Ever since 2004, the WWE franchise has slowly taken the realistic design route instead of the arcade style that the franchise was known for. Now we come to WWE All-Stars and it seems as if the franchise has made a departure from the sim style gameplay and is looking to THQ to make an over the top arcade style wrestling game. Instead of the usual grappling and submission style gameplay, All Stars uses an addicting simple control scheme to put you in the center of the mayhem. With an awesome roster of classic WWE superstars, and today’s biggest names in wrestling, WWE All-Stars looks to breathe fresh life into the wrestling genre.
For the first time ever wrestling fans can put dream matches together with wrestlers from different eras. WWE All-Stars’ main focus is Fantasy Warfare. This mode puts classic wrestlers from the early generation of WWE such as Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and Stone Cold Steve Austin against today’s hottest wrestling stars like John Cena, The Miz, and Rey Mysterio. Fantasy Warfare is simply a what if scenario and matches a current star with a classic superstar for a dream match that could never take place. Each match has a very cleverly designed video montage that wrestling fans will be get a kick out of. The design of the montages are extremely well done and make every match truly exciting. Anybody that is a fan of wrestling will immediately feel the excitement of these dream matches.
The other main game type is a simple “championship” mode. You choose a superstar and take him through 10 matches until you get to the big dog with the championship title. One tier features The Undertaker as the WWE champion. Defeat him and you will become the new champion. It’s a very simple gametype, but it’s expected with the arcade style gameplay.
Match types come in a few variations. You have you standard singles, tag team, triple threat, and Fatal 4 Way matches but specialty type matches are extremely limited. For hardcore wrestling fans the limited number of match types is upsetting. The extremely popular Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber matches are nowhere to be seen. As a wrestling fan I have to say I was let down by the lack of specialty type matches that were made available here.
As expected, create a wrestler is in WWE All-Stars but sadly it’s a disappointment. Creating a Superstar merely consists of the most basic options and you have almost no control over the move set of your character. You are forced to use preset move lists of already created Superstars, even for your entrance. You can have a little bit of fun with the mode if you make an absolutely ridiculous looking character but still, your fun will be short lived.
Visually, the game looks absolutely ridiculous and amazing at the same time. Each wrestler looks like an extremely bulky action figure, but the amount of detail is great, especially on wrestler’s faces. Each move is extremely smooth. The hit detection is also spot on which is much appreciated since this has always been an issue in WWE games. On the down side though, the entrances of the superstars are extremely short, and don’t capture the full effect. The crowds’ visual attributes are also pretty crummy as they literally don’t have faces.
When you first pick up WWE All-Stars one of two things is going to happen. You may feel right at home if you have played wrestling games through the years, or you might stare at the screen in pure confusion as wrestlers will literally back flip onto the turner buckle. All-Stars is completely over the top, and it’s awesome at all times. Signature and finisher moves defy the laws of gravity by hurling your opponent across the ring. Every mind blowing move looks awesome and painful, making the over the top style ever better. The sound of cracking bones only adds to effect, and gives every blow real satisfaction. Half the fun of All-Stars is seeing how your favorite wrestler’s finisher move looks when there are no limits as to what they can do. It reminds me of trying to perform all of the fatalities in Mortal Kombat. You just want to see what crazy things the developers have created.
Controlling your superstar is very different from previous WWE games. Usually you want to wear your opponent down and build up enough momentum to use your finisher for the pin. In All Stars your goal is simple. Beat your opponent down until you use your finisher for the KO. Each Superstar has only 8-12 grapples, 4 signature moves (for most of the wrestlers), and 1 unique finisher. Simply press the A button for a weak grapple, followed by 1 of the 4 face buttons to execute your move, and it’s the same for the B button which is a strong grapple. Hit X and A, or B and Y for your signature moves. Finally press LB and RB to perform your finisher. It’s an extremely easy and effective control scheme that anybody can pick up in no time.
WWE All-Stars is a great departure from the usual WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw games that gamers have received for the past decade. The All Star roster and easy control scheme make the game extremely fun and accessible for all ages. The poor selection of match types, and the downright awful create a character are a little shocking considering the amount of polish the rest of the game has, but if you are a fan of wrestling, Fantasy Warfare will make you smile from ear to ear. Anybody can have a good time with WWE All-Stars, and it’s a great title to just sit back with and enjoy the experience.
- Fantasy Warfare is simply brilliant
- Easy to pick up and get into right away
- Wrestlers look great
- Poor selection of match types
- Create a wrestler is shockingly bad
- While most of the game is quite polished, some visuals are pretty ugly.
WWE All-Stars was released on the XBOX 360 and PS3 on March 29th, 2011. This review was done on the XBOX 360 version.