WWE Legends of WrestleMania
Bodies blown up by steroids, shining by a film of oil and dressed in a tiny swim short that leaves nothing to the imagination. No, were not talking about some woman’s dream but WWE Legends of Wrestlemania. The latest in the wrestling series by THQ.
WWE Legends of Wrestlemania turns back the clock to the early years of WWE, end of the 80s. Many amongst us remember the big names like Hulk Hogan, Bret “Hitman” Hart and The Ultimate Warrior. Those great fights can now be replayed in the WrestleMania Tour.
It immediately gets noticed that the Tour is also the highlight of the game. It contains three modes, Relive, Rewrite and Redefine, which deliver hte best fights of WWE history. The combat exists of goals and assignments you need to complete to earn the medals. In Relive this is done by replaying the match as winner while in Rewrite you have to try to not end up as the loser. Redefine looks like the Relive mode but with some adjustments in the game rules like a cafe fight or ladder match. Each fight is nicely preceded by old footage to get you in the right mood of the game. Pure nostalgie is dripping from your screen here.
Next to the Tour there’s also the Legend Killer Mode where you have to take on ten different enemies in one tier or series with a selfmade legend. By winning the tiers you gain xp points to get your character evolving. In total there are 5 series that you can go thruogh with the last one having 38 opponents and no save function. A painful moment if you have to shut down the console due to lack of time and have to start the entire series again.
Those that have Smackdown vs Raw 2009 can also play a sixth series by importing wrestlers from that game. Last up there’s the well-known exhibition mode where you have to set up a game with one of the 42 standard wrestlers or a walking pile of muscles you’ve created yourself.
Graphically the game doesn’t do bad, the characters are nicely detailed and the arenas look exactly as you remember. The wrestlers on the other hand look like some action figures. Hogan was never this muscular and Kong Bundy’s body was never this tight. The difference gets noticed even more due to the many videos with image material from the old days. Another big problem are the ring ropes that sometimes disappear into the players or partly sink into the mat while pinning. The audience looks like a bunch of cardboard boxes that exist out of a couple of sprites. Anno 2009 this shows of little finishing. The Xbox360 version seems to distinguish itself a bit better than that of the PS3 due to the use of brighter colors. The differences remain minimal though, and both versions look almost the same. Even the many annoying loading screens are present in both versions.
The biggest adjustment for many Smackdown vs Raw fans are the controls. The choice was made for an easy control where everything is done with the Face buttons and the left stick. Grabbing is done with the X or A button while hittin needs the square or X and triangle or Y is used for defense and countering. Finally a match can be decided by pinning your opponent with the circle or B.
The grips underwent another metamorphosis, by grabbing an opponent the game goes into a quick-time event. The player who first presses the correct button takes over the lead. The grapples exist of different images that form a not so fluid compilation. The whole looks extremely sloppy and almost points towards incompetence of the developer.
Next to the single player there’s also an online mode where you can go head to head with others across the entire world. The Americans seem to be best represented, especially on Xbox Live this is a problem due to their usually slower connections. The Playstation Network on the other hand contains some more European players but again the large majority is from the US of A. With finding a players with a good connection the game often ends up to be button bashing. Due to this you’ll quickly lose if you can’t perfectly time the counter with as result an early pin. Another problem was choosing the quick match option where you sometimes get dropped into a handicap match where you have to compete against two befriended players. Once surrounded there’s no way out and you again lose a game. Achieving a high ranking therefore looks tougher than thought at first and due to this you’ll quickly stay away from the online wrestling mode.
WWE Legends of WrestleMania all in all isn’t a bad game but you can better see it as an interactive documentary. The easy controls are a big plus but also the death of the game. The quicktime events and the button bashing to win fights quickly start to bore. WWE Legends of Wrestling is more like a tasteless snack in between while waiting the gastronomical main course; Smackdown vs Raw 2010. Only for those with a huge appetite!