WWE All-Stars Review

WWE All-Stars PSP

Coming into this review, I feel a need to warn readers that I am a fan of wrestling, been one since the Memphis Wrestling days (around 1983 or so when I had just turned 7 years old). I remember watching the hours and hours of wrestling that was made available on free TV back then (yes kids, back in my day, we had free TV, only 3 channels but it was FREE!). Watching as guys like Bruno Samartino, Hulk Hogan, The Iron Shiek and many others (most of these are from the later 80′s since I really can’t remember the names of the ones I watched as a child, or about 7,500 hours of wrestling entertainment ago). Also, as far as gaming, I believe that Pro Wrestling, on NES, is one of the best wrestling titles out there (reviewed on my former site Pixel Perfect Gaming).

With that fair amount of nerdiness out there, let’s commence with this review in earnest.

First, checking out the roster of wrestlers, which there are a lot from the current roster and many past legends, WWE All-Stars has the best roster I have seen in a wrestling game in years. Think Wrestlemania (NES) rocked Andre the Giant or Macho Man Randy Savage (R.I.P. my friend) the best? Check them out here. Think Bret the Hitman Hart was at his best in Royal Rumble (SNES version since it DID rock his music better than the Genesis version)? Nope again. All-Stars has him in true to form of his prime wrestling days. A botched Goldberg Spear ended an EXTREMELY promising career of arguably the only man of the same era that could have challenged Hulkamania for popularity (live with it Hulkamaniacs, I lived through it).

Wrestlers all have signature moves (ala Royal Rumble and just about every wrestling game since then), special ring intros (something pioneered in the original PlayStation days of wrestling simulations) and there are multiple story paths to follow. Want to chase the World Heavyweight Title? Go for it. Want to reign as the best tag-team ever (Demolition hold that spot for me, folks). Pick a couple of grapplers and run the guantlet in Tag-Team mode. Want to recreate the Mega Powers (quick, who were the members?) and see how far they really could have gone if jealousy hadn’t reared it’s ugly head? The sky is the limit folks, only limited by your imagination and determination to recreate, or derail, history.

Dream matches can be created such as Ultimate Warrior versus Randy Orton (Come on, who wouldn’t want to see that?). Methodical versus maniacal, it would put butts in seats. Hulk Hogan versus Bret Hart (did they ever really wrestle a singles match in their careers?) or how about Undertaker versus Andre the Giant? That is one that would have been interesting as The Undertaker was coming up after Andre had already ended his career. Want to recreate historical Pay Per View matches? You can here, with ease (especially on your wallet).

Moves are easy to pull off, but as with other wrestling titles, it will take some time to learn when and where to push what button. Button mashing will probably get you through the first couple of matches in a tournament but you won’t be winning any belts without some understanding of the moves of each wrestler. This is something that many wrestling games get wrong, the moves. Most give wrestlers one specific special move and then everything else is the same. All-Stars gives everyone slightly different moves based on their style, brawlers will not have many finesse moves but someone that is a high flier will not have much success as a beat down style wrestler either.

Load times rear their ugly heads here but, well, when you have this much going on, there simply is not enough room to load it all in one pass. Each wrestler’s ring entrance has to be loaded individually, which can be a pain if it was not for the handy skip button. Watching the entrances once or twice is alright, but once you are on your 300th match or so, it is time to hammer that skip button like it is your next opponent.

Comparing PlayStation Portable to Apple iPhone games may not be that fair (especially if you compare prices) but I am going to do it anyhow. I reviewed, the aptly wrongly named, TNA Impact Wrestling (they changed their name to Impact Wrestling shortly before their game was released- way to go marketing people in Nashville). In that game, we had the choice of, course, many TNA original’s such as AJ Styles (who did wrestle in both WWE and WCW briefly years ago) and many others. We also got to choose WWE’s favorite poster wrestler, not on payroll (at the time), Sting. Out of the two games, based purely on playing them and my enjoyment ringed out of them both, I had more fun with TNA Impact Wrestling, just being honest here everyone. In the TNA game, the controls were more fluid and intuitive than they are in All-Stars (probably thanks to the limited screen real estate for buttons, the developers had to be intuitive about things).

If you have just one or the other portable then get the wrestling game for it- you can’t go wrong. If you have both, and are EXTREMELY cash strapped (come on, if you can afford All-Stars, you can afford a couple of bucks for TNA Impact just to have some variety) then get TNA Impact. If you are a fanboy of either company, of course get their game. All-Stars has a robust create a wrestler mode so you could possibly, with a bit of work, create a Sting or AJ Styles (minus the BIG tattoo) in All-Stars.

WWE All-Stars by THQ
Platform Reviewed: PSP (Also on Wii, 360, PS3, PS2 and 3DS)
Genre: Wrestling/Successor to the first two WWE arcade games
Rated:  T for Teen
Score: 85/100
Release:  November 22nd, 2011

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