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WWE All-Stars Hands On Preview (New Modes)
 

WWE All-Stars Hands On Preview (New Modes)

Platform: Xbox 360
Category: Wrestling
 
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A couple of weeks ago I had a second chance to see WWE All-Stars prior to its upcoming release this month. I would have had this preview up sooner, but without getting too personal, let’s say that I don’t like Kidney Stones, and I have more sympathy for my wife knowing she gave birth to our two children. Ok, enough about that.

For those looking for my initial impressions of WWE All-Stars back in January, you can click here for all the details of what I thought of the game back then. This preview is more of an update so to speak as we were given a chance to check out the full roster, full playlists, and pretty much the full game prior to the game hitting store shelves. Creative Director Sal DiVita was our man on the mic, and oh-boy, is he passionate about this game. In many ways I respect that has he has a lot of faith and a lot of pride in this product given that work that has gone into it.

Given that this was the first time the game was shown in pretty much full form, I counted 31 characters on the full roster. Now I hope I wasn’t miscounting, given that I have been known to do that now and then, but I saw 31 boxes in the character screen and they ranged from older, classic wrestlers to new and more current WWE stars. You will find Andre the Giant, Macho Man Randy Savage, Bret Hart, The Rock, Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Sgt. Slaughter, Stone Cold, Jake “The Snake”, Roddy Piper, John Cena, Triple H, Rey Mysteria, Bigshow, The Miz, Undertaker and Jack Swagger to name a few. The selection is pretty diverse, and they span across the WWE’s life span. There is no doubt that anyone will find a wrestler here they know, or knew, to use in the game.

As I mentioned in my January preview, there are three classes of wrestlers; brawler, acrobat and heavyweight. Each of these characters has their own strengths and weaknesses and they also lend themselves to a particular fighting style. I will not repeat everything, but in short, the brawler goes toe to toe with any wrestler, the acrobat is fast and flashy, and the heavyweight is the ‘tank’ of wrestlers, which can take a lot of damage. What was new to me during this preview was that every character is an individual. Although every class has a pool of moves, each character on their own may borrow from another set, and they also have their own individual moves. This is a nice feature given that not all werstlers in the same class fight with the exact same moves, which can get boring. Kudos to the boys at THQ San Diego for going that extra mile.

One of the big unveilings while we were previewing the game was the new “Fantasy Warfare Mode”. Holy moly, this is a wrestling fans wet dream so to speak. Fantasy matches have been created with input with the WWE. What is really interesting about this is that the wrestlers involved in each of these matches are connected in some way, such as location, status, etc. So, you’ll find yourself pitting Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero in the “Greatest High Flyer” match, Randy Orton vs. Jake Robers in the “Coldest Snake” match, Drew McIntyre vs. Roddy Piper in the “Pride of Scotland” match, and Big Show vs. Andre the Giant in the “Greatest Big Man” match. These are only a few of the matches available and boy are they fun.

Given that WWE is all about presentation, these Fantasy Warfare matches are also well presented. Each match has a custom promo-reel that has footage of each wrestler, setting up what why the two particular WWE stars are about to face off in battle. I was amazed with how much footage there was for each wrestler, and it was presented in such a way that it really does link up the two individual wrestlers for the match they are about to undertake. Given my age bracket, I found that I really enjoyed the older footage and I was even able to fondly think of those days when I was indeed younger and spent a lot of time watching those wrestlers who were popular then. Regardless though, the production quality of the video and relevance to each Fantasy Warfare match was top notch to say the least, and something that I really do have to applaud. I had a brief chat with Sal DiVita about the footage and he said that it indeed was all WWE produced and created. It really shows how the WWE really does respect its’ brand and those involved in making it the spectacle that it is.

Another new mode that was unveiled to us was the “Path of Champions”. Each path is 10 matches long and there are different paths for different belts. You can take a path of a legend or take a tag team path. It is really up to you to choose what you want to do here. Of course the choices are laid out in front of you to choose, and you don’t make your own path so to speak. What is cool though is that you can choose to take either a WWE Superstar or your own custom created wrestler through the path you choose. THQ showed off a few of their own creations such as Ghandi (with tattered rag shorts and all), Leonardo from TMNT, George Washington and Abe Lincoln to name a few. There are custom rendered videos to take you through you path as well, with actual WWE talent offering up their voices for the videos for each path. Each match get progressively harder as you make your way through too, so don’t expect to just walk on through and take the belt home, as you’ll have to work your way through each match, especially the later matches.

As far as actual game modes beyond what I have mentioned, there is online multiplayer of course, which is self explanatory. Ther is also Exhibition mode which, as expected, includes the single matches that are a staple of the genre. Match types include Standard, Tornado Tag Team, Elimination, Extreme Rules and Steel Cage; which are further broken down into 1v1, Handicap, Triple Threat and Fatal Four Way.

So now you know some new modes, but the most important thing is how it plays. Well, I spent the majority of my time in the Fantasy Warfare Mode. Of course I chose older wrestlers to represent like Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Andre the Giant, and fellow Canadian Bret Hart. I found that those that believe in button mashing, which in this game isn’t that necessary due to the nature of the simple control scheme, will have fun; but those looking for a rewarding experience will love this game too as there is technique in timing reversals, timing blocks, and pulling of the really fancy-schmancy moves. All in all those who try this game should enjoy the experience whole heartedly. The AI provides a great challenge and this game will be fun with a room (in person or online) of fighting game fans or wrestling game fans alike.

As we get closer to the launch of this title keep a close look out for our review of the final retail product.










 
 

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