My wrestling fan days are all but over but there was still a frisson of excitement in my bones when WWE 13 loaded up for the first time.
For: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii
Four stars (out of five)
A year after THQ took the game that accompanies professional wrestling's biggest brand in a bold new direction, the developer returns with some shines and tweaks.
Most notable, especially for those of us of a certain age, is the introduction of a new story mode called ''Attitude''.
For the uninitiated, the ''Attitude Era'' refers to a seismic period in wrestling history. Two shows - Raw (WWE) and Nitro (WCW) - were competing on Monday nights. Nitro, backed by Ted Turner's millions and with the great Hulk Hogan on board, started to win the ratings war, and WWE owner Vince McMahon knew he had to do something about it.He made sweeping changes to his organisation, introducing new characters and a new (here's that word again) attitude. In essence, he threw out all the old rules and embraced a heady mix of sex, foul language, rudeness and obnoxiousness. It was dodgy stuff, basically, but the ploy worked. Raw won the war, and WWE eventually bought out WCW.
The new Attitude mode in WWE 13 has dashes of the grubby stuff but do not let that put you off. It's a fun, well paced mode that allows you to recreate some of the era's iconic events.
Challenges within each level provide extra playability, and there are loads and loads of unlockable goodies.
A second major mode - Universe - returns, and allows you to experience month after month of shows and pay-per-views, playing or simulating anything you like.The roster is the biggest yet for a WWE game. Modern stars (CM Punk, John Cena, Kane et al) can be augmented by unlockable classic characters, and variations thereof.
Wrestling games have always been big on customisation and WWE 13 goes HUGE on customisation. More creative types can spend hours upon hours shaping and crafting their dream superstar, complete with belts and finishing moves.
Inside the ring, the game plays much as it did last year. While I still pine for the old control system - up, down, triangle equals the DDT - it is very simple to pull off a huge range of moves. Shame the reversal mechanic is still frustrating, though.
Modern wrestling fans will lap up WWE 13 and find months of gameplay inside. Old-timers like me will forget the responsibilities of adulthood for a while and rediscover our attitude.