WWE All Stars Review

By on April 14, 2011

A great brawler despite a few flaws.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

I remember watching wrestling matches on TV and how I would sit glued to the screen as soon as I popped the VHS in (remember VHS?). The magic of the ringside action, the cheering fans, and the flamboyant wrestler entrances made the entire event a worthy spectacle to watch. Of course wrestling has undergone a number of changes since then, but it’s still a lot of fun to watch these incredible athletes in action. On the gaming front, we’ve had a fair share of wrestling games come our way, and THQ has always faithfully provided wrestling fans with some great titles. Their latest release is WWE All Stars, and despite some flaws that need to be addressed, it’s a fun game that will appeal to most if not all wrestling fans.

The difference with WWE All Stars is that it’s not designed to be your typical wrestling game. Instead, the game features some of the most over-the-top presentation and moves that you can imagine. Wrestlers jump ten feet in the air with ease, hurl opponents over their heads with one hand, and fly around the ring like they’re on a trapeze. Even if it isn’t the most serious wrestling game, you’re bound to get some serious kicks out of it.

There are several game modes to choose from, with one of them called the Path of Champions. This mode lets you play a series of matches that lead up to either The Undertaker, Randy Orton, or a tag-team match against D-X. Each path has a good amount of gameplay to it so it’s actually worth it when you come up against your final opponent. There’s also the standard Exhibition mode, where you can wrestle against one opponent or two in a tag-team match, and the classic steel cage match where the task of climbing to the top of the cage boils down to some well timed button presses.

But the centerstage of the game is of course the wrestlers, and the fantastic roster of talent is enough to whet any fan’s appetite. A mix of wrestling legends such as Ultimate Warrior, Macho Man, Hulk Hogan, and Andre the Giant make their stance among wrestling talent from the current generation. Furthermore, the wrestlers are divided into four types; Brawler, Grapplers, High Flyers, and Big Men. Each type has unique moves and combos, and mastering their unique strengths is the key to staying in the ring. For example, Brawlers inflict massive damage in the ring, but are slow to move around or topple over, while High Flyers pull off acrobatic feats but are vulnerable to heavy attacks.

The controls are quite easy to pick up and learn, and though the game doesn’t feature a proper tutorial there are useful control tips that flash up throughout your matches. Your moves vary between attacks and grapples, and combining the two successfully can easily knock the wind out of your opponent. Each wrestler can also pull off a signature attack that relies on an attack meter – these range from a simple high-flying slam to a charging uppercut that knocks your opponent out of the ring. These attacks are great fun to pull off, and your wrestler enters into a slow-motion attack while they are being executed, with a finishing move that sends shockwaves into the ring. You also have the option to reverse some of your opponents holds and attacks by tapping the L1 button at the right time, but this can be quite difficult at time. Madly tapping the L1 button will certainly lead to a fail, so it’s all about precise timing here.

Visually the game looks quite good, despite the beefed-up character models used for each wrestler. Despite their size, they still handle very well and move smoothly around the ring. Although I have to say that Andre the Giant’s character model probably has the world’s worst case of ‘camel toe’ I have ever seen – just saying. The game also features a ‘Create a Wrestler’ option, to customize your own athlete. Sadly though, most of the character tweaks are cosmetic, as you can only choose moves and finishers from the existing roster of characters. The audio in the game is also spot on, with some appropriate (and slightly repetitive) commentary being broadcast as your fight around the ring. The only major gripe I had about the game is the ridiculous load times. Even with a pre-game install the game still took its time loading the various stages. There was even a loading screen after all the wrestlers had been introduced for a match, which made things feel quite frustrating.

In the end, is WWE All Stars a wrestling game worth playing? I certainly think it is – with a colorful roster of talent and plenty of game modes to choose from, it’s a game that both veterans and newcomers alike can pick up and enjoy. While its load times does dampen the fun, it’s well-polished style and execution make up for its shortcomings.

The Scorecard
There’s great fun to be had pitting wrestling legends against each other in a battle of pure brawn.
The over-styled characters tie in well with the game’s presentation, though wrestler entrances should have been longer.
Good ringside commentary that varies with the action.
Strong mix of game modes and online play will certainly keep you busy.
Great wrestling action that is dampened by annoying load times.
A great wrestling game that delivers a unique spin on a time-tested sport,


A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

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