Hey, everyone, welcome to the New Year! WOOOOOO! It is 2012 and time for more new games and time for me to make them into game reviews. I decided to spook you all a little and do something different with this year’s first review. I decided to review a sports game! I know, I can hear you all gasping, since out of over 200 reviews, I haven’t really reviewed any sport games. This is mostly my fault for being biased towards these games. The other fault though is that sports games come out year after year after year. They don’t take their time and make something special, they usually do it to make money for the consumers who do enjoy and play sports games. Don’t get me wrong, I love the thrill when you play a football game and you are running down the field and no one is tackling you. I understand why these are popular to some extent, but they don’t really make me want to review them or put the money down for these games. I just want to play a sports game that is over the top and arcade-like, and doesn’t result in a realistic simulation of that specific sport. This is where this first review comes from, WWE: All Stars. Admittedly, the sports games are turning into the Guitar Hero and other music-based franchises, where we are getting kind of tired of seeing them, but WWE: All Stars decided to take a more fun approach, with an odd, but cartoony art style, more arcade style gameplay, and not too simulated like every other sports game out there. Let us see if this game succeeds! This is WWE: All Stars for the PS3 and 360. There really isn’t any story here, and all I could say is that all of the famous wrestlers old and new are in this game, and it’s a fan-serviced game where you can fight Andre the Giant with Rey Mysterio and take him down with your finishing move. Let’s move onto the gameplay then, shall we?
The gameplay, instead of being a tedious wrestling simulator, is more like an arcade wrestling and fighting game. You have your usual wrestling mechanics like pin downs and ringside take downs, but there are some light and heavy fighting moves like punches, kicks, throws, and even special moves that are easy to pull off. In the normal case of each match, you will either need to knock out your opponent or pin him down for 3 seconds. There are special cases, like in the cage match, where you need to knock out your opponent and get out of the cage as fast as you can. In extreme rules, you fight in a normal match, but can use weapons like 2x4’s to add some extra damage. Sometimes, you will be fighting only one opponent, or in make a million viewer episode, forced to fight multiple wrestlers at once. There are other modes, like tag team, where you team up to take down another team of wrestlers. The 3 main campaigns will have you fight the Undertaker, another will have you fight Randy Orton, and the other one has you fight against D-Generation X as the final opponent. A fun feature is the dream match-up fights where you can choose from either one or another wrestler that was paired up for a “dream match” like the Ultimate Warrior vs. Sheamus and they show live footage of both wrestlers, which is pretty cool. There is also online multiplayer with the usual suspects that you can play with offline, like cage match, and or just brawl each other to the ground. There is also a character creator, but due to the kind of silly art style, you won’t be able to truly make a dream wrestler. Either way, there is a lot to do with this wrestling game to keep you going with simple and easy to-get-used-to controls, a good deep combat system, multiple wrestlers old and new, and other things that make this game worth a purchase around the 40 dollar range, or simply for hardcore wrestling fanatics.
The graphics and art style are pretty silly-looking. The art style makes all of the wrestlers sometimes look the same body-wise with their over exaggerated muscle bound bodies. The graphics just get the work done. Don’t expect them to be Castlevania Lords of Shadow or Uncharted 3 good. The licensed music, like in Splatterhouse, really works here as you do get pumped a little when you see yourself go down to the ring and see the other wrestlers you will be going against. It is definitely how wrestling is in real life, over the top and flash-over-substance mixed with fake wrestling. Oh, and I don’t care if I offended you by saying wrestling is fake since it’s somewhat true. There are also some small bits of humor put in, like when in one cut scene, one of the wrestlers advertises his own game to the masses and the other looks at him like an idiot. Either way, they did as good of a job as they could do using the Unreal 3 engine.
However, there are some major faults in this reboot and makeover of the wrestling game genre. There is no god dang training or tutorial mode. This made getting used to the controls and knowing what you can do with the controls really awkward and clunky, making for some unfair and terrible first fights. I mean, I am not saying that I need my hand held, but a proper training or tutorial stage would have worked so much better with this game where you can learn about the controls and techniques you can pull off. I took off a whole point from the score because of this one screw-up. Another major complaint I have is that the AI can be a mixed bag. One fight you are breezing through this fight with no trouble at all and the next fight, you are struggling to get out of harm’s way since you can’t block well or dodge attacks easily. Difficulty should be given to us slowly as we play through the game more and more as we get to the end and not just random spikes in difficulty. It is the same problem with games like Virtual On Marz where in one fight, I am having a huge issue with taking down two opponents, and then after a couple of times fighting the same fight over and over, the AI just got dumb and I got lucky. The next few complaints are just minor, but do add up. The cage match is tedious since it isn’t just taking down your opponent, but you also need to get out of the cage and do a timed button press to get out successfully. That is tedious and not needed. The other is that the Unreal 3 engine is showing its age and in the character creator, everything looks blocky, but that could easily be the art style that makes everything blocky.
Overall, for the first major sports game to be on my list of reviews, this one is pretty good. Maybe the future of wrestling games and or sports games can learn from this little experiment. I have wished for years that sports games be more than just simulation games of that specific sport. While this game does have some minor flaws that keep it from being perfect, I could still recommend this to anyone who is looking to get into wrestling or sport games. Hope you all are having a great beginning of the year and hope you all come back for more.
This game gets a 7 out of 10