WWE All Stars is one of my favorite games so far this year. It brings together the old and the new when it comes to wrestling, and offers a great variety for players of all ages and skill levels. Best of all, it doesn�t focus on the negativity that a lot of the wrestlers portray. There is no scantily clad lingerie match (although that will be missed�), or hardcore trash talking. This is a game that you can play with your children, and let your children play, without fear of them picking up bad habits outside of, well, wrestling.
The audio and visual presentation fo the game is superb, if not a bit over the top. Yes, the wrestlers all look like they are plasticized and pumped full of steroids. They look almost cartoonish and out of proportion. I�m okay with this. It�s a wrestling game, it�s supposed to feel a little goofy. The sounds are fantastic, and while there is a lot of yelling, grunting and more there is nothing too awkward.
Gameplay is more fluid then I could have ever expected. I was easily pulling off moves and combos like a pro. In grappling situations, you can easily go from move to move, especially if you are a grappler. Running out of the ring is easy, as was getting on top of the ring for high flying moves. Special moves, executed off of a special charge bar, were easy to pull off, flashy and over the top. Just like they should be. My favorite part of the special moves, however, was the ability to pre-charge them. When you use a special move in this game, there is a small window of charge time in there where your opponent can escape or interrupt you. But, you can pre-load your special when your opponent is either down or trying to escape. Then the next time you hit the button combination (Extremely easy) it executes automatically.
All bars on the screen are easy to read, and standard health and charge bars. Winning a match is as simply as knocking your opponent out then pinning them. The game is challenging without being cheesy, and you only feel cheated in the multi-opponent matches where they gang up on you. Overall, not that bad of an experience.
The different modes of play given offer enough variety to have fun. Create-a-Wrestler has been reviewed to death, so i am not going to delve into that here. All the standard gameplay modes (Cage Match, Tag-Team, Elimination, etc) are all pretty good. The two I enjoyed the most were Path of Champions and Fantasy Warfare.
Path of Champions is a mode that pits you against 10 matches, leading up to a mega-match with one of the top opponents (Orton, the Undertaker, D-Generation X). Matches can be Triple Threats, Tag Team, or regular old one-fall one out matches. The difficulty ramps up as you go through, but it is not a massive shift. If you are looking at sitting down and playing an arcade-like experience, this is a great equivalent to a ladder mode. The �cutscenes� were a little cheesy, but that�s all part of the fun of wrestling, right?
Fantasy Warfare is by far my favorite part of the game. In Fantasy Warfare, you take control of one wrestler in a specific match up to determine who is �the best� or �the most� in various categories. For example, is the Greatest Warrior Sheamus or the Ultimate Warrior? Who was the coldest snake, Randy Orton or Jake the Snake Roberts? Biggest Man, Andre the GIant or the Big Show? Quick, easy, one and done matches that pit a legend versus a current all-star.
The best part of these matches, though, were the cutscene videos. There were well-produce live-action clips about 2 minutes in length that gave a short history of each wrestler, and why they deserve to have the title in the match. The high caliber of these clips is amazing coming from a video game, and only works to involve the player into the �story� of the wrestlers more, even if you have no idea who half of these people are.
Nothing but praise to this point, but time to point out the flaws that drop the score to a 4.
Loading times were a hassle in this game. Every time it switched screens, or played a new introduction, and even between matches in Path of Champions, there was 30-45 seconds of loading time. Not something that I really wanted to experience, especially because there are only little tips to help you bide the time.
The multiplayer experience over Xbox Live was horrible. This mostly had to do with the people playing the game when I did, but still. Things could have been done to make the experience better. Players dropping out of matches when they were losing, people who would do nothing but run away, or those rare gems who would have that perfect combination of skills and knowledge to make sure you couldn�t move for the entire match.
And� that�s all of the negatives. Really. I truly enjoyed the experience that WWE All Stars had to give.
4 Stars. But I still refuse to watch Wrestling. This review and more can be found at my website, NoWorriesGaming.com!
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