WWE’s annual game series has evolved a lot since the debut of “SmackDown” in 2000. The PlayStation title came out at the height of the Attitude Era, and the latest installment of the franchise “WWE ‘13” is the first to go back to that period of time.  

“WWE ‘13” takes those similar small steps forward that the annual series is known for, but the big leap this year is Attitude Era Mode. The mode allows players to go through a historical documentary mixed with gameplay, reliving specific moments from wrestling’s favorite era.

From the perspective of a fan: the mode is excellent and will make any long-time viewer nostalgic for the insane times past. Players who weren’t watching in the mid-to-late 90s will learn about the history of pro-wrestling in a fun way; its brilliant marketing that captures the entire WWE audience.

The mode isn’t revolutionary; it replaces the similar but less satisfying Road to WrestleMania mode, leaving the game without any modern stories for players to get invested in. There is still the WWE Universe mode, though, which allows your game to keep track of progress and titles in a sort of story mode, but doesn’t have cut scenes or dialog.

The gameplay is the same as last year’s “WWE ‘12” installment, but with improved AI thanks to predator 2.0 technology. The good news for people more interested in single player is that facing the computer is more of a challenge than in the past.

There are some issues in the lack of difficulty curve and inconsistency of the game. It doesn’t matter what point of Attitude Era mode you’re in, you can wind up in an easy or impossible match depending on the day you’re recreating.

There’s one specific moment that comes to mind in regard to inconsistency. After knocking out “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as Kane in less than two minutes, you have to knock out Paul Bearer as Undertaker in less than one minute: should be quick. It’s one of the hardest challenges in the game until you realize that you have to continually hit leg stomps to the face and running DDTs to get the job done.

This and the usual glitches bring the game down in quality, but not by much. Fans should be used to the glitches in the game by now, with ties disappearing into people’s bodies and hair never looking quite right.

Graphically “WWE’ 13” is disappointing as well. It doesn’t seem that WWE and THQ have made aesthetics the priorities in these games for a few years now.

The game’s consistency comes in handy with the Create modes, letting users have all the past options and a few new ones in creating Superstars, arenas, entrances, move-sets, finishers, and more. Even before the game was released to the public, the online community creator that allows players to download or upload created superstars was filled with former wrestlers and other iconic characters.

After extensively playing every installment from “SmackDown” in 2000 to “WWE ‘13” this past week, the newest WWE game’s quality is notable. This is one of the better editors of the series, and it offers something completely new by giving audiences something 15-years-old in the Attitude Era mode.

The basic roster consists of the usual superstars, divas and legends. This year's offers Alberto Del Rio, Big Show, Booker T, Brock Lesnar, Brodus Clay, Chris Jericho, Christian, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Dolph Ziggler, Edge, Epico, The Great Khali, Heath Slater, Hunico, Jack Swagger, JBL, Jinder Mahal, John Cena (plus Doctor of Thuganomics attire), John Laurinaitis, Justin Gabriel, Kane, Kevin Nash, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, The Miz, Primo, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, The Rock, R-Truth, Santino Marella, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Ted DiBiase, Triple H, The Undertaker, Wade Barrett, Zack Ryder, AJ Lee, Alicia Fox, Beth Phoenix, Brie Bella, Eve, Kelly Kelly, Kharma, Nikki Bella.

Going about 15 years back in time, the Attitude Era roster includes Big Boss Man, Billy Gunn, Bradshaw (APA), Bret Hart, British Bulldog, Cactus Jack (Mick Foley), Chris Jericho (Y2J), Christian (Edge & Christian), Dude Love (Mick Foley), Eddie Guerrero, Edge (Edge & Christian), Faarooq (APA), The Godfather, Kane, Ken Shamrock, Mankind (Mick Foley), Mark Henry (Nation of Domination), Mike Tyson, Mr. McMahon, "The Big Show" Paul Wight, Road Dogg Jesse James, Road Warrior Animal, Road Warrior Hawk, The Rock, Shane McMahon, Shawn Michaels (D-Generation X), "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Triple H (D-Generation X), Triple H (Hunter Heart Helmsley), The Undertaker (The Lord of Darkness), Vader, X-Pac, Lita (Attitude Era), Stephanie McMahon (The Billion Dollar Princess) and Trish Stratus.

There are some unfortunate absences from that roster, both past and present, but THQ has already announced the downloadable content (DLC) for the game. The Oct. 31 DLC pack is Attitude Era stars like Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty, Grand Master Sexay, Gangrel and Val Venis along with the Accelerator Boost, which enables players to unlock all in-game items as well as customize individual WWE Superstar attributes; the December DLC releases will include Tensai, Ryback, Drew McIntyre, Yoshi Tatsu, AJ Lee and Natalya, Undertakers Ministry attire, and WWE John Cena United States Championship (Word Life), WCW Cruiserweight Championship, WCW World Tag Team Championship, WCW Hardcore Championship, WCW n.W.o. World Heavyweight Championship, WCW United States Championship, ECW Classic World Heavyweight Championship, ECW World Television Championship, ECW World Tag Team Championship, AWA Classic World Heavyweight Championship; the final announced DLC release will be in January and will consist of Damien Sandow, Antonio Cesaro, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Brian Pillman, Chainsaw Charlie and Layla, along with downloadable moves like Brock Lesnar's Kimura Lock, Chris Jericho's Lionsault, Triangle Dropkick, The Hart Lock, Top Rope Super German Suplex, Superkick/Pedigree Combo, Delayed Vertical Suplex Powerslam, Omega Driver, Airplane Spin, Top Rope Brainbuster, Flapjack/Cutter Combo, Small Package Driver, Sleeper Suplex, Brock Lock, Spinning Double Leg Takedown, Fujiwara Armbar, Pin-Up Strong, Lift Single Underhook DDT, Corner Back Elbow Strikes and Half-Nelson Backbreaker, reports IGN