WWE All Stars runs wild all over you!
OK so I start by paraphrasing the immortal Hulk Hogan but who cares about that eh? Well not me for one.
The story line (such as there is) guides a star or tag team through a series of 10 matches to face their ultimate nemesis in a final showdown. In the case of a single wrestler he will proceed until he faces the Undertaker at Summer Slam (not 'Mania?) or as a tag team you will take on team after team until you encounter DX. There are other story lines but you can find those out for yourselves. As an alternative to this career mode (such as it is) you can try fantasy warfare which encapsulates exactly what this title is all about. It's a set match up say to prove who is the biggest giant, Big Show or Andre the Giant, or the best high flyer, Rey Mysterio or Super Fly Jimmy Snuka.
Indeed intriguing match ups that for the most part we will not be able to see on a TV screen any day soon as sadly some of the artists in this game have gone to that wrestling ring in the sky.
The idea is simple, how would the modern day stars like John Cena fair against the likes of the Ultimate Warrior or Mister Perfect? Now is the time to find out!
OK let's break this one down shall we?
Now we know the men of the WWE are famous for their over the top antics in and out of the ring but this game they are really OTT! For a start it looks like even the smallest guy like Rey Mysterio is ripped to say the least. They all have muscles on top of muscles! Moves on shows like Raw or Smackdown are to say the least are not to be tried at home, so when you take the most dramatic move you can imagine on TV being ramped up so it looks like you have two super powered warriors fighting in the ring, you get some idea of how OTT the presentation is. Moves like Piledrivers are delivered with dramatic leaps into the air and with impacts that create shock waves upon landing them. Some of the stars are capable of leaps that defy gravity and logic, as they somersault through the air with a dexterity that would make Spiderman hang up his tights in disgust. From the middle of the ring too the turnbuckle and then to where ever the opponent maybe, whether in the ring or not. Yes it's OTT but fun in a truly suspend disbelief comic book style.
Naturally you can create your own superstar or diva to mix it up with but you will find that the move sets are limited to copying the move sets of existing stars. This is a shame but it was never marketed as being a rival to their own Smackdown VS Raw series, rather a complimentary game like Legends of Wrestlemania was earlier on. Indeed this brings back memories of the old mix and match style game series Legends of Wrestling 1-3. That had WWE. AWA, etc etc all facing each other in somewhat over the top battles. One word of advice and warning however, or rather a couple. One, pin falls can be scored in AND out of the ring, but that does not mean all matches are hardcore rules affairs so be careful when using that steel chair! Secondly ALL tag matches are of the tornado tag match style. Not tagging in and out here, all four men are in the ring together so watch that targeting (yes that is a problem in this title, more on that later)
Graphically it's bright, colourful and in your face and as said everyone looks ripped too the max so don't expect likenesses to be as precise as Smackdown VS Raw. (Mind you some of their likenesses leave something to be desired in a couple of cases) .
Audio: All of the recognized themes are there and impacts, blows etc sound meaty too the max, with the lightest of blows sounding like a pistol shot. In game music is absent and instead you get the commentary team of Jim Ross and the King as usual, Be warned the commentary is prone to repeat the same phrases but unlike SD vs Raw 2011 they don't refer to the divas as he in the match (ahem)
Physics: as over the top as I said and then some. Slams into the mat see the wrestlers bouncing high into the air as if catapulted. It is also possible to keep them airborne through juggling attacks like you can pull of in games like Dead or Alive. This is nothing like 'real' wrestling so take that on board.
OK so that's more or less it, but let's go through the usual, yes the pro's and cons.
CONS: First thing to note is that the enemy A.I. is sharp. Until you get used to it you may find it damned hard to get moves to connect without your opponent blocking or countering or indeed, side stepping the attack all together. Novices may find this a struggle, but even on easy experienced grapplers will find this tricky.
Tag matches as said are all tornado tag matches so watch the targeting, it's so easy to clobber your own partner!
Timing of finishing moves are again a problematical affair as far as timing goes but if they connect BOOM! Get that health down into the red, press L1 R1 and just pray the enemy does not counter or side step you. It happens again and again and again and. There is another con that I'll cover after the pro's. Be patient.
Match types are also limited so be advised about that.
PRO'S: It is fun and OTT as said and once you get the hang of things there is some fun to be had here. Co-op is fast and frantic and once you get over the targeting issues, you will have some fun here, and there is a slightly annoying sub game for cage matches that will determine whether you can escape the cage or not. Hang on is that not a con? Well yes but I need to be accurate and don't want to have to keep backtracking!
Summary: It is fun but be prepared for some frustration. It's flawed but there is very rarely what can be called a perfect game, come on, be honest now. It's Over the Top and not at all representative of what the real thing is like. If you want authenticity then look elsewhere amigo.
Try before you buy is my advice and be aware that there is a succinct lack of DLC out there for it at the moment. Right now all you can do is download the Million Dollar Man and his current WWE superstar son Ted. Hopefully there will be additional sets to come. One thing in it's favour, it's already being sold at bargain prices, but rent first unless you are a die hard fan that just wants to get the set of WWE games. OK Ref, ring that bell!