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WWE All-Stars Review

WWE All-Stars Review

As time has gone on, we've got accustomed to having a serious WWE game each year, which goes hand-in-hand with the current direction of the company. Back in the PlayStation 2 era, for example, there was a huge focus on backstage wrestling and "hardcore", now, it's a much more serious affair where it's all focussed on the core wrestling action. To try and mix things up a bit, and give the fans something a bit out of the box, THQ went away from their traditional developer, Yuke's, and tasked THQ San Diego with creating a game that would encapsulate the WWE as a whole. They ended up with WWE All-Stars.

Sporting a roster of legends throughout the WWE's past and present, THQ San Diego decided to make this game all about the gameplay. There is a story mode of sorts called Path of Champions, but it doesn't really amount to much. You have to take part in ten varying matches, and depending on which path you choose, you'll end up squaring off against either The Undertaker, D-Generation X or Randy Orton. There are some brief cutscenes at the beginning and the end, but it's difficult to say it's engaging in any way.

The same can't be said about the gameplay, which is actually rather fun. It's been stripped down compared to its bigger brother, but you still have the option to perform all the basic options like light attack, heavy attack, light grapple and heavy grapple.

Surprisingly, it's actually quite a tactical affair, as timing is paramount to succeeding. If you're in close, it's unlikely that you'll be able to land a grapple as they take time to charge up. Miss-time a grapple attempt, and you'll likely be starring directly at a fist flying towards your face, which will then result in a combination if you aren't careful. Everything is a huge battle for position and momentum, and if you're on the wrong end of it, you'll certainly know it.

It's a great mechanic actually, because you have to try and second guess what your opponent will do. There are naturally weak points in any defence, and exploiting this will serve you well. Each different level of grapple takes a different amount of time to charge and performing a signature move or finisher in open combat is extremely tricky - your opponent will just punch you if they see it charging up. To get around this, you'll need to soften them up and then time the move so that it lands when they get up, and therefore can't evade it.

One slight problem with the simplified mechanics, are that the move sets for each wrestler end up being quite small. You have the basic flurry of punches, which can be linked together with a strong punch or weak grapple. But aside from this, you'll likely see the same types of moves quite often. In theory, each wrestler has over 10 different grappling moves, but getting to them isn't an easy task, mainly due to the countering system and the charging system.

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