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Review – WWE All-Stars | Level Up News - Part 2

Review – WWE All-Stars


The 30-man roster in the game is split up into two groups:  Superstars and Legends.  Each group contains 15 wrestlers, 10 from each side are unlocked when you first put the game in.  Wrestlers are also defined as one of four classes in the game:  Big Man, Grappler, Acrobat or Brawler.  Big Men are exactly what they sound like, huge wrestlers that use their size to their advantage and can send a wrestler soaring out of the ring with one swift kick, but come with the sacrifice of not being able to move quickly or perform certain aerial feats.  Grapplers can use their technical wrestling ability to chain attacks and grapples together to unleash huge amounts of damage on their opponents, even though their strikes are the weakest of the four classes in the game.  Acrobats use their speed and agility to leap off of the ropes and catch their opponents with magnificent feats of aerial prowess to deal damage, but the cost of having that ability is not being able to take very much damage during a match.  Brawlers are probably the most balanced class in the game, having the ability to chain together powerful and unblockable strike attacks during the course of a match.

One of the main modes in the game is called “Fantasy Warfare”.  In this mode, there are fifteen matchups that pit the Superstars and the Legends against each other.  By completing these matches, you have the opportunity to unlock wrestlers and arena to play in exhibition matches.  Before each of these matches, you get to see a build-up teaser.  These trailers are done much like those you see to hype big matches on WWE pay-per-views.  One of these trailers, promoting a match between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and CM Punk, stuck with me the most.  In a match billed to see which wrestler lives the “superior lifestyle”, the trailer made me believe that the buildup trailer was a real-life main event with it appearing like both wrestlers were trading barbs with each other.  It’s a really nice touch done by the production team of the WWE team to really make it feel like you’re deciding the outcome of some of the biggest dream matches in WWE history.

The other main mode of WWE All-Stars is dubbed “Path of Champions”.  This mode pits you in ten matches against other wrestlers or tag teams in a classic arcade ladder style.  You have three choices in ladders for this mode:  Taking on the WWE Legends and facing The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship, taking on the WWE Superstars and facing Randy Orton for the WWE Championship, or taking on teams of both Superstars and Legends and facing D-Generation X for the World Tag Team Championship.  Each of these paths include game-rendered cutscenes with the featured wrestler or wrestlers of each ladder, taunting and teasing you as you progress.

WWE All-Stars also includes online multiplayer for up to four players.  All of the match types are available for play online with any of the wrestlers that you have unlocked through the single player modes of the game.  And for the most part, the online component works pretty well.  You’re able to check out what games are available in either Player or Ranked Matches, determine whether created wrestlers are allowed in matches and how many private slots you want for matches.

The graphical style of WWE All-Stars sports heavily exaggerated character models that are bulked out beyond belief.  In any other game, it would look weird.  But given the arcade nature and over-the-top moves, it fits perfectly with the game.  The arenas and surroundings do the job for a wrestling game, nothing spectacular on that end.

What’s Not: Usually a staple of the recent WWE games, WWE All-Stars has a pretty lackluster Create-A-Wrestler mode.  The character customization in itself isn’t nearly as in-depth as the Smackdown VS. Raw series.  I’m not talking just in the physical customization, either.  Your moveset options are severely limited to selecting a wrestler’s moveset and a finisher.  That’s it.  You also have to adopt the class of the wrestler’s moveset that you select.  This might be a big bummer to those who enjoy taking full advantage of the CAW mode in other WWE games.

The audio department certainly lacks in a few spots.  The entrance themes are there, but the game’s commentary can be a bit painful to listen to.  A general lack of emotion by the announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler makes it feel as if they got themselves into a studio begrudgingly and hammered the session out in a day.  Heck, there were even times during the game that they were calling the wrong wrestler’s name.  I’m not talking about mixing up who was on offense, they were calling out wrestlers that weren’t even in the match!

While the online component is fun, I have a few nitpicks to address.  While each session tells you how many players are supported, you never know if the allotted amount of players has been reached until you try to join.  This often leads in the game telling you that the session no longer exists and having to reselect a new session.  Also, an online game will end if anyone drops out or quits during the session.  It doesn’t even have to be the host, either.  One drop ends the whole match.

One last, but pretty important, nitpick for the game is loading times.  Even with the game installed to the hard drive, loading times for WWE All-Stars were pretty slow.  The worst loading example I can give is when I was playing a Fatal Four Way online with four created wrestlers.  I can honestly say that it took a full minute or more to go from loading the game to getting into the ring.  It even takes quite a bit of time to load created wrestlers when waiting inside the lobby, as it appears that the game downloads the character data while waiting for the game to launch.  It’s not as bad if you select from the game’s roster, but even then it has its moments.

The Bottom Line: If you couldn’t tell, there was a lot that I loved about WWE All-Stars. Truth be told, this is the first wrestling game that I’ve been regularly coming back to in about five years.  The action is fast-paced and intense and will satisfy not only fans of wrestling games, but also fans of fighting games.  THQ San Diego did a brilliant job in making a wrestling game that’s fun to play alone or with others.  In fact, I’ll even make a bold statement:  This is probably one of the best multiplayer wrestling games to hit the market since No Mercy. That’s just how much more fun the game is when you play it online or with friends.  Wrestling fans should not hesitate at all in checking out WWE All-Stars.  You could even say that this game is, in the words of the Miz:


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