THQ is famous for producing the popular Smackdown series. It is one of the most realistic translations of WWE to date! However, gamers are starting to feel a sense of “been there, done that” disposition as the Smackdown vs Raw’s legacy is in the last leg of its championship reign. You might wonder how long can Smackdown keep up its potentials before it runs out of room to grow, especially as UFC gains ground. After all, the series has had a successful campaign for the last four years and might have reached its peak. Not that we are counting THQ out but we are very pleased with its latest offering called WWE Allstars. If you thought wrestling couldn’t get any more interesting, think again! THQ is giving players a whole new way of pounding and slamming your favorite superstars down on the mat. WWE Allstars an over-the-top melee that both old school and new generation of wrestling will love.
The game can be best described as a toned down version of Smackdown vs Raw. It runs along the line of the 80’s smash hits Saturday Night Slam Masters and Royal Rumble that we used to play at the arcades. The characters are huge and the action is epic! One of the most fulfilling experiences in the game is being able to relive those dramatic moves that made legends like Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Jimmy “Super Fly” Snuka” and several other wrestlers a Hollywood name. The controls are simple and the presentation is superb in a corky way. The sequences on the screen have a lot of depth thanks to the game’s sleek mechanics, which include chaining grapples, charged attacks, etc. The animation is spot on but what is great about the gameplay is that each character has retained his iconic signatures and finishers, from Macho Man Randy Savage’s super elbow drop to Undertaker’s infamous tombstone pile-driver.
Wrestling moves are easy to pull-off and it’s fun to link them at the end of a combo. Setting up these different types of attacks give players a sense of beat-them-up arcade antics like Sega’s Streets of Rage, where there is a lot of button-smashing and less on tactical assault. This is a wrestling game after all. We expect plenty of fast-paced, exciting actions, and THQ has delivered that message exceedingly. The only time the game even hints a strategy is when you perform counters, which can be challenging in many occasions. Speaking of challenges, WWE Allstars is not an easy task. Computer opponents are cheap at the default difficulty level and it gets worse as you go up a notch. The match suddenly becomes “a game of reversals” when the computer is in its last bar of health. You can just imagine how frustrating it is to finish off an opponent with a finisher when you are always getting countered.
Both signature moves and finishers involve two-button pressing. Though the controls are quite responsive with respect to the traditional beat downs, you cannot always count on getting the super moves executed on time as pressing two buttons at once don’t often register accurately. It’s even more complicated when you try to employ a finishing move because wrestlers go through a “showboating” phase before unleashing the knockout blow. If you get hit during the showboating, you will lose your hard-earned finisher right away. So make sure you have plenty of time and space to gather your finishing move. It would be nice if THQ could map the special maneuvers to the right analog stick, and combine the showboating and finishing move into one sequence instead of forcing gamers to charge their finishers first.
In the graphics department, the game is visually appealing. There are a number of elaborate fireworks that make the action in the ring come alive. For example, each time you perform a signature move, your character go into matrix sequence, and catches rage to commit the ultimate and most devastating slam on your opponent. The game also features great representation of WWE’s famous and legendary icons, complete with their signature outfits, exaggerated physique, and bad-ass attitude. Thanks to the sleek animation and great sound quality, every punch, kick, and slam deliver a punishing blow. You can feel the smacks and heavy combat off the screen right to your face. THQ truly captures the grit and glory of the old WWE days, and thrown in the excitement of today’s world of wrestling. WWE Allstars is a great action brawler overall. It’s engaging, nostalgic, and the ability to team up with another player provides hours of entertainment value. A definite must have for WWE fans!