Preview: WWE All Stars Hands-On
It is about time a game like this has finally been made. WWE wrestling is all about being over-the-top, and WWE All-Stars takes away the limitations of real life and finally gives us something we can’t possibly see on WWE television. As a person who plays videogames and keeps up with wrestling, it is unfortunate that I haven’t played WWE videogames for a number of years now. Ever since WWE titles began being developed by Yuke’s instead of AKI, wrestling games were never quite the same for me. I know that the WWE SmackDown vs. Raw games are quality titles, but what I needed was something refreshing. I thought 2009’s WWE Legends of WrestleMania would do the trick, but it still didn’t quite do it.
WWE All Stars has arrived and it’s the title, I believe, wrestling fans have been patiently waiting for. If you haven’t been keeping with the idea behind WWE All Stars, it’s a game that over exaggerates everything from superstar appearances to signature moves. Every superstar is in the best shape of their lives and better. Just imagine adding about 30% body mass to each superstar, and what you get is how each superstar looks in this game. It’s not about photorealism or accurately portraying what we see on television. It’s simply ridiculous, and right off the bat you know that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously.
What I played of WWE All Stars had a limited roster and featured only 1 vs. 1 matches. After selecting superstars, they made their way to the ring with less than average ring entrances. All the superstars are shown coming into the arena and making their way to the ring – that’s it. It’s too bad the game isn’t going to include full ring entrances, because those are always very enjoyable to watch. On the bright side, each superstar (at least what I saw) had their authentic theme music. Once the entrances were over with, the two wrestlers faced-off and the match went underway.
How to play the game is pretty straight forward: you attack, grapple, and reverse. Everything you would find in a standard wrestling game you can expect in this game. There are, however, some tweaks that make this game entirely unique. In WWE All Stars, every move can be reversed. Even reversals can be reversed. There will be times where you and your opponent will find yourselves reversing each other over and over and over. This makes every match pretty thrilling and full of action. I don’t know about you, but I hate getting put into a move that takes 8 seconds to complete (The Undertaker’s Old School anyone?). There are also a lot of moves that can be chained together. For example, you can jump off the turnbuckle to knock your opponent into the ground, and as they bounce back up into the air (yes, they bounce 5 feet into the air after a big move), you can grapple them for another move. This leaves room for a lot of creativity and experimenting.
After playing a handful of matches, I do have two concerns with WWE All Stars. My first concern has to deal with one instance where my opponent’s superstar disappeared off the screen for a couple of seconds, but then reappeared. I know this was probably an early build of the game and glitches will occur, but I do hope it is fully addressed before the game launches in March. My other concern is with balancing the game. Right now, I feel that high-flying superstars have the edge on the other wrestlers. During a game, the more you dish out pain on your opponent, the more you build towards your finisher meter. Pulling off a finisher requires you to activate “finisher mode” then pull off the move while your opponent is dazed or with good timing. However, high-flyers can activate “finisher mode,” and make their way over to the turnbuckle to pull off their finisher. Since it’s more of a striking attack and high-flying moves automatically home into your opponent, it’s really easy to nail your finisher. And finishers more often than not win the game.
Again, my concerns are on a game that’s an early build and based on only a couple of hours of play. Surely things will be changed from now until WWE All Stars arrive in stores March 29, 2011. Until then, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the game, and the positives sure do outweigh the negatives. Can’t wait to pick this one up on day one.