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Published on February 5th, 2012 | by Shawn Long, Features Editor

TRUTHrant: The WWE Franchise Needs a Drastic Overhaul

New year, same crap.

THQ has evidently been going through some financial problems as of late. The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) franchise is more than likely one of the reasons they aren’t belly up. Year after year a new game is released and all the wrestling fans go wild–not to mention it sells like hot cakes. After this year’s edition, however, maybe people will see things my way and realize this series needs a DRASTIC overhaul.

I have been playing WWE(F) games since WrestleMania on the NES. I remember the dark ages of wrestling games, when Acclaim was making them. They were terrible. THQ along with AKI were dominating on the Nintendo 64 with games like WCW vs nWo: World Tour and WCW/nWo: Revenge. THQ then acquired the WWE (F) license and released WWF: Wrestlemania 2000 and what is hands down the best wrestling game ever; WWF No Mercy. On the PlayStation side of things, THQ was releasing the WWF Smackdown series, which was a more arcade-like take on wrestling. THQ soon ended their relationship with AKI, and the ‘Smackdown series became the forerunner for the PlayStation 2, which was now being developed by YUKE’S.

Now here we are, with wrestling games being terrible. YUKE’S and THQ now release a yearly edition of ‘WWE games, usually boasting an out of date roster, glitches galore, a revamped control scheme, and taking out things from the past year. It feels like THQ is nothing more than a cash cow and there is no feeling or depth to their games. Sure, the addition of the WWE Universe mode has made things interesting and being able to create your own moves is nice–but at the core this is the same game from the PS1.

As Booker T would say: WHUT DA HALE!?

I have some very simple ideas that would fix this nonsense. It would give the gamer more for their buck, and would provide a more authentic experience in wrestling.

  • Allow in-game edits of WWE wrestlers. If I want to change Triple H’s hairstyle, beard, or attire–let me. I could do this in WWF No Mercy, which is why so many people still play this game. It is simple and relevant.
  • Stop the yearly format. The roster is always missing key additions anyways, so ditch the yearly format so you can address problems from the previous game. This is better than just adding and replacing minor game elements. Also, having the announcers say the same thing YEAR AFTER YEAR doesn’t give this game a “new game smell”. Smells like the same old crap.
  • Stop changing the control scheme. All of the THQ wrestling games on the N64 had the same control scheme, and worked. I know quite a few people that still play those games to this day simply because of the precision controls.
  • Revamp the DLC options. Current roster members should NOT be charged for. If you want to charge for comprehensive legends, with full move-sets, entrances, and MULTIPLE ATTIRES–I’ll agree to that. However, when I have to spend money on someone who is on the roster that THQ just didn’t include in the game, I have a problem.
  • Revamp the Create-A-Wrestler. When I see the same hairstyles from Smackdown vs Raw: 2006, it’s time to ditch the current model and start from scratch. Make more realistic hairstyles that people actually wear, and limit the amount of goofy choices.
  • Simplify the game. The reason there are so many glitches is because there is too much going on. If you play any sort of hardcore match in ‘WWE 12, you will see countless glitches during gameplay because of the new weapon physics–which are actually an “improvement” from last year’s outing. If you can’t perfect it, take it out, analyze what is wrong with it, and revamp it. All the camera angles in the world cannot mask the shoddy animations, and speaking of which…..
  • Tweak and revamp the animations. If you look at the moves, you see that maybe 5% of them are “new”, and the rest are rehashes of previous titles. Most of the “new” moves are just the same move, new wrestler. Please, stop with that. Either tweak them so they look nothing like the previous persons, or use the break period between games to start from scratch.

Fans are sick and tired of the same old shoddy games that THQ releases under the ‘WWE banner, and it’s time to make a stand. THQ unfortunately has the ‘WWE license for many years to come–so the chances of these improvements happening are very minimal. Still, we can hope that maybe an executive of THQ realizes that it’s time for a big change. The numbered format of the games just isn’t cutting it anymore, and the series needs to be looked at and renovated. Maybe one day we will see a game that is more like WWF No Mercy, which is solid from top to bottom with no glitches, omissions, or boring game play. Just don’t hold your breath.

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About the Author

Gaming for 23 years! Primarily into Nintendo systems, but play everything. Add me on Facebook, Shawn Long, on Twitter @ShawnLong85 or email me at slong@gamingtruth.com

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