Are you a fan of the Smackdown vs. Raw games? Do you like your wrestling games strategic with somewhat complex control schemes? Then this game might annoy you a bit so read on at your own discretion. Those who take their wrasslin' games too seriously might find themselves more than a bit miffed at WWE All Stars due to how much it has become a rather simple arcade style brawler.
Of course these people would also forget that the first, and some of the best, WWE (then WWF) games were rather over the top wrestling games so it's not exactly new. So it could quit easily be argued that this game is a return to form of sorts for the WWE video game franchise.
Upon first glance you will notice that the characters in this game are, to put it lightly, 'roided out of their minds. Seriously, even the lightest of these dudes look like they've taken more steroids than every Major League Baseball player in the past decade. They're so cartoonishly muscular that they make the characters from Gears of War look like they're positively well proportioned. Even in their full armor. It looks ridiculous but also looks pretty awesome when they're slamming each other all over the ring.
This over exaggeration extends to the moves as well and its part of what makes this game so much fun to play. You don't just pick someone up and slam them to the mat. No, when they hit the mat they will more than likely bounce around the area where, if you're quick and they're light enough, they can be juggled by repeated punches and kicks. Heck you can even slam them up into the air and then punt them clear out of the ring if you're good.
The appeal to the over the top gameplay wouldn't mean much if it wasn't fun to play and luckily WWE All Stars has that as well. The gameplay is very simple, consisting of a responsive control scheme that uses two grapple buttons and two strike buttons. These grapples and strikes can be used in combos rather freely although your class will play a part in how this works. For example, a grappler type character can string a bunch of grapples together a lot easier than a bigger character although each individual one will generally be a bit weaker than if someone else used the move.
All of this leads into the games fast paced fights. Running all over the place while throwing punches and kicks at each other like mad is a blast and that's without even taking into account counters. Almost every move in the game can be countered, reversing the grapple or just blocking the attack. But reversals can also be countered leading to situations where you attack, they reverse, you reverse their reverse... we're not sure how long this goes on as the timing is rather precise but its fun to watch.
Further raising the crazy awesome quotient on this game are the finishing and signature moves. Signature Moves power up as you fight and result in ridiculously high flying moves, such as a chokeslam that involves leaping up twenty feet into the air before slamming enemies to the ground. These are generally easy to land in combat but aren't going to finish your opponent off most of the time. But the Finishers, which power up only when you're doing well, will obliterate your foe with the drawback that they require your opponent to be stunned in preparation for the attack.
The wide variety of Legends and Superstars come in a variety of flavors. Wrestlers like Bret Hart are considered grappler types and they can string together grapples in combos rather easily and their submissions do a lot of damage. Speedy high flyer types, like Rey Mysterio, can move around the ring much faster than other characters which give them a wide variety of options. Each wrestler falls into one of a number of these classes giving them unique advantages and flaws to keep things balanced.
Really this game is almost as much fun to just watch as it is to play. Watching some of your favorite Legends take down some of the current superstars is just beyond fun. When this game launches March 29th I have every intention in the world of taking Bret Hart, amongst other Legends, and tearing John Cena a new one. I'll give him Attitude Adjustment.