The pro-wrestling genre these days is pretty dominated by the WWE SmackDown games, with little in the way of competition. A couple years back TNA Wrestling gave it shot, but thanks to its publisher closing and it not being very good, SmackDown has gone unchallenged ever since. Well no longer, as a new challenger is crossing the border to challenge the champ, in the form of Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes of the Ring.
For those unaware, Lucha Libre is the Mexican-style of wrestling, which tends to be a little faster and full of high-flying moves than its American counterpart and AAA – short for Asistencia Asesoría y Administración – is one of Mexico’s biggest federations. The game seems to reflect that style when we played, with everything staying pretty fast-paced in the ring, with grapples and strikes going off pretty quickly. It also embraced the lucha style of acrobatic moves, with lots of dives outside of the ring and top rope attacks, and had the usual array of foreign objects (folding chairs, florescent light tubes) outside the hexagonal ring.
Though SmackDown does have a big enough create-a-wrestler that making your own luchador in that game wouldn’t be too hard, this is the first game made to reflect not only that style of wrestling, but also the feel of the events and TV shows. Not only is this a bilingual game, with the choice of Spanish or English commentary, but it seems a lot of care was taken in recreating the arenas, wrestler entrances and other little touches for fans of AAA.
The roster is also filled with many of AAA’s top stars, though to be honest, most aren’t well known in America (yet). Though longtime US wrestling fans may see some familiar faces, such as Psicosis, La Parka and Konan, even the unfamiliar ones are striking in appearance and beg your attention, such as Zombie Clown and the caliente Elegido. Unlike the relatively realistic characters in WWE, AAA’s bevy of strange characters play up the more fictional nature of the "sport."
But even if none of the real wrestlers are your favorite, there’s still a deep-looking set of options for a created wrestler. There’s a big collection of colorful costumes and moves to work with to make your own luchador. And not only does that luchador get used in both the good and evil storylines (or tecnicos and rudas in Spanish), but in the online battles as well.
All in all, we were impressed with what we saw, and hope to only see Lucha Libre AAA improve before its planned August release. It has quite a test ahead of it trying to compete with the very well established SmackDown games, but if there’s one thing wrestling fans like it’s a good underdog story.
Apr 9, 2010