WWE All Stars

WWE All Stars

Platform: PS3/ Xbox360
Genre: Sports/wrestling
Developer/Publisher: THQ
Release: 01/04/2011

Mixing the old with the new; is a formula that fans of WWE have been calling out for. Finally, in WWE Allstars THQ offers us just that. Anyone who knows what wrestling is will know what the format is for this game; oversized men beat the living hell out of each other, in order to achieve some sort of sense of self worth.

each of these moves launches the opponent into the air, slamming them down whilst spraying out colourful shapes and shockwaves

I’m only joking of course, I have a lot of respect for the franchise and for the profession; I’m just saying that not much more can be done with this game idea, apart from updating the roster once or twice more. WWE All stars proves me wrong, but ultimately frustrates me to the point of tears.

Shake on it?

All stars brings WWE stars of old and matches them against the current meatheads of today. This brings me to the most enticing feature of the game, the impressive ensemble. The Rock, Macho Man Randy Savage, The undertaker, John Cena, Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero; these are just a few of the 30 fighters you can choose from, and you can guarantee there will be some downloadable content before long. All of the fighters are presented in a larger-than-life way, with oversized chests and arms; akin to Johnny Bravo, the old cartoon network show. The over-the-top feel doesn’t end there, this game feeds off exactly that, and pulls it off spectacularly. Each character has his own individual set of moves, including two or three power moves and one special attack; each of these moves launches the opponent into the air, slamming them down whilst spraying out colourful shapes and shockwaves. The ludicrous effects and over-the-top physics are the two best aspects of the game, and the clean cut visuals add to the appeal.

There are a few modes to choose from, all of which are variants on the standard character VS character model. Cage matches, one on one’s, hardcore matches and elimination rounds are the flavour of the day. THQ have left out the usual campaign mode, and have instead included the excellent Fantasy Warfare; in this mode you get to take part in dream feuds, pitting old wrestlers against new. The real clincher is the mock-up video’s they have constructed, creating an interesting montage to make it seem as if there is a real rivalry at play.

Chokeslam anti-gravity style

The arcade-style game playlets you jump in elbows first, and is designed to be easy to pick up. Because of this, there is little to no training given; you just have to learn as you go. This is all well and good in theory, however, in execution it doesn’t quite work as well as it should. At first, throwing my opponents around the ring, watching them spiral across the screen was completely satisfying; however once that initial excitement subsides, you desire to actually gain some sort of skill at the game. The mechanics don’t allow for this, or not very quickly anyway; the learning curve in all of the modes becomes very steep, and finding out after a few hours of play that you have missed a whole moves set (because you weren’t taught how to do it), is a strangely unnerving experience. For a game that wants you to just jump in and play at any point, they certainly made it difficult to win. All stars takes far too much skill to be a completely satisfying ‘jump in and play’ game; but in its effort to become just that it’s missed out on a few key aspects that make a wrestling game immersive and entertaining. The controls at first seem fun and easy, but just like the movement of the superstars; they eventually prove quite clunky and awkward. The addition of a create-a-superstar mode is applauded, but also very limited and tiresome.

The fancy dress party got a bit out of control

WWE All stars is a great way to spend a few hours with your friends, pummelling each other’s faces and launching each other into gravity defying spins before placing your spine neatly onto their knees. However, there’s only so much of Jerry the King Lawlor’s inane (and often confused) ringside banter that you can take before wanting to perform a choke-slam on your console; so after a few hours you will find yourself struggling to continue, as you try to work out the simple yet endlessly irritating climb out of the cage game mechanic or the even less rewarding reversal system.

With all this said, it is a good call back to the wrestling games of old; the lineup is brilliant and you will have a good time sitting down to it with a few friends.

Verdict: 6/10

Female First Edward Lewis

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