This review has been a long time coming. WWE All-Stars is the most recent major wrestling video game release from this year, and it is fantastic. If you’re a fan of the WWE or WWF products and enjoy a straight forward, yet deep, wrestling engine, there are plenty hours of fun waiting for you in this package. There are a couple legends I would have expected to make it in (two of which were with TNA during the making of this game) that didn’t, but this game features an impressive roster. Sadly, neither of the 2011 Money in the Bank winners are a part of the festivities, but I guess that’s the prices you pay with an “unpredictable” product like the WWE.

GAMEPLAY (****)

I enjoy everything about the WWE All-Star gameplay mechanics, except the Kick-Out System. I would have preferred the timing based Cage Escape System for pins, as I hate button mashing. Xbox 360 controllers aren’t cheap, and button mashing/stick wagging doesn’t help their durability. I’ve jobbed in matches due to just not wanting to hammer on my controller to kick out. The reversals are fair, the signature moves fitting, and I even enjoyed the Knockout System. It’s not a wrestling simulation, but it does capture the idea of professional wrestling quite well. The matches are larger than life spectacles, just like they’re meant to be. It’s basically NBA Jam meets wrestling.

Multiplayer (***)

Multiplayer runs well on Xbox Live. Split-Screen is equally smooth. People should be able to play co-op Tag Team Path of Champions, but aside from the lack of Online Co-Op against the CPU, the multiplayer is well done.

Story (**)

The Path of Champions aren’t exactly original, as the tier style is a common fixture in fighting games, but I did enjoy the promos included. I would have preferred a promo for each match, and I really didn’t didn’t think much of the RKO/DX segments, but the idea was appreciated. The Fantasy Warfare section is the more impressive “story mode”. The pre-match videos not only play on the nostalgia factor, but they’re edited to make it seem like both combatants are cutting promos on each other, a wonderful touch. The bouts are straight forward in both modes, but each Fantasy Warfare match video is worth a watch.

Music/SFX (*****)

All the themes are on the money. The DLC characters have themes included, but those songs don’t become a part of the menu rotation, which is the only knock. The voice acting by everyone (and especially Paul Bearer) is well handled. There are some quality chants included for the crowd, and I hope to see THQ take that to an even more impressive level for WWE 12.

Visuals (*****)

If you ever played the Legends of Wrestling series, you have an idea of what to expect here. The characters look like action figures more than human beings. It’s a style not everyone can appreciate, but it fits the arcade feel of the game. Each attire is meticulously re-created, and the faces are as close as you’ll see in a wrestling game, and that’s really all you can ask for. The most visually impressive wrestling game out there.

DLC (****)

Cheap and robust. The only problem with the DLC is that they don’t come with their own Fantasy Warfare matches/videos. Free inclusions of R-Truth and Honkey Tonk Man are a great way to butter up this reviewer. There’s nothing PINFALL Magazine digs more than FREE DLC.

——————

This is the best WWE game of this generation. There aren’t many match options (no traditional tag?), but the depth of the roster keeps things fresh. With WWE 12 coming out in November, there’s no way you should pay full price for WWE All-Stars, but the game is well worth it. If you need a wrestling fix before WWE 12 drops, or you just want to take the top notch roster for a spin, do so! WWE All-Stars is a stellar release from THQ.

JPLS

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