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I've been messing around with WWE '12 for the past few hours and thought I would share some initial thoughts on the game. It's hard for me to say rather or not its worth the purchase price right now, but as I spend some more time with the game I'll put up a fuller review of the game. So here are my thoughts so far.
IGN giving this a game a 9.0 out of 10 is a joke. Giantbomb's three out of five stars might be closer to the mark. The game isn't atrocious but it's not the complete overhaul THQ was selling either. The new gameplay mechanics are an improvement but feel unpolished. I'm not sure how to explain it but it just feels off some how. More than likely I haven't gotten into the rhythm of the game yet as it does feel different from the previous games.
Some of the move animations look like crap. There was more than once that I wished they just copied the animation from the old game instead of putting a new one in. I swear, a small handful of the moves look like they were animated by someone who has never watched a wrestling match in their life. Some of them look absolutely bizarre. The transitions between the moves and the reversal animations are better, however. Overall the movement of the game looks more natural, dynamic and less canned. It's just those handful of ugly moves that stick out like a sore thumb.
I've been messing around mostly with the Universe mode. I created my own arena and customized the WWE Universe to replace Raw and Smackdown with Nitro and the AWA, which is pretty damn cool. However, it was a bit of a pain in the ass to set up the titles and the rosters the way I wanted them. While it has much more flexibility than last year, it's still a bit clunky. They put in some baffling design decisions in it. You can play all the matches straight through the show, but can't customize the entire card ahead of time. If you want four specific matches, you have to set them up and play them one at a time. But progress has been made.
I haven't got into the Road to Wrestlemania yet, so no word on that. I did a take a quick glance at the story editor and found that it has the exact same scenes as last year with maybe one or two new ones. Maybe. It's pretty much the same thing as last year.
The roster is the strongest that a WWE game has had in a while. The new engine is an improvement but could use some work. Overall it isn't bad but this will probably be the last wrestling game I buy that is developed by Yukes. I'll spend some more time with it and see how it feels in the long run.