Wellly, welly, well, look who it is, if it isn't little Alex. No it isn't little Alex, its medium-sized ClownBurger, it's been a while since I did a fanpost so I figured I'd do a review of sorts. I knew I'd be stopping my sense and nonsense articles when I or the audience quit caring, and wouldn't ya know it they and I did! Geno does a great job of doing that type of article anywhoo, but maybe I'll bring em back for Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania.
I'm going to review a few of the Attitude Era products that WWE has recently put out: WWE '13 and Attitude Era DVD. First off I'd like to say that I enjoyed both. Almost too good, "but Clown how can something be too good?" you may be asking (but probably not if you know that articles generally reveal their point by the time they are over.) These products are actually good enough to make the glaring issues WWE has now seem even more glaring.
I'll start with the video game, since that's what I did first.
I played the PS3 version and assume the game is the same on both systems, either way just letting ya know that from the get-go.I didn't waste much time going to Attitude Era mode, because that was the only reason I got the game after not playing a wrestling game since No Mercy for the 64. The mode is a run from around Summerslam '97 to WM 15, and allows you to play a bunch of different characters from the most important era of the WWF. It starts at the beginning of the DX run, which I found to be kind of fun, but often was waiting for the meat and bones of the AE to come around. One issue that is clear in this segment and kind of plauges a good portion of the AE mode, is that certain performers who were present at the events aren't in the game, and Chyna happens to be one of those performers. Just a small little gripe, but if you want it to feel authentic, swallow your pride and let Chyna (currently busy swallowing more than pride) be in your game. They do this later with Paul Bearer, even though he is a character in the game. We then move on to a portion of Stone Cold's run, which was really fun, and what I had been looking forward to, they should have done a beer truck or zamboni moment in there though. They put a ton of storylines in the Brothers of Destruction segment, which is fine, but also a bit confusing and sometimes tiresome. The Rock and Mankind sections were equally fun but nothing really sticks out as a problem or enhancement in those.
The closing section with the road up to WM 15 was the most fun part of the AE mode in my opinion. I started the game on easy after taking a 10 year break since my last wrestling video game, and bumped it up to medium about halfway through and on hard for the road to WM part. I would highly suggest trying the same, as it makes that last section really fun/rewarding when you finally finish the stage or complete the assignments for that match. Overall I would give the Attitude Era section of the game a B+ (I haven't played a ton of the other sections of the game yet.)
One of the best parts is the historical accuracy bonuses they put in place, those things hit home for an AE mark like myself. Also the general gameplay is good, and still uses basically the same control scheme I remember from the THQ games on the 64. However, sometimes you can get caught in a loop and your wrestler or the CPU's wrestler will do the same move 5 or 6 times in a row, even if you hit different buttons. The "two steel steps magically turning into one steel step" issue I see hasn't been solved for the last ten years either. Two major gripes I have with the AE mode is that is was only one player, there are ways they could've added additional players, via online or just with a buddy, especially for the tag-team matches. The other gripe is that during many of the cut-scenes they recorded new audio for the announcing and in other segments they use the audio from the actual event. They should have just used the actual audio on every one. You can't do the "THAT'S GOTTA BE KANE" part with JR, it loses some of the prior authenticity it had built up. Those gripes aside, the game is very fun and I found myself laughing and feeling all warm and fuzzy all over again.
Now on to the AE DVD review, if I haven't bored you enough already.
When I saw the commercial for the Attitude Era documentary, I had thought WWE had been reading my mind(which is fine, just don't be reading my mind between four and five. That's Willy's time!) because I had just been telling a friend that they need an Attitude Era documentary very bad. It was overdue but I can see why they waited. First off a great reason for waiting is that they don't have to blur out the logo on everything, or cut out the audio of them saying WWF. It makes it seem more authentic and not like you're watching a blurry tv that has a speech impediment. The documentary talks to some of the bit players in the game such as Road Dogg, Mark Henry, and Big Show to name a few. These voices add a lot since we already have heard from the big names on that era, it's good to hear from the guys who "knew their role and shut their mouths" during the era. I can't help but be disappointed that Vince doesn't talk about it once though, I would have like to have heard from the Big Cheese on what, why, and how they pulled off some of the things they did. Also pulling Stone Cold and Rock's interviews from their recent documentaries was pretty lazy, and very noticeable if you've seen those.
At little over an hour, this documentary was criminally short, there are so many angles, moments, feuds, and other things they could have covered and dissected, but they went with the idea that all of us have ADD (as most movies, music, and games are doing these days) which is fine if they are selling to their current fans. You'd have to believe the people buying this are people like me though, guys who want a piece of their childhood recapped and given to us straight. So their short length of the documentary made me scratch my head a bit. Other than the length I thought it had great width, err I mean I thought it did a good job of making me miss being able to suspend disbelief so strongly. It's the other parts of the DVDs that I enjoyed even more, which surprised me. I figured it would be a collection of vignettes and not-so-great matches, but it was actually the non-documentary parts that make the value of the DVDs great. In these they make it clear they know their big money-makers (Austin, Rock, Undertaker, Mankind) are what a lot of us wanted to see, as they are packed with matches from those performers. Overall I'd give the set the same B+ I gave the game. I tried not too watch all 3 DVDs in one day and had a hard time doing so. That's a pretty good sign to me.
To get back to a prior point though, I think the DVD was short because the WWE didn't want it to be too badass, if that makes sense. It already made me draw recent comparisons to the current product and made me sad to realize some of those things just won't ever be done again. I was younger and less cynical during the attitude era but I know that's not the only reason the current product doesn't have the same affect on me. As Big Show says in the documentary "Everything mattered on Raw back then" you just can't say the same on Raw these days, especially now that it's drawn out to 3 hours. It made me happy to relive some of those moments, but also sad to realize that right now the product is about half as good as it was then, and twice as vanilla.
Both products were aimed at a sucker like me, and boy did they work. I marked out a few times to shit that happened 10 plus years ago, so they must've done something right. The non-blurring and intact audio was actually my favorite part of either, I wish the game could've done the same in that regard. If you were a kid, teen, or just a big wrestling fan in that era, you need to get one or both of these products. While WWE may not know what the hell they're doing in the present and in the future, they usually do a great job of showcasing their past.