As much as I love WWE All Stars there are quite a few areas of concern. First off, the load times for the Xbox 360 version of the game are absolutely horrendous. Some matchups during the Path of Champions can take more well over a minute to load. This really breaks up the pacing of the game and brings it to an absolute crawl. I also find the creative limitations put on the creation mode to be very disappointing. I can think of a ton of other legends and characters that I would love to bring into the game but I won’t be able to do so to the fullest extent of my creativity... and with no good reason. I would have also liked to have seen a little more put into the Patch of Champions to bring the legends and other old school concepts into play. Why do all three paths focus on current superstars? It would have been far more entertaining to see a path that included Andre the Giant, perhaps referencing the classic $15,000 body slam challenge... and they could have included Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and made it truly memorable. I am not sure it is really right to criticize the game for those sorts of things because its judging it based on what I would have liked to see versus what was actually included, but it really comes across as missed opportunity. Maybe we can hope for something like that in the sequel.
The audio commentary featured in the game is perhaps the weakest that I have ever seen in a wrestling game. Most of what you hear is choppy and repetitive, sounding like a string of random clips from a sound board. Occasionally, JR will drop some semi-interesting diatribes regarding some historical references but those are drowned out by the other sounds of the game. You can barely hear both JR and the King over the sound effects, crowd chants, and constant music playing in the background. Even when you make adjustments in the options of the various levels, the announcers end up getting drowned out.
All in all, WWE All Stars is a great package despite a couple of technical flaws. There is a ton to do and the gameplay is as fun as it is frantic. The game really has an appeal that will reach beyond the standard Smackdown vs. Raw crowd and bring in fighting game fans and old wrestling fans who haven’t watched in years. Considering that this is a new IP, I am really impressed with the freshman outing and extremely optimistic to what the future holds for this as a potential series. I haven’t had this much fun with a game in a long, long time.
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* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
WWE All Stars is a ton of fun but there are also a lot of missed opportunities and disappointing flaws visible in the final product. As much as I enjoy the game, it pains me to think that so much more could have been done in the areas of other cameo appearance (Bobby Heenan, Brother Love) and creative freedom (CAS). Fighting game fans and wrestling fans alike are sure to enjoy the fast paced action and insane gameplay which will keep you coming back for more time and time again. The game can be played again and again and again, it calls you back each and every time. The future is very bright for this series...
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