Gamingring.com reviews the legendary wrestling game from THQ
WWE Legends of Wrestlemania is the newest wrestling game published by WWE Smackdown vs Raw series publisher THQ and does a excellent job of capturing the glory days of the WWE. As a long time wrestling fan, I happened to either watch or lucky enough to be there in person for some of Wrestlemania’s biggest moments. I remember watching Hulk Hogan challenge King Kong Bundy in a steel cage match at Wrestlemania 2. While I wasn’t lucky enough to watch the match in person at the Los Angeles Sports Arena I was there at the Cobo Arena in Detroit watching the event on closed circuit. Now keep in mind this was 24 years ago and before pay per view was even around. I was there in person at the Pontiac Silverdome when the 8th wonder of the world Andre The Giant challenged Hulk Hogan for the WWF/E title in front of 93,000 screaming people. One of the things that I remember most about the event was how small the ring looked from where I sat but also how the crowds energy level was unlike anything I have ever experienced since. When Hulk Hogan bodyslammed Andre The Giant that moment resonated throughout the Wrestling world. And with WWE Legends of Wrestlemania you will be able to relive those moments. So when THQ announced WWE Legends of Wrestlemania I was certainly excited about the prospect of reliving some of those great classic moments. THQ decided to take LOWM 2 steps further where besides reliving those great moments you can also either redefine or rewrite those moments. In the Wrestlemania tour mode you will be able to participate in key matches from Wrestlemania 1 to Wrestlemania 15. The game features over 1 hour of classic WWE footage that helps set up the matches, explain the feuds and detail the rivalries behind them. A great way of introducing the newer wrestling fan to the WWE legends that set the stage for todays WWE Superstars. The other major single player mode is the legend killer mode where you face a sequence of 10 opponents .
Graphically, WWE Legends of Wrestlemania is very impressive. The game features 40 larger than life WWE legends whose character models are bright and colorful. The models have a stylish larger than life look and the lighting and pyro effects in the 16 different arenas look impressive. Stylistically the games characters are much more exaggerated than those of its Smackdown vs Raw 2009 counterpart. THQ did market research of this game showing that wrestling fans memories of the WWE superstars of the past was much larger than they were in real life. Which really does differentiate between the 2 WWE video game franchises. Some of the animations are not as smooth as I would like in the transitions between the moves but for the most part LOWM is a graphical showpiece. I did have a chance to spend some time with both the PS3 and Xbox 360 version of the game and essentially both games are the same. However Graphically the PS3 colors seem to be washed out while the Xbox 360 version is much more colorful and brighter.
Gameplay is very similar to the classic arcade wrestling game WWF Wrestlefest. The gameplay is also very different from the more simulation based WWE Smackdown vs Raw series. As such, I expect that there will be some of you who will not care for the gameplay in LOWM. The game harkens back to day of fast paced arcade style gameplay. The controls are significantly streamlined. The game utilizes the four face buttons and the left stick to control and move. The controls are responsive and very easy to learn and pick up. As you execute moves against your opponent during the match, your chain level increases. With each new chain level you achieve, you can then execute increasingly powerful grappling attacks. Each of the legends in the game has 2 levels of quick grapples and 3 levels of strong grapples in their arsenal. Starting a chain gives you a chance to build your chain level but your opponent also has a chance to reverse the chain and turn the tide against you. Once a chain begins both opponents need to pay attention to the button commands on the HUD. If you can press the button faster than your opponent you will have a chance to continue the chain but if your opponent is faster on the button than you will be the done dealt the damage. When your legend is on the ground you have to rapidly tap or hold the 4 face buttons to fill the meter on your HUD. Once the meter is full your Legend is back in the match. Another cool addition this year is the way taunts are done. A well placed taunt can change the course of the match. Each legends has 5 taunts and each of those taunts gives your legend a perk. For example, one taunt gives you a 25% increase of health or the ability where your irreversible for 10 seconds. I was very impressed with the game once I took a moment with the tutorials to learn the games controls. I also commend THQ and Yukes in going with this direction. Everyone knows that if THQ just decided to release a WWE Smackdown vs Raw engine with Legends that the game would still sell like hot cakes. But by actually putting effort on creating a entirely new game play experience in Legends of Wrestlemania THQ/Yukes should be commended. While the game play isn’t entirely perfect, I still have some difficulty kicking out of pins on a consistent basis and I had a issue when my legends health was already down to 0 that once your opponent locks in a submission hold the match is basically over no matter how hard and how fast you press the buttons.
The game features 11 match type and some of the match types have different variations that you can choose after selecting the match type. The match types in the game is Single, Steel Cage, Ladder, Hell in a Cell, Iron Man, Submission, Tag Team, Triple Threat, Battle Royal, Handicap, and the Royal Rumble. THQ and Yukes have made changes and improvements to the match types. And for that the changes are positive. I definitely enjoyed the new additions to the Hell in the cell match and ladder match particularly. The commentary is handled by Hall of Famers Jim Ross, and the King Jerry Lawler. Which unfortunately can be repetitive after some time playing this game. I do enjoy the fact that the commentators give facts and details on the legends in the ring.
The create a legend mode is essentially the same as WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009 which gives you the added benefit of importing your create a superstars from that game into this game. You have 30 CAL slots to do so. They did add over 100 different parts to help recreate legends that were not in the game for particular reasons. You also have the ability like in WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009 to edit your ring entrances complete with your own custom music.
With the storied history of WWE and pro wrestling as a whole there are so many legends that truly deserve to be in this game and I can understand that some of the most requested legends for whatever particular reason simply can’t be in this game. The legends that are in the game do deserve to be there but I still have a chance of what type of game Legends of Wrestlemania could be. I won’t be complaining about the included default roster however I simply want more. With the WWE being really the sole wrestling company in North America the responsibility of preserving the history and heritage of Pro Wrestling/Sports Entertainment falls into their hands. And Legends of Wrestlemania could have been such a game to help do that. While it does indeed do that to a extent it could have been much greater. Is it to much to ask for THQ to add Randy and Bill Mulkey to the roster if this series continues.
One huge feature in this game is the connectivity between WWE LOWM and WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009. Basically if you have a SVR09 game save on your hard drive you can import almost the entire roster of that game into WWE Legends of Wrestlemania. This gives LOWM the largest roster in the history of WWE video games. With over 100 superstars/legends there is plenty of variety to be hand in that regard.
All in all, WWE Legends of Wrestlemania is a excellent game. It looks fantastic, and it plays great. With the large roster and the new improvements to the match types it gives wrestling gamers a very different experience than what is found in WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009. For those long time wrestling fans such as myself, WWE LOWM offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy and relive some of the greatest moments in Wrestlemania all over again.
Huge roster with connectivity to WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009
Graphics are bright and colorful and look sharp
Controls are easy to pick up and learn
Wrestlemania Tour mode is very well done and worth the price of admission alone
New game play additions to match types Royal Rumble/HIAC/Ladder
Color palette on PS3 seems washed out compared to 360 version
Missing legends that should have been in the game
Controls and plays very differently from WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009
Commentary can be repetitive
Gameplay – 4
Graphics – 5
Sound – 4
Value – 4
Overall 4 out of 5 stars
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