Review

WWE is a massive business – for many years now have THQ and Activision produced an annual rendition of the latest Wrestling game featuring the many names of the sport. From Smackdown to Raw, from Superstars to Diva’s – spandex to Suplex – over the many years we have seen all the things from TV appear in consoles with mixed reactions.

This time, however, WWE All Stars seems to have taken a slightly different standpoint on the mechanics of how the game will be played. Rather than the tried and tested ‘grapple’ system that so many other Wrestling games have used and allowed for technical moves to be strung together, All Stars is using a more Arcade-y system that wouldn’t look out of place in a Street Fighter game.

The big feature of All Stars is the older Superstars in the same game as the more recent ones. This means old faces like Ricky The Dragon Steamboat and Andre the Giant can team up with the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock to fight against The Undertaker, John Cena and Rey Mysterio. For fans of WWE this is heaven sent as those what-if dream matches of old-school versus new can now take place. Its a lot like the Fight Night Champions premise (where Tyson could fight Ali).

The first thing that will strike you when you see the game is how chunky the characters are – they are overly exaggerated, presumably to emphasise their real-life counterparts. The whole look and feel of the Wrestlers and the camera angles makes the atmosphere seem as close to the TV shows with decent entrances and music.WWE All Stars game Preview Play Eject

WWE All Stars has pushed to one side the more familiar controls and fighting styles of the wrestling games from the last few years and instead THQ have gone for a more fun and entertaining approach. Rather than look to weaken an opponent with light-grapples before building up to the stronger techniques, you can start some mean looking combos and try to throw in an impressive looking move pretty much from the off. One thing to be wary of – this is not a typical Wrestling game – it is a decent fighting game though.

After selecting the match type and Superstar to play as, the action begins with the usual entrances and gesturing to the crowd and each other but when the bell rings, don’t expect to be put into a headlock and worked around the ring like a pro – instead you’ll be throwing punches and special moves (all of which are accurate to the individual wrestler and the way they move in real life) and knocking people out of the ring in no time.

And its here that we’re torn – PlayEject makes no bones about it – we like a good Wrestle every now and again and as exciting as it is to be able to play as our favourite Superstar Legends against the modern wrestlers is exciting – finally we can see Andre the Giant take on the Big Show! But its the way the game delivers itself that bothers us. We were hoping for a more traditional style game but instead been thrown a few curveballs with over-exaggerated finishing moves and animations. Having said that, what is the point in bringing out the same game with new faces – its been done before so bravo to THQ for trying something brave and new.

Its definitely a fun game to play and Wrestling fans old and young will enjoy it – we did and will no doubt be laying the smack down on all the Candy asses…!

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