WWE All Stars: Inside the ring

WWE All Stars: Inside the ring

Boys want combat. Look no further than video gaming entertainment for proof that battling sells. Call of Duty, Halo, Resident Evil, Dead Island – these are games of warfare and survival. Add to this list the physical combat game WWE All Stars.

My 10-year-old became fixated on the game a few weeks ago. Because the THQ creation is rated “T” for Teen, I was hesitant to purchase the game and rented it for review first. Purchase price for a used game is $35-$45, and it’s available for the Playstation, Wii, Nintendo 3DS and Xbox 360. We played on the Xbox 360.

Wrestling has always put me in a sleeper hold, so I wasn’t excited about what I consider mindless body slamming. My kid, on the other hand, was elated and couldn’t wait to play.

As expected, a full lineup of beefy characters are presented. There, in an extensive roster of wrestling legends and current superstars, players are categorized into four groups — acrobat, brawler, big man and grappler. Even non-wrestling folks like me will recognize a few of the contenders like Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant. Legends and superstars are combined — John Cena, The Rock, Bret Hart, Rey Mysterio, Triple H, John Morrison, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Big Show, Kofi Kingston and Sheamus, to name a few — for fast moving fantasy play.

Character selection allows players to create great matches between the most competitive wrestlers. Each wrestler has physical attributes as well as distinctive moves, techniques and stylized appearance. Strategy is based on wrestler selection. In order to see the attributes of players, click the “Y” button on the 360. Determine if you want a player who can deliver strike, strike, grapple combos repeatedly like a brawler or the ability to read and perform aerial jumps like an acrobat. Pick two grapplers or a brawler and grappler or an acrobat and a big man and let the high-flying, hard-hitting action begin.

Game play is arcade-like and intuitive, with simple selections and controller maneuvering. Even those of us confused by multi-joystick gaming can manipulate All Stars. Repeatedly clicking the “A” for attack goes a long way!

Inside the virtual ring, players deliver signature moves that made those of us in the real world hoot and holler. Sheamus delivers the high cross and the opponent flips and slams down. John Cena comes back with a powerslam from the second rope followed by a dropkick. Both players recover quickly. There’s little delay in play when someone goes down.

As the crashing and bashing sounds made from the power punching, reversals, flips, running leaps, elbow smashes and head butts continue for what seems like days, commentators excitedly detail the match and fans cheer, ohh and ahh. There are varying sound options to limit or maximize your wrestling experience.

Matches can be paused and resumed.

There is no cursing, no blood, no guts and not even any ring divas. The “T” rating is designated for this game due to the violence of the fighting, even though it’s very fantasy like. The jumping and flying create more of a cartoon effect than a real wrestling match; it’s so extraordinarily exaggerated. In the end, there is clearly a winner with a countdown. That much is realistic.

WWE All Stars is one of more than 20 wrestling games created by THQ, a giant in game development. All Stars is fairly new, released this year with another game – WWE 12 – for the 3DS.

Wrestling enthusiasts, mild observers and those of us who’d rather read a book than watch can all enjoy the play of this game to some extent. The realistic showboating of the famous competitors, authentically detailed to their costuming and signature moves to the skill required to move in and try to body slam them before they head butt you is entertaining, especially for the younger set. My 10-year-old son loves it; it’s likely other double-digit males will also.