The game also includes a decent counter attack system that is fueled b a correctly timed right bumper press. The game will tutor you along the way in terms of the correct countering techniques. You will want to time your bumper press along with the strike of your opponent; the game will notify of your timing errors if you happen to fail on the counter execution. The game tells you whether or not you pressed the button too early or too late. You will need to pay attention to the animation and style of your opponent’s attack though as the timing will differ depending on the attack that is coming at you. As you land successful attacks and counter-attacks on your opponent, you will gain points that measure / equate to the reaction of the crowd. The points, along with taunts, build up a meter of stars located under your lucha's name; once all of the stars he been filled you can trigger your signature move. Signature moves are initiated by pressing both trigger buttons; once “triggered” you simply need to engage your opponent with a strong grapple and your character will complete their strongest (signature) move. Nailing one of these moves on your opponent usually gives you the best chance to successfully pin your opponent and win the match; it doesn’t guarantee a victory though as a strong opponent can still kick out before the refs hand hits the canvas on three.
Lucha Libre AAA also relies on various button pressing-style mini games for its submission and pinning systems. Both moves, submissions and pins, are initiated with the press of either trigger button, but the opponent will then be given a chance to break such a hold. When it comes to submission and pin moves, the wrestler on the receiving end of the move will be given a prompt to rapidly tap a certain face button. This button will change every couple of seconds, so you will be required to pay close attention to the required button at any given time; pounding on any button different than the one being requested will only swing the momentum further into your opponent’s favor. Swinging the momentum over to your direction with the correct presses though will allow you to not only break out of the situation, but potentially counter the said move with your own attack. The combination of all of these elements creates a gameplay system plays out well over the course of a match. The momentum system helps to keep a nice “flow” going and helps players craft a dramatic performance with their opponent that creates and interesting match that is often as exciting to watch as it is the play out.
While the gameplay system itself works well from a control aspect, the game does suffer a slight setback with the collision detection when it comes to combat near the edge of the ring. Many of your stronger strikes completed near the ropes will launch your opponent out of the ring. This can be an effective tool in many occasions, but the game often send the opponent out of the ring when you don’t want them to go. The animations involved with said ring exits are often quite awkward, as the characters just seem to flop out of the ring. There is little to no grace involved with such a ring exit and it just looks bad. The same thing could be said, to a slightly lesser degree, with aeriel moves performed from the top rope(s). This is a sad fault in the game considering that the lucha libre style of wrestling focuses rather heavily on aerial assault moves. There are a lot of wrestlers in the game that have high-flying arsenals, so, theoretically, you would think that the aerial combat system would be as refined as the grappling and base gameplay system. Sadly this isn’t the case. The moves and aerial abilities are there, but it just looks sloppy in many cases and ruins the flow and feel of the matches. Granted, many may consider this to be a minor gripe in the big picture of things but I found myself bothered by it and was left to wonder just how great things could have been had they nailed the aerial aspect of the game.
Gamers will put these techniques and gameplay together in a wide variety of modes including both single and multiplayer options. Lucha Libre AAA includes the following game modes: Pride Battle (exhibition), King of Kings (tournament), online matchmaking, training mode (learn the basics as well as advanced techniques), and Story Mode (career campaign). Sadly, the online mode was not available in the preview build of the game that I have been playing. While the Pride and King of Kings modes are pretty self explanatory, the story mode deserves a little bit more of an explanation. Story Mode is the key to unlocking additional playable characters in the game (roster details will be discussed below) as special videos about the AAA promotion that can be viewed from the options menus. There are two separate campaigns to play through, one for the Tecnicos and one for the Rudos. You will play through a majority of the story mode using an original luchador that you will create when you start the mode; there will be points in time during the story’s progress where you will be given control as one of the existing luchadors in the game. The game features a really good character creation mode that allows you to build your own wrestler form the ground up. You will get a chance to customize everything about your character from their name, outfits, Tecnicos / Rudos alignment, and wide variety of moves and attacks. The best aspect of the character creation mode is the extensive mask options included in the editor. Masks are a huge deal in the world of lucha libre wrestling and Lucha Libre AAA gives you a rather large assortment of mask options that allows you to create your own, custom mask(s). Players will choose from a wide variety of base options for their masks but then go on to tweaks the colors throughout the mask, accenting the various details, and to customize a wide variety of details including the eyes, mouth, and accessories including horns and attachments to make your mask bigger and more fearsome.
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