previews\ Jan 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm

WWE All Stars


THQ and THQ San Diego, the developers on WWE All Stars, are ready to take the WWE license in a whole new direction for the company. And after spending several hours with the title at the recent THQ Gamers Day it’s safe to say that the game is something to get excited about, albeit not as over the top as the promotional videos present it as.

That’s not a backhanded compliment in any way either; WWE All Stars may look and act as if it’s an arcade fighter, but the truth of the matter is that there’s plenty of depth to fill several WWE games. Yes, there are high-flying maneuvers that could never happen in real life, but chaining maneuvers via combinations is simple with the controller layout. When using quick or strong grapples, players can modify the moves by pressing any number of the face buttons and a particular direction on the thumbstick. Add in the ability to follow up a vertical bodyslam with, say, a belly-to-back suplex, and the fluidity of WWE All Stars is impressive.

But, let’s not kid ourselves; players are interested in the title due to its extraordinary attacks and muscled-up wrestlers. Each wrestler has four signature moves and a finisher that needs to be charged up to execute properly. These five attacks are overly exaggerated to the point of hilarity. Using Bret Hart, one signature maneuver had "The Hitman" delivering an impactful, and highly illegal, piledriver. Another signature unleashed his trademark running bulldog with a powerful effect. As for his finisher, it’s as you would expect, but hearing bones break and witnessing the opponent getting KOed from a sharpshooter was entertaining.

Speaking of which, there are no submission victories, no rope breaks, no count outs, and falls count anywhere. There will be disqualifications and using a weapon four times in a row will cause for the referee to claim victor for the opponent. Warnings are implemented to provide insight on how close players are to being disqualified. It’s an arcade brawler of sorts with in-depth combat and combos provided as the meat of the title. Think of it in the same light as Tecmo’s Dead or Alive series; a smart yet arcade-like fighter that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Each wrestler is rated after each match on offense, defense and technique. Having four different types of fighters such as Kofi Kingston as an Acrobat, Big Man Andre the Giant, a Brawler in John Cena and a pure Grappler such as Bret Hart, WWE All Stars can be played intelligently as well as a button-masher. For a lack of better terms, it could easily turn into a juggler where players continue to helplessly toss their opponents about. There are counters that need to be timed to pull off, but the aggressor can counteract any counter if they are aware of an incoming move.

Revealing “Macho Man” Randy Savage at the event as a new selectable fighter, the roster will slowly be made public over the course of the next few months until release. Fighters such as “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan are shoe-ins while women wrestlers will not show up in any form. Only one mode was provided in the build, but there were eight modes and from the looks of it, if Exhibition is to be used as an example, and five variations for each, such as Extreme Rules. Add in modifiers, such as 1v1, 2v2, and the like, and WWE All Stars is shaping up to be a fantastic compliment to the THQ gaming catalog.

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