Does Not Meet The Hype
PlayStation 36.50
Overall 6.50
WWE All Stars was THQ's attempt to bring back the classic arcade styled pick-up-and-play wrestling game. The results are a mixed bag at best. At it's core its a decent enough game that does more right than wrong, but it lacks a lot of polish. After you play it for a while you'll get the feeling that an extra 6 months of development could have made it an excellent game, instead of the slightly better than average one that it is.

By arcade styled game, this means that the game is focused around the matches and little else. That's a little sad, as some storylines always make things a little more interesting, and are something that wrestling fans will miss. There's a good variety of simple matches to have though.  Traditional one-on-one matches to extreme rules to the classic cage match. However a lot of the flashier matches like a Royal Rumble, Hell in a Cell, or Elimination Chamber are missed. Plus the game forgoes traditional tag-team matches in favor of "tornado tag" which apparently means, everyone fights at once and there is no tagging.

Control-wise it's very straight forward. Four buttons are used: quick strike, strong strike, quick grapple, and strong grapple. Pressing two buttons at once can activate a "signature move" which is a fancy move that cannot be countered by the opponent. And of coure pressing the shoulder buttons will allow the character to do his finishing moving. Which of these moves works best depends on your character type - brawler, acrobat, grappler, and big man.  It doesn't seem well balanced though. Brawlers seem to have the ultimate edge by being able to do quick punches which enables you to set up more powerful moves much easier. Acrobats on the other hand seem to get the short end of the stick with harder to pull off moves, and less health than other characters.

The counter-moves are fairly easy to pull off, and are a big part of the game. The game gives you a signal that lets you know when to press the button, and you'll probably find yourself countering your opponent 25% of the time. The CPU however takes advantage of this a little often though and at the harder levels does it all the time and feels a little cheap. In one championship match my first 6 moves were countered and quickly lost.

The graphics are also hit and miss, though on whole they're pretty good.  The wrestlers all resemble the 80's hard plastic wrestling action figures that were once upon oh so popular. Great choice given the nostalgia driven nature of the game. For the most part they all look good (except poor Shawn Michaels... what the hell happened there?), and their movement is very smooth.  On the other hand everything else is very bland. There's only a few different arenas to fight in.  Plus the crowd looks terrible. Almost like it was an after-thought. Sure that's more of an after-thought, but it's another example of the polish that this game lacks.

The biggest disappointment though is with the online mode, which is frankly terrible. Getting a match isn't too difficult, but at times I've found myself waiting as long as 5 minutes wiith no idea if anyone will be joining me. Once you do get a match, once it's over you're not given an option for a rematch or to fight the other person again. You're sent back to the lobby. This gets very irritating when you've spent a long time just waiting to be matched up. Lag fortunately does not seem to be too much of a problem.

So is the game bad? Not necessarily. If you can put up with the load times (which are obnoxiously bad at times), and aren't looking for more than a short 10 minute experience or you just want a weekend rental, this game is just fine.  The roster is excellent and if you grew up watching wrestling in the 80's and 90's it's fun to see your favorite wrestlers break out their classic moves and beat the crap out of today's generation (most of whom I barely recognized). The controls are pretty solid and easy to learn too, so you'll rarely come across a match you repeatedly lose.  However if you're looking for a wrestling game that you can sit and play for hours at a time, move on. Too many quirks and too many generic experiences will get old after a while.
Posted by robio Sat, 02 Apr 2011 13:37:07
Sat, 02 Apr 2011 17:07:01
No tag team, no royal rumble what the hell. That sounds pretty crappy.
Sat, 02 Apr 2011 22:30:22
Yeah they left out a lot of staples that the genre has been focused around for years. Like I said, it feels like the game was rushed. Given the state of THQ I wouldn't be surprised that they sacrificed some quality to get it out in time.
Sun, 03 Apr 2011 07:20:19
Its been real hard to get a decent Wrestling game since the N64 ones. I have not really enjoyed any since those two great ones on N64. They just can't get the moves polished enough or control style down. I was never that happy about THQ.
Mon, 04 Apr 2011 08:03:41
It is unfortunate for Wrestling fans not to have a deep game to enjoy.  Fortunately with baseball (sim types), there has almost always been a year where there is one franchise that is holding it together enough that you can really get into it -- as opposed to just play for 10 minutes.
Thu, 07 Apr 2011 02:18:33
Yeah it's a real shame about the wrestling games. I've been a huge wrestling fan ever since Hulk Hogan first hit the scene but I've very rarely ever played them because I've found so few of them to be enjoyable.
Sat, 23 Apr 2011 08:30:43
The UFC games are decent though right?
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