On top of the standard match, WWE All-Stars has a few intriguing modes perfect for both single- and multiplayer matches. The game features a ten-level arcade mode, called Path of Champions. In this mode you choose a wrestler to take on a number of increasingly difficult challenges. It starts out simple enough (a one-on-one battle, for example), but before long you'll have to fight two and three people at once. It mixes in steel cage matches, tornado matches and more. Best of all, the game comes with several different paths to follow, so it won't feel like you're playing the same arcade mode over and over again.
Another interesting mode is called Fantasy Warfare. Here you'll be able to fight dream matches, including events wrestling fans have been arguing about their entire life. Who would win in a battle between Andrew the Giant and The Big Show? Now you can find out when you take these two beasts and pit them against each other. Find out who the most American wrestler is with the Sgt. Slaughter vs. Jack Swagger match-up. Think Hulk Hogan is the biggest WWE superstar? John Cena may have something to say about that.
Obviously you can pit these fighters against each other in a normal exhibition match, but Fantasy Warfare adds a lot of ambience and context to the fight. Before each bout players are treated to a lengthy introduction created by the WWE. These vignettes include old footage mixed together to show off the best of both wrestlers, ultimately adding the atmosphere you need for such a legendary fight. Even I, a non-wrestling fan, couldn't help but get excited about these match-ups. There's a level of polish to this mode that will surely impress both wrestling fans and novices alike.
Not impressed by the characters already in the roster? Fear not, because WWE All-Stars allows players to create their own wrestling superstar. While I had no problem creating a generic wrestler, I was impressed by what some of the THQ staff had come up with. Not only were people able to create famous people throughout history (such as Gandhi), but I also saw impressive recreations of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and one of those Orcs from World of WarCraft. There's also room for downloadable characters, though nobody was talking about this plans at the event.
WWE All-Stars may feel different from the past games, but it still retains the presentation you expect from the license. The game still has wrestler introductions (though they have been shortened, so as not to affect the game's quick pacing), voice acting from the wrestlers and the real signature moves you see from week to week. Everything is over-the-top, but not in a way that makes it look ridiculous. This is the type of game my non-wrestling friends would take notice of, which is just about the biggest compliment I can give.
Interestingly enough, the only version of WWE All-Stars playable at the time was for the Xbox 360. Even after asking a few different developers, nobody seemed ready to confirm the existence of a non-Xbox version. Thankfully I don't have to guess about this, because THQ has already confirmed installments on the PlayStation 3, Wii, PSP and even the PlayStation 2. Will these versions ship with the Xbox 360 game I played? I guess we'll find out when the game drops on March 29th. In the meantime, take a look at these new screens and feel free to ask me questions in the comments below. If you're a fan of fast-paced fighting games and have an affinity for sweaty wrestlers, then this is one game to keep your eye on.
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