The User Friendly Review of Total Extreme Wrestling 2013

The Total Extreme Wrestling series is a well-known collection of wrestling simulator games amongst longtime member of the often derided, yet passionate Internet Wrestling Community.  Adam Ryland released what is now known as Extreme Warfare 1 during the days of 14.4k modems in 1995.  He continued with Extreme Warfare 2, which lead to updates taking the series to Extreme Warfare 9000.  During this time, Ryland had a competitor in the now almost forgotten Promotion Wars from Adam Jennings.  With the failure of Promotion Wars 2, fans didn’t have to wait too long for the much anticipated Extreme Warfare Revenge, which was released in 2002.

To this day, EWR has a large following, with monthly updates being released by its longtime fans that prefer it to the complexities brought on by its successors.  In recent years, Ryland’s TEW2005 has become freeware.  However, TEW2005 is barbaric and less user friendly than TEW2013, which is none too surprising.  Total Extreme Wrestling was released on December 16, 2012 and features a much more realistic game world, a streamlined user interface and an improved editor for the sake of the rich modding community.

 A Living, Breathing World

From my experiences with the game, the most apparent change in making the game more realistic is declining attributes of older workers.  In TEW2013, you can’t ride a main eventer into his late 50s.  Instead, once a terminal decline sets in, it is time to send that worker into the background, or part ways with them.  This is a big advancement in my eyes, and gives regional promotions the ability to sign aging stars, while making the need for new stars paramount.  Included is the ability to ask a worker to hold off their retirement.

A feature new to the game is the ability to control a regular character as your own avatar.  Using the fictional database that comes with the game, you can now control the legendary wrestler and owner of Total Championship Wrestling Tommy Cornell as he battles the Supreme Wrestling Federation.  But, Cornell will need to be careful to keep the backstage morale high, as your troublemakers cause more problems based upon their push on the card.  Acting as Mr. Cornell, you’ll also now be able to look in on the competition to find out which storylines are to be featured in the SWF.  In order to battle at a national level, teaming up with promotions around the globe and bringing in fresh talent for short spells is an expensive, yet practical option.

TEWUserCharacter

Based Tommy Cornell

For certain workers, they choose to pass on their knowledge to a protégé, who will wrestle as their direct descendent.  This helps flesh out the game world in countries like Japan and Mexico.  However, if the economies of these lands prove to not be as lucrative as others, wrestlers may become available to work in new regions.  An insignificant, yet welcome touch of detail is the use of AI created benefit shows that honor the workers that suffer untimely deaths before their time.

To curb the problem of larger companies building up giant stockpiles of extra, unused cash, those companies now have to pay taxes on their takings.  Workers can also be encouraged to lose or gain weight, resulting in bonuses or penalties depending on whether they get into better shape or let themselves go.

One of the biggest additions for mod makers are the ability to create alliances between companies where they can easily loan wrestlers back and forth and share popularity and earnings.  Unfortuntely, there is no option to have an alliance champion that travels around the territories to defend the championship.  One disclaimer to put out there is that the game world is a much more interesting place with player involvement and imagination, as it has always been.

TEW13Alliances

 Joining an alliance is an easy way to ensure a good monthly main event.

Streamlined

Arguably the biggest obstacle in attracting those who still play EWR toward TEW 2013 is that…there’s a lot of clicking involved.  Rest assured, there is still a lot of clicking to accomplish in order to play TEW 2013, but many trips around the game screens have been shortened in a variety of ways.

Your office screen now has buttons that take you to all pertinent areas of your company’s business.  House shows are automated, and after patches, work intelligently.  Unchained, free storylines keep you from double and triple checking that the correct workers are in the correct role for the angle or match.   When in the show screen, generous overruns are allowed for TV shows and major events.

 TEW13Office

Look at all of those buttons!  No really, I’ll wait…

Something not seen since EWR is a useful assistant booker that can fill up show time that you may not care about.  I wouldn’t say that is a game changer, personally, as I like to have a hand in the development of most of the card and not just main eventers and upper midcarders.

TEW13AssistantBooker

C’mon, give this game a try!

When shopping for a new worker, each worker’s page comes with easy to navigate tabs that will show you all relevant information without opening their entire profile.  After hiring these workers, finding out their availability is as easy as checking your promotion calendar, located on the office screen.  Offering contracts is a snap, where now the user doesn’t need to wait four to five days to find out if the wrestler will merely talk with them about a contract.  You go straight to the negotiations, with no delays.

TEW13ContractNegotiations

Oh yeah, sign this guy…

Baby, You Got a Stew Goin’!

What is truly special about the TEW series is the attention paid to modifications by its community, so much so that I needed to reference Arrested Development.

Thanks to the creative and diligent modification community, hours of extra content is available free of charge.  Of course, modern real mods are prevalent, as are the painstaking work put into historical mods, and even fully fleshed out, standalone universes created by the members of TEW’s message boards.  This passionate work put it in makes the $34.95 price tag an even more sound investment.

Along with the big, engrossing mods, the community works to reimagine worker avatars and even give them new personas to play with.  If the default skin of the game menu becomes a bit too much, skins are also available to download.  In my opinion, the best website to find these mods, outside of message board threads would be EW Warehouse.

For myself, I’m not a big fan of real world mods, as the makers can’t hope to create perfect profiles for all of the workers.  For instance, Daniel Bryan being considered a flaky professional, and therefore more prone to missing shows without notice, is troubling.  And there’s always going to be dissenting opinions on the attributes of workers…and relationship issues.

TEWPunk

I took exception to a few omissions.

Downsides

Unfortunately, Total Extreme Wrestling is not a perfect, as it can never be.  A steep learning curve comes with this game, which means that it takes time to take advantage of the improved ease of access the game provides.  With larger companies, it is not encouraged to leave the game alone for more than a week or so at a time, as you’ll be left scratching your head on just what you were doing with that globally known company of yours.  They can be turned off, which goes without saying, but often the goals that your owner will give you are just impractical.  Once again, they can be turned off during the game.

TEW13UserPreferences

Clicking just a few of these boxes is a good way to get that EWR experience.

While a month of game time with the demo found here can be a great way to understand the inner workings of the game, a second month would be a great way to show prospective buyers the rewards from working through an entire storyline to help a worker rise up the card.

 TEW2013 And Longevity

With a large gap between the 2010 edition and 2013, it’s hard to predict if and when this series will continue.  Still, TEW2013 and its Cornellverse will satisfy and help your imagination run wild once you become immersed into it.  Graphically, the game will never strive, although community efforts to give the game a glossier finish can’t go unnoticed.  TEW2013 will satisfy for years to come.  I do ask people looking to try to get into the series to try out the new demo instead of writing off this game due to the growing pains found in the free 2005 edition.

 

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