WWE All Stars hands-on preview

Want to pull off a signature move? That involves filling up one of three small bars, each indicated with a star. Successful hits help a great deal in filling these up and executing a signature move involves pressing two controller buttons. A separate Finish bar fills up as well, enabling the player to end the match with a ridiculous finishing move, complete with light-bleeding flare.

In addition to the listed moves are numerous combos which themselves can be chained to a series of complex but effective assaults. You also need to consider each wrestler’s fighting style as some have their own special series of combos.

The fighting styles are broken down into four familiar classes:

• Andre the Giant and The Big Show are classified as The Big Men.
• John Morrison, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Kofi Kingston, and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat are part of the Acrobat class. They might have lower HP but they make up for it with speed and adept use of the turnbuckle.
• For the Grapplers, there’s Triple H and Bret Hart. They tend to get in your face and can deal a lot of damage with grapple moves. Grapplers also have additional pin states that others don’t have as they can pin from a running attack.
• The likes of John Cena, The Rock, Sheamus make up the Brawlers. They like to strike fast and have some of the best chains in the game, not to mention charge attacks.

Above: Captain Morgan impression in effect. What a show off

In the very limited build we tried out, each menu teased us with yet-to-be-announced moves, arenas, characters, and modes all obscured with question marks. If each placeholder is meant to obscure actual features, it's surprising that THQ would withhold these with only two months before the game’s planned March 29th release. You'd think they could have gone the Marvel vs Capcom 3 route with calculated and staggered reveals. If those question marks are accurate placeholders, then you’re looking at a minimum of 30 characters.

THQ was able to confirm that All Stars will feature a Create-A-Wrestler mode, online play, and a number of DLC wrestler releases including Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase.

Above: “This is gonna hurt me more than it’s gonna hurt you.” Wait, who’s talking?

THQ has been very open about bringing in fighting ideas from all over the place, referencing everything from Fight Night to Street Fighter IV. It’s still too early to say whether the WWE devoted will take to this; at least it’s not meant as a replacement to Smackdown vs Raw, as All-Stars is designed to complement THQ’s flagship wrestling series. As one studio rep described to us, “Think of WWE All Stars as what a kid re-imagines WWE to be days after having attended a WWE match.” We don’t know if such a spoon-fed description was what we were looking for, but you get the idea.

Jan 28, 2011