I like wrestling but there is just something lacking in the current generation when compared to the greats of the 80′s and 90′s, they just don’t have the insane personalities and seem more like adverts for the marines. The same goes for the games, THQ have released Smackdown games year after year, offering the current fans up to date line ups and realistic moves and graphics but this time around they are mixing up the old with the new.
Rehashes have been attempted in the past with the likes of WWE Legends of WrestleMania, but let’s just ignore that as this ticks all the right boxes for an original and fun wrestling game. Those who have played with Smackdown games over the years will be in for a surprise as this is a like more an arcade brawler than the more technical titles of the past.
WWE is just stacked with modes and play types, yes they all boil down to a few men beating the snot out of each other but at least you can do it in style. The Exhibition mode is your quick play, allowing you to get a sample of what the rest of the game has on offer from 1vs1, triple threat, fatal four-way or a steel cage match. All the modes have very lax rules, allowing you to pin anywhere and use numerous weapons that you may find hidden under the ring without too severe a punishment. This relaxed style also is apparent in the tag team fights, with only Tornado Tag matches available, which is two vs two in the ring at the same time.
The Path of Champions mode has you making your way through ten fights based on games found in the Exhibition mode to one of three main events, each one with their own little story and cut scenes like Paul Bearer wobbling his jewels as he presents the Undertaker in the build up to Summerslam; a challenge from Randy Orton and a chance at the tag team championship as you make your way to a final fight with D-Generation X’s Shawn Michaels and Triple H.
Want to see a Big Show vs Andre the Giant or Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs Kofi Kingston? Then Fantasy Warfare is the mode for you and is also the highlight of the game, where you get to take part in some great – what if – fights, each one with a full video intro sequence hyping and detailing the history of each fighter, almost like its the real deal before a Wrestlemania main event.
Create a superstar makes a welcome return, allowing you to either adjust a current star or create a brand new wrestler to take on all comers, new and old. The options and selections here are nowhere near as in depth as previous WWE games but are good enough to make some decent characters based on the unlocked fighters styles, move sets and entrances.
Finally you have a reasonable online mode, allowing you and your fighters to take part in any of the events available in the Exhibition mode. The games are basic and again, not as in depth as previous titles.
WWE All Stars moves away from the realism of the Smackdown games and offers some very original styles akin to a caricature drawing you may get for £10 down the sea-side, with each wrestler being bulked up beyond recognition, with extra muscles all over their bodies and an even longer chin for Edge. With the exaggerated looks and personalities comes even bigger moves, even in the prime of his career Hulk Hogan was a little slow, now he can leap ten feet in the air to land a sonic boom inducing leg drop, it’s all very tongue in cheek but it really works. All moves are very easy to pull off, with simple light and heavy attacks, grapples mixed with special moves and even easy to pull off finishers, which means anyone can enjoy the action. The main stumbling point is in the counter system, with only a split second icon appearing when to press you will find yourself taking damage more often than actually blocking and countering with your own moves.
The game does come across as a little short and is focused more on the main big names and solo fighters, so here is hoping next time for personal faves like Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and also more tag action with Legion of Doom, Nasty Boys, The Rockers and The Bushwhackers.
WWE All Stars does manage to achieve an air of nostalgia and therefore takes you back to the WWE glory days. If you are a wrestling fans then it’s definitely time for you to dust off your big foam Hulkamania hand and grab a copy of WWE All Stars and that’s the bottom line.
You can purchase your copy of WWE All Stars here (PS3) and here (Xbox 360).