Legends of Wrestlemania (360)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Graphics: 8.50
Sound: 8.50
Gameplay: 6.00
Replays: 6.00
Gamelength: 7.00

“Legends of Wrestlemania” is the ultimate piece of fan service for fans of oldschool wrestling.

Andre the giant, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker; all of those guys and far, far more are included in this collection of historical figures. If you remember the good ol’ days, this is surely a nod in your general direction. Oldschool wrestling fans unite, for your time has come, thanks to good ol’ THQ. No classic wrestling game has ever been so complete by comparison to this. Prepare to relive history in “Legends of WrestleMania” for the Xbox 360.

As one would expect, the visual quality is the best you’ll find anywhere in a wrestling game. It’s directly on par with “Smackdown vs. Raw 2009” and as far as I can tell, it even uses the same engine. The audience, pyrotechnics and wrestlers are all equally gorgeous and to top the whole thing off, it runs with a rock solid frame rate. The animations of wrestlers when they use their special moves and taunts are top notch. The same can be said about their entrances, all of which are modeled completely after the real entrances. If nothing else, this game is one hell of a piece of eye candy for wrestling fans.

Fans definitely want the music of their favorite wrestlers, so let’s set it straight right here, right now. Every original theme song for every wrestler in the game is included and can even be used to create your own personalized entrances. Not only that, but the audio quality is perfect throughout the rest of the game. Hits and stomps sound very powerful and the announcers do a terrific job of bringing the whole thing to life. As usual, THQ pulled out every trick in the book to make this game look and sound as good as they possibly can.

This is one of the most deceptive wrestling games ever created. The back of the box makes it seem as though there’s an endless stream of content, but that’s only partially true. First of all, it’s true that you can import content from “Smackdown vs. Raw 2009”, which seems as though it adds a whole lot of stuff, but we don’t actually have an Xbox 360 copy of that game, so I can’t really comment on those features. As for the core game, though, there’s a lot to do; just not as much as I originally thought. The obvious star of this show is the “Wrestlemania Tour Mode”, which literally allows players to relive all of the most important events in wrestling history. It’s much more than that, though, as you can also change history as we know it by altering the outcome of the match. That’s the only real reason to play this game, considering how dumbed down everything else is. The controls are extremely simple compared to other wrestling games out there. Everything is assigned a single button and the only real change of pace is during moments such as finishers, where you’ll have to press random buttons rapidly to pull the move off properly. This control scheme is obviously more appealing to wrestling fans who just don’t enjoy gaming on a regular basis, but dedicated gaming fans are likely to get bored and shove the game aside after a few matches. Aside from that, though the only other new feature is the “Legend Killer” mode, which is extremely boring and more of a test of patience than anything else. In essence, these are endurance rounds like you would find in something like oldschool “Mortal Kombat”. You can take a character that you’ve created and place them in a series of 10 matches, which are then fought back to back with a single bar of health. If you survive and come out as the winner, you’ll unlock another set of fights. These matches are not necessarily difficult, but the fact that you’re fighting 10 of them in a row with only a single health bar and no option to save your progress is a cheap way of rigging the difficulty. Those fights are likely to drive novice gamers mad, although they’re fairly easy if you’re already a wrestling game veteran. Standard matches are all included, as well as fully functional online play and the usual creation tools. Online play is okay, lag-free and always fairly populated, but it just isn’t the best by far. The creation tools are as deep as any other game created for the past few years, but for some reason, THQ decided that it was a good idea to completely remove the option to create your own finishers. Why they did this is completely beyond me because that’s one of my favorite parts of these games. I enjoy making the characters and fleshing them out more than I do the actual wrestling part, personally, so that really hurt. Still, the character creation tools are extremely detailed, allowing you to create just about anyone or even perhaps anything you want, including their entrances and move lists. All told, this is a pretty good game, but it just isn’t worth the money. If this were released as a budget title, it’d be hard not to pass it up, but at this price, it’s probably a better idea to stick to the mainstream “Smackdown vs. Raw” series of games.

Overall, this is a pretty good game for the oldschool wrestling fans, but most people will get bored with this within’ a handful of matches.

Pros:
-Great visual quality.
-Includes every wrestler’s original theme song.
-“Wrestlemania Tour Mode” is pretty awesome.
-Online play is lag-free for the most part.

Cons:
-Far too expensive.
-Controls are way too simplistic for this kind of game.
-Not enough content.
-Requires “Smackdown vs. Raw 2009” to unlock certain features.
-Extremely easy.

Bottom line:
If you’re not a hardcore gamer, but you’re a serious fan of oldschool wrestling, this is probably a decent buy. Everyone else can safely skip this title and stick to the main series, though.

Overall Rating: 6.50

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