PS3 Review – WWE All Stars

THQ has been the king of wrestling games for quite some time now. Ever since the first title in the Smackdown series was released back in 2000,  they have had some of the best wrestling titles to ever hit consoles. But still, many gamers wished to see a return to the arcade style gameplay that was found in wrestling games of old. Enter WWE All Stars, a combination of new era wrestlers and WWE hall-of-fame legends, all packed into one of the most light hearted arcade-style games in a very long time. Find out in our review if WWE All Stars is worth stepping into the ring with, or if you’re better off waiting for a count out.

The roster of the game itself is quite impressive, doing a respectable job of representing many of the legends of the past and superstars of today.  While the roster is full of great talents from both past and present, there are some big name wrestlers not in the ring this time around such as Goldberg, Mankind, and Razor Ramon – just to name a few.   Still, with 30 wrestlers available to use on day 1, and more on the way via DLC, the roster has plenty to satisfy wrestling fans young or old.

There’s plenty of different modes and themed match stipulations  including: standard, tornado tag team, steel cage, extreme rules match, and elimination. Each of these can be modified in the match setup screen to include the number of participants that you would like to see throw down.  Despite what’s there, there are some notable exclusions from the matches such as favorites like: Inferno, Royal Rumble, and Hell in a Cell.

Fantasy Warfare mode sets two wrestlers against each other, each from a different era, though both happen to be similar in certain aspects.  Think of this as a dream matchup with wrestlers of old and new. For example the first match available is titled “The Greatest Warrior” and features Ultimate Warrior facing off against Sheamus. A series of videos will play giving a brief back story on each wrestler, allowing some of the newer fans to see why the legends are, well, legends. There’s 15 Fantasy Warfare matches in total.

Anybody looking for more of a storyline will want to spend most of their time in The Path of Champions mode.  There are a total of three different “stories” for players to complete: Randy Orton, Undertaker, and D-Generation X.  Each of these features a ten-match ladder you must climb to face one of the three wrestlers listed above. While these aren’t full-blown stories and the cutscenes are sparse, they are very entertaining nonetheless . The matches themselves offer some variation between each, keeping you on your toes and requiring different tactics to win.

Like most games that favor multiplayer, online is what will keep fans coming back again and again. Players will have a choice of participating in either a Player Match or a Ranked Match, with the difference between the two being that only Ranked Matches impact the online leaderboard. All matches the same match types mentioned above are available for choice in both modes, meaning players have a total of fifteen variations to choose from.

One of the most popular features within any wrestling game is the ability to take a blank canvas wrestler and mold him in your likeness (or whatever you want them to look like).  All Stars features a solid option here with Create a Superstar, which features many of the things that wrestling fans have come to expect when crafting a custom character.   The biggest letdown in the create menu is the lack of layers, something that fans of the Smackdown vs. Raw series have become accustomed to.  What this means is that you don’t have the ability to remove things in the ring such as shirts worn during your entrance. If regular roster wrestlers — such as Stone Cold Steve Austin — can come in wearing one thing, yet take it off during the match, our created wrestlers should be able to as well. The other areas of the create a wrestler mode are very detailed and will result in us seeing some interesting creations by players. For those that lack creative instinct, there are templates available to use in both the “Body Template” as well as the “Clothing Template” options. But for those that plan to invest some time into the create a wrestler mode, you can essentially create anyone that you can think of; all it takes is time and effort.

The best part of WWE All Stars is the gameplay itself. All Stars features a fighting scheme that may seem simple at first glance, but as your spend more time with the game, you will realize there’s a lot of depth. The fighting is over-the-top and features unrealistic moves/impacts, but that is exactly what makes this game so much fun, especially when playing with friends. Each wrestler has both a strong attack and a quick attack that are variations of punches and kicks. Along with the two basic attacks, there are also two special attacks and for the ultimate insult to your opponent, a signature finishing move. All moves in this game are overly dramatic, so when performing “The Rock Bottom” on an opponent you will find yourself jumping extremely high in the air with your opponent on your arm and abruptly drive him into the ground. It never gets old and is a real blast.

There are a total of four different classes, all differing in their overall ability to dish out harsh punishment to their opponents. The classes include acrobat, big man, brawler, and grappler. While being very limber and sometimes hard to pin down, acrobats lack in attack strength, especially against guys like The Big Show who are obviously under the big man category. These guys are your ultimate defense guys, and they are extremely powerful. The in-game classes are very well-balanced in both offense and defense, but the player must remember they each require a different approach to get that pinfall or knockout in the game. Be warned, though, if you do not take the time to learn blocking and reversals then you will get demolished when you hop online.

One shocking omission from the game is actual titles/belts. This would have not only offered more replay value, but brought a level of excitement and completion to the package. The game is also lacking in tutorials, and while it does offer tips via the loading screens and occasional in-game pop ups, it is incredibly difficult in some of the more advanced matches. Some may even find themselves pausing several times just to look at the controls.

Graphically the title is definitely in a league of its own compared to other wrestling titles. It takes realistic looks and throws it out the window. Everyone is bigger, badder and more outrageous than ever. This is the arcade wrestler fans have been asking for. Jim Ross and Jerry The King Lawler — two of the most famous announcers in WWE history — both lend their commentary, adding to the overall feeling of viewing a real wresting event.

Unquestionably, WWE All Stars features some of the most addicting arcade-style gameplay seen in any wrestling title to date. But the lack of content in some areas will leave you wanting more. And you will want more because of the fun-factor.  Aside from the gameplay, the roster and over the top action really helps to set WWE All Stars apart from other wrestling games. Despite all the good, we can’t help but feel like there’s something missing.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

+ Fantastic over the top gameplay that will keep you coming back for more.

+ Good representation of different types of wrestlers with four total class types.

– Lack of a title belts, larger roster, and more match types keep this good title from being great.

7 out of 10