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WWE All Stars hands-on preview

We can't think of any wrestling title that lets itself get influenced by Japanese 2D fighting games as much as WWE All Stars does. In fact, there's even juggling - not an excessive Guilty Gear degree of juggling, but enough to make the WWE gaming faithful raise an eyebrow with an intensity that would make The Rock blush.

Above: Snap those Slim Jims fans, The Macho Man has returned!

This arcade-inspired shake-up brings with it a feature that gives the game its "All Stars" title: a long overdue intergenerational crossover roster. Now Bret Hart and Ricky Steamboat can take on the likes of Kofi Kingston and Sheamus. An even bigger deal is that it marks the first time “Macho Man” Randy Savage has appeared in a videogame since 2004.

WWE All Stars does an amusing job in conveying the sizes of the larger wrestlers by cutting off the top of their heads in the fighter selection screen. Moreover, with great girth comes the likelihood that wrestlers of smaller stature might have amusing animation issues with Andre the Giant and The Big Show. At one point we managed to get Kofi Kingston to pin down Andre, except much of Kofi’s chest and stomach were literally immersed in Andre’s belly.

Of course this crossover would be wasted if the fighting was crap. The arcade direction that THQ has taken is a big risk. Knowing that they might alienate fans with this style of gameplay, THQ San Diego has packed the game with this laundry list of moves. Here are some notable and familiar maneuvers:

• Charged Strike
• Climb Turnbuckle (yeah, we’d be worried if this wasn’t in here)
• Search for Object (does this include very small wrestlers?)
• Counter Strike
• Counter Grab
• Reversal
• Signature Move
• Signature Move (Alt)
• Finisher
• Kick out of Pin
• Running Strong Strike
• Running Quick Grab
• Irish Whip
• Target Next Opponent

Next Opponent? Yeah, we can't confirm 100%, but we're optimistic that we'll get some tag team in the game.

If you are on the receiving end (and you will be) there will be every opportunity to counter any move in the game, including the signature and finisher moves. If that weren’t enough, almost every move in the game has a reversal, not to mention reversals of reversals.