WWE All-Stars – Don’t try this at home
So we come to the end of my next-gen WWE game blogs. But hold on, those who have actually read these up to now might be thinking ‘what about WWE Legends of Wrestlemania?’ Well, as far from perfect as these games are, that particularly is totally forgettable, but it my belief that the ‘idea’ that game was trying to execute is what led into WWE All-Stars, the latest WWE game on the market. Until the yearly WWE update game is out anyway.
With a roster complete with some of today’s greats (some not so), and yesterday’s legends, there is a good mixture of old and new WWE favourites. They have even managed to secure Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior for the game, although both are not on the best terms with their former employers in the real world.
The game itself, then, is a much more arcade-like effort than the Smackdown Vs Raw series, much like Legends of Wrestlemania tried to be, but actually turns out to be more in the vein of Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game by Midway, for those than can remember that far back. It is certainly an altogether different experience to the SVR series, with more reliance on combos, coupled with spectacular-looking, over the top grapple moves which suit the character design perfectly. This time, you see, instead of opting for realism, the superstars/legends in the game look like cartoony action figures, with ridiculously-sized muscles and expressions. It adds to this new wrestling experience very well.
There are two attack buttons, X/Square and Y/Triangle which are light and heavy attack respectively, and two grapple buttons, A/Cross and B/Circle, which are light and strong grapple respectively. This system is quite refreshing in comparison to the SVR series’ every increasingly complicated control system, but it’s not quite perfect. My only grievance is no matter what the control system is, THQ have never quite got it to execute to the gamers’ reactions. The counter button (LB/RB for strikes/grapples) is used when attacked to, as it says, counter the attack. A quick pop-up prompt under your character’s HUD will appear to assist with the timing required to execute the appropriate counter. However, sometimes this prompt is correct, but often it is in fact before the prompt is on screen at all, albeit only milliseconds, that the counter button needs to be pressed, resulting in an attack on your character. All the various moves in the game have different counter points, so can get very frustrating.
There is a create –a – wrestler mode in here too, but is much more basic than the detail SVR now provides.
The one mode I really enjoyed was Fantasy Warfare. Each match is a one on one match, pitting legends against superstars who are either a clash of personalities, or just fantasy rival matches. Each one is accompanied with an excellent, narrative intro movie made up of actual WWE footage, edited as if they were rivals today. For example, Stone Cold Steve Austin, known for his beer drinking, against CM Punk, whose whole life philosophy is the ‘Straight Edge’ lifestyle. This mode is where most of the extra characters are unlocked, if you win the matches with them.
The other main addition is Path of Champions mode. There are three paths with three goals; Defeat the Undertaker, become the WWF champion, or become the tag team champions. Each path consists of ten matches, interspersed with cut-scenes that build to the final of each path. This is where the biggest achievements/trophies are earned.
On the whole, the game is very fun to play, even against the AI, which can be quite challenging, even on the lowest difficulty settings, which completely opposite to the SVR series also. The biggest challenge, ultimately though, is perseverance; it is a very simple game that relies on the franchise it was built for. Even though I count as that audience, being a WWE fan for a number of years, even I have grown tired of the game, only after a couple of weeks. Only the achievements and un-lockable characters will (eventually) bring me back to it.
There, I’m done. Six WWE games, six blogs. For those that have read them, thank you, I hope you have enjoyed them. On the whole I may appear to be picky, but unfortunately it is the simple things that are still need rectifying in these games, such as the counters in All-Stars, to how easy the Smackdown vs. Raw series AI is. But, even with these problems, there is a lot of fun to be had here. If you’ve never touched a WWE game before, I recommend both SVR 2011 and All-Stars. There are like the FIFA series; no one cares about the previous year’s game once the update is out, as they do (marginally) improve each time. So until WWE 2012 (official title), TTFN!