Doing more than simply dropping the SmackDown vs. RAW moniker that has prefaced the last run of WWE games since 2004, WWE '12 aims to refresh the long-running wrestling series' recent stale leanings with redesigned gameplay and an all-new game engine. While it still packs a massive roster and is brimming with all of the over-the-top macho bombast and ridiculous braggadocio hardcore wrestling fans love, not all of the updates are for the better. It's easier to jump right into the ring and start hammering away at meaty dudes with vigor, but overaggressive AI and a near-broken attack counter system sap the fun. Unfortunately, other problems add to the pile, making it tough to enjoy the game's authentic trappings.
WWE '12 mirrors the energetic spectacle and cheesy swagger of the television programming it's based on with admirable gusto. Outside of the ring, there are plenty of flashy, grand entrances and throngs of cheering fans eager to see endless combinations of the game's huge selection of wrestling combatants bludgeon one another in style. When it comes to the matches themselves, the action is fast-paced and intense. The game's overhauled engine showcases a nice level of detail in the character models, and the animations are more fluid this time around when transitioning between attacks and reversals, but it's still rough around the edges in spots. Collision detection is off at times, and some transitions are a little too fluid.