I have made no bones about how excited I was about WWE All Stars, and how much I was really looking forward to doing this review. THQ has had the WWE license on lock for years and that meant that for the most part, the only way we could get our wrestling fix was to pick up their yearly WWE Smackdown Vs Raw release, which has suffered from a lack of real imagination in recent years. The WWE has tons of great angles to build games around, and I honestly felt like THQ had been wasting them. WWE All Stars proves that they finally got the message and discovered that they could have multiple WWE video game properties. Furthermore, if those properties were made different enough, they wouldn’t affect the sales of each other.
WWE All Stars is not Smackdown Vs Raw, which prides itself on being the most realistic wrestling simulation out there. No my friends, WWE All Stars is an adrenaline filled, no holds barred, knockdown, drag out fight to the finish. If I could think of one phrase to describe the gameplay in WWE All Stars, I would have to say “Don’t Hold Anything Back”. This is what makes the game so great and so different from SVR. In Smackdown Vs Raw, you have to be strategic in how you approach your opponent, wear them down, and then look for an opening to hit them with your finisher. That won’t really work in WWE All Stars. If you try that, you will probably get your butt kicked, which I did several times until I drunk the “Don’t Hold Anything Back” Kool-Aid. I kept losing at first and I couldn’t figure out why and then I did, I wasn’t being aggressive enough. In WWE All Stars you have to be extremely aggressive and deliberate with your offense. You can block, but honestly there is no point.
If you want to be good at this game you need to master two things: being ultra-aggressive on offense and getting timing down so you can be what I call a “reversal king”. The great thing about WWE All Stars is that it seems like if you time it right, EVERY move can be reversed. In fact, though I’m not sure, I don’t think there is a cap on how many times a move can be reversed. I would actually like to see how many reversals in a row people could pull off. The controls take a little getting used to, but once you learn them they make perfect sense. The gameplay is tons of fun. Additionally, if they can get the online component right, there could be some epic battles there. As far as gameplay modes, there aren’t a lot, but in an arcade style game like this, there doesn’t need to be. All the modes are well thought out and lots of fun, so you really won’t care that there aren’t that many.
Of the game modes available, our favorites were Path Of Champions and Fantasy Warfare. Path of Champions is kind of like the game’s story mode, where you have the option of taking on three major challenges. You can run the gauntlet to eventually face the old-school Undertaker for the World Heavy Weight Championship at SummerSlam, you can match up against a plethora of different WWE Superstars in a bid to take down Randy Orton at Wrestlemania for the WWE Championship, or you can form a tag team and take on task of taking down D-Generation X at Wrestlemania. All three scenarios are lots of fun and well done. We suggest you do all three because they are each quite unique. The other mode we really enjoyed was Fantasy Warfare. Fantasy Warfare does exactly what we tried to do a few weeks ago, and sets up matches between the greatest WWE Superstars of the past and present. The mode matches them based on the similarity of their personal or physical attributes. These matches also feature really cool video montages that only the WWE could cut together to really frame the match up for you. Did we mention that these videos are really awesome; you will definitely watch the whole thing.
I will find it hard for anyone to have a lot of negative things to say about WWE All Stars, but I did find a few. First, the game does have pretty long loading screens. The only other thing that I didn’t like was when you got into any kind of match where there were more than two people, it becomes very hard to mount any kind of consistent offense because all the other opponents attack indiscriminately. Since this is arcade and not simulation, any attack from someone else can break up your move, which makes it very hard to get any kind of rhythm. As a result, you can lose a lot of matches that you shouldn’t, but again you can figure out ways to make this less likely by getting in and out of the ring a lot. The game has four classes that each have their own strengths, but the truth is, the stronger wrestlers definitely have the upper hand because of the amount of damage they can do with one move. I’m not saying that you can’t beat a very strong wrestler like Andre The Giant with a little guy like Rey Mysterio, but it’s not going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination. My only real concern is how long will it be before the novelty wears off and you want something with more depth.
WWE All Stars was everything that I had hoped it would be and more. It brings that over-the-top arcade style action into our living rooms, and it’s tons of fun. While you do have to be ultra-aggressive in this game, it’s not just a button masher. You have to be smart about when you use your signature and finishing moves, and you have to be at least decent with pulling off reversals. THQ really knocked it out of the park with WWE All Stars and I have no doubt that you will enjoy it as much as I did. WWE All Stars has a little bit of something for everybody and definitely has a personality of its own and we give it 8 out of 10. If you are a WWE fan, you have got to pick this one up with all of the legends being offered. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.