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WWE 13: New features, hugely improved tech - is the series back?

We head to Summerslam to see THQ's latest

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Furthermore, the size of the very venue itself is down to you. Small gyms, Hammerstein Ballroom-style halls, open air Tribute-to-the-Troops locations, giant stadia... it's all under your control. And depending on what bubble you want your created arena to live within, both modern and attitudinal crowds are there for selection.

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You can choose to have anywhere between zero and infinite finishers for your superstar...

The new custom options stretch long beyond the expanded Create-an-Arena mode. It's now possible to set matches to 'quick', 'normal', or 'epic' modes for Ryback-esque blink-and-you'll-miss-'em squashes or 25-minute multi-kick-out main event marathons, depending on your mood. You can also choose to have zero, one, two, three, or infinite finishers available for any superstar at the beginning of a match to drop a Stunner or play some Sweet Chin Music within seconds of the bell ringing. Aside from starting things off with a bang, it's a great way of introducing a handicap to balance the chances of players of different skill levels.

PEOPLE POWER

Some of the moves inexplicably removed from last year's effort - such as table finishers - are back and accounted for. Special Referee matches make a return also. Lay into one of the competing superstars with the fists too much and your officiating will be deemed to be too biased and you'll be sent back to the locker room and replaced by another official.

Although the control scheme and HUD hasn't changed an awful lot there are some minor tweaks with major implications: the 'OMG' prompt that appears whenever you're able to perform a major environmental interaction means newcomers can discover actions previously known only to series veterans, while a 'TOO LATE', 'TOO FAST', and 'REVERSED' pops up with each reversal attempt to help you improve your reversal timings.

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Of course, anyone familiar with technical wrestling aficionados such as CM Punk or Daniel Bryan or Chris Jericho will know reversals come in all shapes and sizes, which is why there are now two target zones in the pin meter: one to kick-out of a pin, the other to reverse it and turn the tables on your opponent. It sounds minor, but it could well revolutionise the match flow when technically proficient superstars are in action.

WWE 13 wants us to 'Live the Revolution' and, between the new features and the hugely improved animation tech (everything feels so much smoother and glossier than WWE '12, with next to none of the old clipping or bumping issues on display in the new game), we don't think that's too lofty a goal. WWE 12 didn't revolutionise the series in the way the name rebranding suggested. WWE '13, however, might just succeed where last year's game failed.

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