With promises of rebuilding the aging gameplay for this year’s title, we’re expecting a lot of WWE ’12. The Smackdown name has been removed from the title as a statement of intent. But has enough changed to warrant the new name, or is it just another gimmick?
The most noticeable addition is the Predator system, which allows you to use the face buttons while locked in a grapple to target the arms, head or legs. Repeated manglings cause your opponent to move awkwardly and reduces their resilience to submission moves. It works well, although repeated use of a move to cause the injury can get boring and makes play feel mechanical, rather than fun.
The reworked counters have really suffered. A prompt appears for a nano-second, barely giving you the chance to halt the beatings or escape the lengthy grapple animations. There are multiple counter opportunities during a combo. But they’re too quick; it’s like being really bad at the playground game of slaps.
While I didn’t find the AI cheaply using counters all the time, the game clearly expects the player to be able to use them regularly. These narrow opportunities mean there are long periods of being unable to respond to attacks and grapples. For some reason, it’s very easy to get staggered too, making it even longer before it’s ‘your go’ again. Soon enough, you realise that this may be the most scripted WWE game yet.Click here to read more...