WWE '12 Preview -- Universe 2.0, Road to Wrestlemania Bring Pain, Drama, and DepthBy Mike D'Alonzo - Posted Oct 20, 2011
Recently, I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon at the Florida Championship Wrestling facility in Tampa, where the good folks from THQ's WWE '12 team brought us to reveal two modes from the game, neither of which had yet been seen. I played both the Road to Wrestlemania mode, which is vastly changed from when last we saw it, and an improved version of WWE Universe, called Universe 2.0.
Universe is a holdover from THQ's WWE Smackdown vs. RAW 2011, and is sort of a single-player campaign through a few seasons of the entire world of WWE, including RAW, SmackDown, and PPV events all year long. The WWE '12 version is remarkably improved, allowing customization of nearly every part of the universe in the game, from create-a-superstar, to all-new create-an-arena modes. You can insert or remove any number of superstars from each show and have them fight where and when you want.
Two huge features bear mention on their own. You can now recreate the draft that WWE holds each year, and change the disposition of wrestlers by changing their home show from RAW to SmackDown. This really has the potential to shake things up and create rivalries that the writing team of the WWE haven't ever imagined. Also, you can now interfere in AI matches, changing the dynamics of the match and creating new allies and rivalries that reverberate through the course of the Universe.
There's even a new momentum system that shows how a wrestler has been performing of late, adding or subtracting skill points through the matches you've won or lost. There are 22 different belts to be won, from the WWE Championship to the World Heavyweight Championship, to the IC belt, Tag Team straps, and more. In short, there's a lot of gold out there for the taking.
Also ramped up in WWE '12 is the Road to Wrestlemania mode, which should be called something else, because it's so clearly superior to the same mode in the SDVR games that it bears little resemblance. First off, the RTW storylines unfold over 18 months, a baroque journey that includes a Hero, a Villain, and an Outsider, each getting a six-month run that impacts their individual Wrestlemania moments greatly.
The gameplay is objective-based, as opposed to winning and losing, which means that you'll have specific things you have to accomplish to move the story along, and you won't be able to get it forward until you do. It's a new way of looking at the game, and it adds a remarkable amount of depth to an experience that's already pretty deep.
As for the storylines themselves, I won't go too into detail here, because the writing is so good that you're not going to want to be spoiled by what takes place, but look for an awesome new stable featuring Sheamus, a new character voiced by indie wrestling superstar Austin Aries, and a pretty important resurrection of a brand that once wrestled for Ted Turner. It's good stuff.
WWE '12 hits stores on November 22. We'll have more information on the game as it nears its release.