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WWE Legends of WrestleMania review

THQ's retro smackdown yields mixed results

And with this simplified-by-design control scheme comes repetition, the foundation for most of our qualms with Legends. Yes, your move set is separated into a three-tier structure. Deal enough damage in a match and you move from Tier 1 to Tier 2, enabling more grapple attacks. Going from Tier 2 to Tier 3 enables signature attacks including your finisher. But your move set never feels robust and only slightly different from your opponent’s.

The clumsiest portions of the matches are the chain battles that stem from these grapples. Chain battle is a fancy term for quick-time events, which occur often. Random strong grapples and Irish whips lead into a period where you and your opponent race to hit a face button that appears. If you’ve initiated the attack, the move continues, leading to the next button indicator. However, if your opponent hits the button before you, the move is reversed in his favor. Yeah, that seems kind of cool until you realize just how many times control of the match is taken out of your hands and placed in a quick-time event. Matches become bits of action split up by playable cutscenes. It’s irritating and it’ll happen all the live-long day.

Above: Sadly, not a playable character

The flip side – and the time we get all positive – about the simplified controls are how they work within the two major gameplay modes, WrestleMania Tour and Legend Killer. In WM Tour, you choose between three sub-modes: Relive, Rewrite and Redefine. These modes enable you to fight through a series of matches that reenact classic WrestleMania matches with pre-defined stipulations. In Relive, play as the winner of the WM bout and attempt to recreate history. In Rewrite, play as the loser of the bout and… well, you should get it. And Redefine adds a crazy-ass stipulation to the proceedings: Andre the Giant vs Big John Studd from WM1 inside a Hell in the Cell? Sure!

Anyway, each match gives you a number of optional stipulations to perform and earn points. Earn enough and you win a medal for the match, which usually unlocks something else in the game like a hidden costume. See, instead of breezing through the matches, you’ll want to fulfill every stip. And they get increasingly difficult as you progress in each mode. They’ll go from “Perform a Strong Grapple” to “Reverse Two finishers” – a really tough task, because you knowingly have to let your opponent attempt two finishers on you. Screw up and you can lose the match. This medal collecting adds incredible replayability to Legends and had us repeatedly retrying matches we had already won in order to unlock everything.

More Info

DescriptionTHQ’s retro smackdown yields mixed results: quick-time event-heavy controls get tiresome, but replaying matches and going after unlockables kept us busy.
Franchise nameWWE
UK franchise nameWWE
PlatformXbox 360, PS3
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor ratingRating Pending
Release date24 March 2009 (US), 20 March 2009 (UK)