This game marks the second time that WWE has changed the direction of its gaming series starting from Smackdown vs Raw, With Smackdown vs Raw 2011 being the last game in that series, WWE '12 is the first in the new one. Previews suggested that the game held much promise as it was more realistic than its predecessors, bringing legitimacy in game play. Although the game is arguably more realistic this time round the change in style ultimately does not seem worth it. After playing through at least about 2 or 3 matches it's obvious how you're going to be spending your time through the game. That is running around the ring, mainly to dodge your opponent and administer the running attack, which is perhaps the only useful move for the player.
Game play has changed from the SvR series, where formerly the player was required to use the right analog stick to use the grapple attacks, L1 to run, this one requires you to use the X button and L2 respectively. New players may be able to catch up relatively quickly but it will be a hard time for returning fans to get used to. This change in controlling doesn't provide any convenience so it seems useless as far as game play is concerned. Camera angles are much more focused on the wrestler than the environment, it will be extremely confusing at first for returning players to play the first time due to the camera angles. The main camera angle is placed right in front of the ring, high risk or stronger attacks will trigger a different angle. However, the character models are much better made, wrestlers are far more detailed and provide a better sense of realism. Camera angles aside graphics are fantastic for a wrestling game and for the first time the crowd look like actual human beings rather than cardboard figures although the signs are still ridiculous. The most annoying aspect of game play is ironically playing the game, it is beyond frustrating to play on harder difficulties. The only reason to play on those modes is if you want to watch your wrestler on the verge of being murdered. It is almost impossible to win on Legend difficulty mainly because your opponent will usually never let you hit him. The reason for this is the horrible reversal system. Even in the Smackdown vs Raw series this was a problem but was something which could be overlooked or practiced. In WWE '12 the reversal is system is completely broken in the hard difficulties, the only way is to time your reversal on exactly the right second. If you're able to reverse the opponents moves, the problem won't go away as the AI is made to recognize your moves and will therefore reverse pretty much everything you have to throw on them. This is the only time anyone would see Yoshi Tatsu making The Undertaker submit. To avoid being hammered by the opponent, players can play on the easier difficulties which will tip the scales even. Here you would be able to at least dish out some offense, playing on easy after being clobbered will provide satisfaction as the AI can be beaten here. Players also have the ability to target specific limbs during matches and perform submissions through a new Breaking Point submission minigame.
Returning modes are the never ending WWE Universe and the Road to WrestleMania storyline. WWE Universe throws the player in random matches on a year wide scale, unlike last year you can interfere in matches and change match stipulations to your liking. The bad thing about is that there is a huge chance that a glitch would come up. More often than not the game could cause the PS3 to freeze or develop a glitch where the wrestler would get stuck in midair. Sometimes, while interfering, the matches would become never ending with neither wrestler ever pinning each other and the player being powerless to do anything other restarting the match. If you are able to avoid these glitches there's a lot of variety to have fun, with the game offering a number of different match types and a roster larger than ever featuring various legends who are easier to unlock this time. Road to WrestleMania mode was a hit for fans from SvR 2009 to SvR 2011, with separate storylines for their favorite wrestlers. The WWE '12 RtWM is quite disappointing, especially when compared to the previous ones. This time there's only one storyline which has to be played taking place over about 2-3 years and 2 playable WrestleMania's. The main characters are the villanous Sheamus, The Outsider Triple H and the hero Jacob Cass who is a creatable superstar. The storyline progress respectively switching to the following player after some time. Storylines are increasingly linear with the main theme being betrayal by supposed allies. After a while it becomes easy to predict where the storyline is heading towards. More linear than the story is the game play. Deferring from the previous versions where there were a number of choices given giving the games more replay value, this time there is no hint of a choice, Instead there are mandatory objectives given in game. At the beginning of matches players are given tasks which have to be performed, usually having to weaken the opponent and wait for the prompt above them to start the cut scene. Matches very rarely end in pin falls, back stage brawls comprise of about 40% of the story with the same enemies featuring in the same environment for the most part. After finishing the Road to WrestleMania mode few would want to play through it all over again.
It did seem, while the Smackdown vs Raw series was going on, that the franchise needed an overhaul and it was welcome new when WWE '12 was announced. But after playing through the game many would feel that the old premise was much more comfortable and there wasn't any need for this kind of change in the series. It is fun if you're into wrestling games but there remains a hint of redundancy throughout game play mainly due to the fact that the reversal system takes out replay value.