Spend a few minutes watching any WWE broadcast, and it becomes clear that over-the-top spectacle is what it's all about. Professional wrestling's relentless quest to be larger than life makes it well suited for the creative freedom of video games, yet it has been years since any wrestling game really took this idea and ran with it. Now WWE All Stars has entered the arena and amplified the high-flying, hard-hitting action to an arcade pitch. Cartoonishly muscular character models and gravity-defying maneuvers help the game pack a great punch, and simple controls make it easy to perform high-impact moves. The fighting system is not without its drawbacks, however. The crucial reversal timing is tough to master, and the exaggerated physics result in some wonky and unpredictable moments. These issues can cause some frustration, but the satisfaction of executing a timely counterattack or a powerful choke slam is undeniable. WWE All Stars captures the excitement and spectacle of the actual WWE better than any game in recent memory.
6306691NoneThe battle of the blonds.
Stepping into the ring and dealing out punishment is straightforward, thanks to the relatively simple moveset. You can string quick and heavy strikes together to land combos, and enter light or strong grapples to throw your opponent around. Depending on what class your chosen wrestler is, you can perform rope-spring attacks or powerful charged strikes, and every wrestler can run around the ring and climb the turnbuckle to mix things up. As you pummel your opponent, you fill up an energy meter that allows you to perform signature moves and finishers. These electrifying attacks are the standard-bearers for WWE All Stars; they are the embodiment of the exaggerated energy that fuels the game. When you execute one of these moves, your character's movements are highlighted by flowing ribbons of color as the background becomes black and white. Time slows down as your move develops and then speeds up to deliver the punishing impact in real time with a thunderous crash. These audio and visual effects amplify the drama that the WWE pros try to achieve on a regular basis, pumping it up to an immensely gratifying level.
With all these powerful attacks flying around, being able to defend yourself is important. Blocking is effective, but the key element to a strong defense is reversals. Whether you are being struck or grappled, there's almost always a moment when you can tap the appropriate reversal button to turn the tables. Sometimes, your opponent gets a chance to reverse your reversal, but no matter who ends up powerbombing whom, it is crucial to get the hang of countering attacks. The timing is very tricky, however, and tapping the button multiple times all but ensures your attempt will fail, so you have to nail it. This finicky precision is frustrating, and there's no tutorial to help you get the hang of it. Timing is also crucial in determining whose strike or grapple takes priority, but some moves can preempt others. WWE All Stars leaves it up to you to learn the ins and outs of its fighting system, and though the basics are easy to grasp, you have to figure out important elements like timing and move priority for yourself.
Even if you don't know who has Stone Cold by the boots, you know that's gonna hurt.