all AI matches where you could not before. Forget the keys to the toy store. THQ has given you keys to the entire mall in Universe 2.0.

Fighters now carry momentum meters, and their attributes rise and fall depending on the momentum (or lack thereof) they possess. This is not a new feature to sports games, as this has been in other franchises as far back as 1995. However, this will allow you to pull up the attributes of the Superstars you choose to have compete for your titles. Zack Ryder, for example, has recently taken his career from near-obscurity into the top 10 of popularity and merchandise sales. Ryder's fans unhappy with his in-game ratings can push him toward the top, and see huge increases to his attributes with severely increased momentum.

With dozens of huge changes made, and hundreds of little tweaks made, THQ's attempt to continue improving the WWE universe, and bringing the experience closer to an interactive program (rather than a video game) is sure to be nothing short of amazing. Gamers wary of the fact that this is a yearly franchise should come in with an open mind, as there are many twists, turns and surprised yet to be revealed, and that only you can experience. Be ready in understanding that this is going to be a different game than last year. This game aims to prove that THQ is constantly thinking forward, and I can say with certainty that the changes will not be for naught.

For gamers seeking the extra bragging rights of being "The" WWE gamer, THQ is taking pre-orders for a "People's Edition" with the Rock on the cover available only through their website, and in limited quantities. Otherwise, the game drops November 22nd for Region 1, November 24th in Australia (where it's sure to cost twice US retail since that's the way Australian gaming rolls), and the 25th everywhere else. With so much in store for gamers this November, THQ is sure to send the gaming holiday season into a frenzy. Check back here at XBox Addict for our review of the next installment of the WWE Universe.

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