- Publisher: THQ
- Developer: THQ San Diego
- ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
- Genre: Wrestling
- Pros: Great roster; fun gameplay; nice and over the top; wild visual style
- Cons: Limited move lists; lack of match types; cage matches suck; commentary; DLC plan
WWE All Stars is sort of a dream match scenario where you can pit current WWE Superstars against WWE Legends. Current stars like HHH, Randy Orton, John Cena, The Miz, CM PUnk, and more can face off against Legends like The Rock, Stone Cold, Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Roddy Piper, Ultimate Warrior, Macho Man Randy Savage (first time in a looooong time Savage is in a wrestling game) and more. The roster is pretty great, all in all.
We love that the roster is kind of lean and mean and is mostly guys you'll actually want to use. There are 30 characters on the disc, many that you have to unlock, and just about all of them are worthy. It isn't full of mid-carders like the SvR lineup.
As much as we like the roster, we aren't fond of THQ's plans for DLC with the game. Another dozen or so wrestlers are planned as DLC, including Chris Jericho (my personal favorite, so I'm kind of bitter he isn't on the disc). Charging a full $60 MSRP when 1/4 of the roster is extra DLC doesn't quite add up.
Most time spent with wrestling games is in exhibition and multiplayer anyway, though, which is definitely where All Stars shines. Multiplayer is local or Xbox Live and works just as you'd expect. There is also a full Create-A-Wrestler feature that, thanks to the distorted visual style of the game, results in CAWs that actually look decent side by side with the "real" characters.
Match types are also a little bare bones. There are normal matches including elimination and handicap variations, tornado tag matches (no actual tags, everyone fights at the same time), extreme rules, and cage matches. All matches allow for up to 4 characters. And that's it. No TLC. No Hell in a Cell. No Royal Rumble. And with the gameplay style in All Stars, the gimmick matches would have been awesome. Instead we just get an awful version of a cage match (get to top of cage and have to stop a moving meter 5 times to escape ... boring).
What sets All Stars apart is that the super moves are all over the top. The wrestlers jump ten feet in the air to do a body slam or can easily jump all the way across the ring off the turnbuckle. Everything is super high-impact, and very satisfying. You can also juggle opponents in mid-air with strikes. Catch opponents in mid-air with grapples. And you can chain different grappling moves together to create crazy results. There are also some great reversal chains that you can get into that are just awesome. When everything works, WWE All Stars is amazing to watch.
The characters are split into 4 gameplay classes - Acrobat, Big Man, Brawler, and Grappler - each with unique moves. They feel different from each other, but wrestlers within the same class all sort of feel the same. The game isn't exactly deep.
WWE All Stars looks pretty crazy. All of the wrestlers are super beefed up far beyond reality and look pretty cartoonish. That is the point, though, and there is a definite charm to the over the top visuals. The animation is mostly pretty good. For the most part the sound is also well done, with all of the theme music in place, but the voice acting in Path of Champions is awful. Also, the match commentary from JR and the King is extremely repetitive and just plain bad.
In the end, WWE All Stars is a fun game that is just a little bit lacking in terms of content. It doesn't have a ton of modes. It doesn't have many match types. And the move lists are pretty short. It is just shallow. It is a ton of fun while it lasts, but you'll see everything the game has to offer all too quickly. WWE All Stars is a solid (and highly recommended) rental, but I'd wait for a price drop on a purchase.