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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Fighting

 

Publisher

THQ

 

Developer

THQ San Diego

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

March 29, 2011

 

 

- Focus on action over grappling moves
- Good assortment of modes and challenges
- The characters are even more cartoon-like than their real-world counter-parts
- Classic wrestlers
- Some truly hideous wrestlers can be created with the "Create a Wrestler" feature

 

 

- No option to turn off the wrestler intros before each match
- Bizarre mini-game to exit the ring during a cage match
- A hands-on tutorial is absent
- Commentary grows old pretty quick

 

 

Review: Showdown: Legends of Wrestling (XB)

Review: Def Jam Vendetta (GC)

Review: Ultimate MUSCLE: The Kinnikuman Legacy - Legends vs. New Generation (GC)

 

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WWE All-Stars

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

wwe all-stars        wwe all-stars

 

I stopped following spectacle/soap opera wrestling events after about age 11, so almost all my wrestling memories revolve around the likes of Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, George "The Animal" Steele, and Bret Michaels grappling and flinging each other around the ring.

In WWE All-Stars, the roster is split between current wrestlers and old school grapplers. In either camp, they've all received a shellac of action figure which makes them even more cartoon-like than their real-life counterparts. And if the "stock" characters aren't enough, the Create a Wrestler provides many tweakable

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options to produce some truly horrific wrestlers. My first wrestler had a massive barrel chest, spider-like spindle legs, and something that projected from his abdomen, as if an Alien chest-burster was about to poke through.

All this is a general indication of the kind of action to be found in the actual fighting. The focus is on action over grappling, which is exactly the kind of thing that always put wrestling

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games in the background. WWE All-Stars is much more speedy, with outlandish, exaggerated moves that reminded me of the old the Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy - Legends vs. New Generation though not quite at the same speed. Each wrestler's signature move has been easily translated into outlandish, fun-to-watch moves that have no connection to reality.

 

wwe all-stars          wwe all-stars

 

It's the stuff around the wrestling matches that irritates me the most. The wrestler intros before each match are fine viewing the first time, but successive matches make these them the most skipped thing since rope. My only guess as to why there's no option to turn these intros off is that they must be part of the licence agreement with WWE. The commentary quickly becomes repetitive and the lack of hands-on tutorial means too much time stumbling around figuring out the finer points of the control and offering strategic tips. As is, I actually felt frustrated with the speed at which my opponents could finish me off. That first couple of hours just made me mad. After spending some time with the manual and plugging in a second control to beat on a dummy opponent, results started tipping in my favor, at least against the AI. Playing online is a whole other story! Every match I have played so far has resulted in a loss. That's not a huge deal to me.

 

wwe all-stars          wwe all-stars

 

The only aspect of the actual matches I found incredibly annoying was the bizarre mini-game implemented to escape the Cage. After sufficiently beating down an opponent and climbing to the top of the cage wall, a mini-game activates. An arrow slides back and forth at varying speeds across a meter and there's a "safe zone" the player must hit a few times to get the wrestler out of the ring. It does not feel like an organic solution.

 

With a good assortment of modes and wrestlers to unlock (and hopefully some DLC wrestlers as well) the hardcore fan should be appeased, and with the focus on movement rather than grappling less hardcore fans will find something to love.

 

- Aaron Simmer

(April 12, 2011)

 

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