WWE 12 for Nintendo Wii

Over the last few years, the amount I know about wrestling has waned greatly. Every time I turn on a match, Michael Cole and the divas are in the ring, not the old classics I remember. This is why I enjoyed WWE 12 Wii so much more than a game like WWE All Stars; wrestling is about acrobatics and a dramatic match, not cartoonish movements and physics. This is what Wii WWE 12 excels in.

Admittedly, the game is hardly a huge advancement from the previous iterations in the series. With the exception of updated rosters, the game is pretty much the same look and play from the previous title. However, while current fans will enjoy the updated rosters, old-school players like me will enjoy the unlockables the game features: Edge, Shawn "HBK" Michaels, Arn Anderson, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and much more. On top of that, you can get attire and arenas, but there is no downloadable content.

WWE 12 features new stamina, momentum and breaking point submission systems, but perhaps the biggest change is the addition of real strategy to matches. By holding a modifier button, you can pick the head, legs or torso to direct grapples. This little addition lets you control your wrestlers with some actual skill.

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Other than an absence of downloadable content, there is only one real complaint to make — which of course happens to be related to the Wii again. The graphics, while not inherently bad — they are basically what you would and could expect from a Wii — do feature very stiff animations. It seems like the developer took great strides to try and mimic the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game when animating the wrestlers. It would have been better had they taken the approach done with Madden NFL, creating a unique and stylized look for the Wii, making it much easier for the console to push through.

If it has been awhile since you last played any of the titles in the WWE series, this is certainly a good place for you to start it back up again. The choice in wrestlers is pretty robust, and unlockables are numerous enough to make you somewhat forgive an absence in downloadable updates.

Because the gameplay is otherwise exactly the same, if you already have a copy of the previous iteration in the series, what you prefer most about professional wrestling is ultimately the major factor in deciding whether to upgrade. Over the top matches? No. Well-developed matches? Sure, go for it.