Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Vision: WWE All-Stars

WWE All-Stars
Developed by THQ San Diego
Published by THQ
for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, PSP, Playstation 2
Released March 29th, 2011

In the first edition of My Vision, I take the over the top WWE game and turn it into something that I, as a wrestling fan, would have been proud of. WWE All-Stars began as a step in the right direction. It gave fans the ability to pit current superstars and legends against each other in a digital squared circle. It brought the fans an almost cartoonish, larger than life interpretation of the WWE programming that we knew and loved as children. It also brought back the retro gameplay and health meters featured in wrestling games of the past. It should have been the greatest video game tribute to the WWE ever released but in the end it didn't quite meet up with the hype.

What Went Wrong?:
So, why didn't this game meet my expectations. All of the factors were there that would have made All-Stars an absolute blast; only if they were fleshed out a bit more. There were a limited number of matches to perform in, a boring and unnecessarily long story mode, and most importantly repetitive and sometimes awkward gameplay. I should have loved All-Stars but instead I'm constantly thinking of how I would have made the game much much better not only for myself but for any wrestling fan.

The Graphics:
I loved the action figure like, anatomically defying muscular character models of All-Stars. Aside from the poorly detailed fans, what I didn't like were some of their animations. Why would Kane show of his physique by doing push ups on his downed opponent? Or why would Jake Roberts, or The Undertaker do it for that matter. It's like they gave everyone a set of victory poses and didn't think of the superstars that would be performing them. I would have had unique and signature victory poses; Randy Orton heading to the top rope with his arms spread out, Undertaker doing his signature darkness kneel, Hulk Hogan trying to listen to the fans cheer him on as if he were deaf.

Seriously, why don't any of the wrestlers have unique victory poses!? I'm baffled by this.
It would be a nice touch if they had included numerous different titantrons. For example, they could have Edge's current titantron depicting him as the Rated R superstar but also a titantron showing him with Edge and Christian from the past or even one of the Brood. Of course, this would really only apply to the Superstars as some of the Legends didn't even have titantrons.

Alternate costumes. There should have been way more alternate costumes than what is offered in the game (most of which being palette swaps of their main attire.) I loved how they had unmasked Kane and old masked Kane but how about more. How about half masked Kane or the first Kane with one arm exposed. How awesome would it be to have a black and white Hollywood Hogan alt costume. Just take every important persona the wrestlers went through and put them in the game. My eyes are watering from the pure excitement of seeing The Ringmaster Stone Cold and the American Badass Undertaker (with customary bike entrance).

Now for the arenas. The number of playable arenas in All-Stars is simply pitiful. If you're going for over the top, cram as many venues as possible. Get all of the versions of the Raw and Smackdown! arenas, as many notable PPV venues such as Summerslam, Royal Rumble, or Survivor Series (at least), and every Wrestlemania arena to date. Hey, maybe even throw in Nitro or Bash at the Beach (or even the Hammerstein Ballroom of ECW fame). Now that's thinking of the fans.

Damage wear on the wrestlers and the ring itself would be an awesome touch as well.

Much like the titantrons, why can't we have various versions of each wrestlers theme music. How about including both of John Cena's theme songs "My Time is Now" and "Basic Thuganomics." Or maybe Triple H's "Blue Blood" and "My Time" instead of just "The Game."
Now I understand that you can't get all of the actual wrestlers to play themselves but at least make them all sound different when they're being given a submission. They could even hire people to play late legends such as Andre the Giant or even use archived sounds.

I would keep most of the wrestling intact. I would maybe increase the room for reversals (not by much). It may also make the matches more intense if a player that has no more health left to be able to recover up to one full bar over time. This would make the gameplay more varied instead of the simple signature, signature, reversal, signature, finisher that plagues almost every match.

Story mode is a mess. Story mode consists of ten matches where you end up fighting either Randy Orton, The Undertaker, or DX. It's awesome how after every few matches they show a cutscene of the respective "final boss" giving a speech about how your journey to the WWE Championship (or tag championship) is futile. Unfortunately, the "journey" takes forever with too many uninspired matches that are either rushed single matches or triple threat matches. There's rarely a cage match thrown in. Instead of the whole fighting for the belt idea, I thought it would be best to take each superstar and go through their career. They would have a set matches, against set opponents, and then face a designated final opponent. Taking Rey Mysterio for example, the first match could be a singles match from his days in the AAA (or a no DQ match in the ECW if there is some legal issues). This would take him to high flying matches against Eddie Guerrero in the WCW, all the way up to his triple threat match at Wrestlemania 22 against Randy Orton and Kurt Angle where he won the World Heavyweight Championship. After each match there would be live action clips of his career that would introduce each match to come. Or how about the Heartbreak Kid with his first match in the late 80's to him winning the WWE title against Bret Hart to his final match against The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 26. It would bring a much needed boost of fan service to a game that is in designed for it.

It would be a nice touch to be able to reverse Finishers if the opponent has a Finisher ready to go. Each special would have its own unique animation (Such as Stone Cold catching Shawn Michael's leg from the Sweet Chin Music and spinning him around for the Stone Cold Stunner.)

And for God's sake, more damn matches. I want ladder matches, table matches, TLC matches, Hell in the Cell matches, Iron Man matches, Bra and Panties matches (if we would actually add some Divas), Elimination Chambers, Royal Rumble, First Blood matches, Casket matches, inferno matches, buried alive matches, ambulance matches, I Quit matches, Last Man Standing matches, hardcore matches. COME ON GET WITH THE PROGRAM THQ!!!!!!

I would keep the Dream Matches just add more  wrestlers than the small amount that is present in the actual game.

I have so many ideas for All-Stars. I absolutely love wrestling and I have the greatest respect for all of the performers who put their bodies on the line when they enter the ring. To me wrestling is a physical art form that cannot be mimicked. It's like a live action comic book with larger than life human beings playing the roles of villains and heroes in (sometimes) exquisite story lines. There's a reason why I've been a fan of wrestling non-stop for 13 years. The performances, the music, the writing, the characters, and the atmosphere are combined in such a way that I have yet to find a media form that can match its electrifying feel that the WWE and other wrestling promotions have given their fans for generations. Alas, my dreams for the perfect wrestling game stay within my head (unless THQ or the WWE wanted to hire me then I would be more than happy to quit whatever McJob I have and go work for Vinnie Mac.)

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