Previews

WWE 12: The biggest wrestling game of all time?

Getting sweaty with the WWE...

There are major changes afoot in this year's official WWE game. First up our favourite scrapper has had a complete animation overhaul, making it more fluid than ever before.

Arguably the biggest addition is the ability to interrupt moves: whenever we found our opponents performing lengthy attacks on one another in a triple-threat match, we simply ran in and clouted them both out of their attacks, mid-action.

Every single move, tag team ones included, can be interrupted, and likewise impromptu tag moves can be inserted into what would normally be a solo move. We saw Rey Mysterio's 619 become doubly devastating when John Cena joined in and hit the five knuckle shuffle motions in Rey's off-beats.

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New animations mean the superstars' moves and counters have lost all the clunky transitions from one to the next, and with quicker recovery times the game is faster and more fluid than we've ever known it - and plays great as a result.

Extra attributes make for more distinct superstar behaviours: ten of the roster have personalised 'comeback' three-move-combos followed by a signature move opportunity, and if lighter superstars try lifting heavier ones it'll take them longer to hoist the added bulk.

Seeing people such as CM Punk strain as he lifts The Undertaker for a slam makes the game feel more believable.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The AI is more intelligent and more aggressive than ever, but although the game's getting tougher, the controls are getting easier. A is the new grapple button, with Right Bumper bringing up a limb-selection window enabling you to target the head, arms or legs by pressing on the relative face buttons.

It makes going after specific body parts in preparation for submissions easier than ever, and the shift in controls is a key step to cutting out the impenetrable set-ups that have become major obstacles for new players to overcome in the past few years.

Our favourite new idea is the inclusion of 'get-up' taunts. If you've knocked someone down and have a finisher ready to unleash, taunting your opponent will trigger a special insult causing your prey to groggily assume a vulnerable stance.

One button later you'll be able to hit your finisher - hopefully for the three count. It's familiar stuff for fans of Raw and SmackDown, of course, and in order to embrace these show tropes even further Yuke's have replicated every camera angle used for the telly.

Depth of field focuses attention on the in-ring action, and the removal of the Spanish announce table makes the arena side more current than it looked last year. There's still no sign of the Raw GM's laptop, mind...

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The creation suite has been expanded too, with Create-an-Arena enabling you to custom build events and deck out a location as you like. While you can't add set dressings by the Titantron, the mat, apron curtains, ring posts, turn buckles, ropes, floor mats, barricades, announce table and arena-spanning electric banners are all changeable, as are the onscreen logos showing people's names.

Want to wrestle in an old PPV arena? Chances are the logos and materials already exist for you to make it without trouble. Fancy battling on a grassy football pitch, surrounded by brick wall barricades? You can. In fact, you can create pretty much anything, making WWE 12 the biggest game in the series to date - and potentially on course to be the best one too.

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