WWE Legends of WrestleMania Review

By James Youngblood - Posted Apr 06, 2009

Wrestling fans should take a look the new multiplatform 'WWE Legends of Wrestlemania'. Will this game put us in a chokehold or be Bronco Busted? Find out in this X-Play Review.

The Pros
  • Nostalgia/WWE Classic Films
  • Great Presentation
  • Create-a-Legend
The Cons
  • Loading Times
  • Collision/Clipping Issues
  • Stripped gameplay/move lists
  • Repetitiveness

With sports entertainment’s biggest spectacle just around the corner, THQ and YUKE’s have kicked it old school with WWE Legends of WrestleMania. Your favorite icons from the past have returned for an all-star gala as they collide in the middle of the squared circle.  But how does this game compare to THQ’s other wrestling juggernaut?

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

WWE Legends of WrestleManiaStarting off, the gameplay is totally different when compared to the Smackdown Vs. Raw franchise.  Legends implements a new grappling system where each button has a multitude of uses, depending on how long you hold it down.  This control scheme simplifies things and uses only four buttons on your PS3 and Xbox 360 controller. It makes it much easier for those casual gamers out there.  The game also introduces a button pressing mini game to perform a string of maneuvers and counters.  It’s definitely a neat addition to an archaic gameplay mechanic, but at times, I found that it took away from the game itself.  Instead of enjoying the match and paying attention to what’s going on, you are too worried about matching the button prompts on screen.  We all know wrestling is scripted and all, but did you have to implement that into the action?

This is not SVR by far, especially when we talk about the move sets, or lack there of in this case. Each wrestler has a limited amount of attacks and grapples, which really takes away from the whole experience.  It’s no fun repeating the same move over and over again. Simplifying the game mechanics meant sacrificing all the grapples and strikes, which is very disappointing.  And speaking of SVR, many of the glitches and problems with that franchise makes an unwanted surprise appearance in Legends of Wrestlemania.  The glitches are magnified in this game; there are way too many clippings and collision detection issues.  When suplexing somebody off the top rope, these once solid red cords mysteriously vanish Undertaker style. Bodies seep into each other and into the mat when pinning an opponent.  The auto aiming is atrocious and is most evident during the Royal Rumble. Concentrating on one wrestler is next to impossible.

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Blast From The Past

WWE: Legends of WrestlemaniaMaking a classic WWE game brings back some of the finer moments in professional wrestling.  Everything from Hogan body slamming Andre to the Hitman taking on the massive Yokozuna is represented here. Relive, Rewrite, and Recreate is the best feature bar none.  It’s not because of the gameplay per se, which is scripted and gets more frustrating as you unlock the later stages. Remembering all these great matches and storylines from the glory made me appreciate them more.  Not only is it represented in gameplay, but the classic archive films are shown prior to each match so you can relive the rivalry.  Get ‘em, Hulk!

The creation mode is fairly detailed.  Everything you need is there and it surpasses anything else on the market.  You can create everyone from Doink the Clown to the Giant Gonzalez, all the clothing options and accessories are there to make it work.  The depth lets you pretty much create anything your heart desires, except for divas. For some reason you are unable to create female superstars, which is a bit of a let down.  However, there’s plenty of female wardrobe options in case you want to bring to life a cross dressing grappler.  I am looking at you, Rico and Santino.   

The Legend Killer mode is where players run through series of gauntlet matches using your created superstar.  Once you defeat a bracket, you gain experience points and update your guy’s attributes.  There is also an ample amount of matches in exhibition mode. TLC, Hell in a Cell, ladder match, it’s all there.   

Stylin' and Profilin'

There are over 40 Legends on this roster, catering to every wrestling fan out there wanting to fight as Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Jake the Snake, and Mr. Perfect one more time.  Even your favorite managers make an appearance and impact the game tremendously, from the “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart to Bobby “The Brain” Hennan.  Managers play a crucial role in most matches, distracting your rival in order to give you the upper hand. 

WWE: Legends of WrestlemaniaThe entrances and feel of the game is old school as well.  From Rick Rude’s gyrating hips, to the classic theme music, to the fans rocking retro t-shirts and the oh so fashionable mullets.  But the best part about the presentation is in the Relive, Rewrite, and Recreate mode where classic archived films are shown.  That footage alone saves this title because everything else in the game gets repetitive and old…...just like the wrestlers.  If you are tired of the Legends or want to see how they stack up against the new generation, you can import the entire Smackdown Vs. Raw 2009 roster, which doubles the amount of wrestlers available. 

However, there are some presentation problems and inaccuracies.  Some of the legends look ridiculous.  I know for a fact Hogan hasn’t had a full head of hair since high school.  Most of the wrestlers looked like they were way larger than life and roided out.  And the crowd?  They’re as boxy as King Kong Bundy. 

Despite such a huge roster, some major talent is still missing from the game.  Where are Randy Savage, Mick Foley, Vader, Ricky Steamboat, Rick Martel, Razor Ramon, and Tito Santana? And we have only two tag teams in the game, The Hart Foundation and Road Warriors.  Where are the Wild Samoans, Demolition, and The Rockers?  I mean Michaels is there, why isn’t Marty Janetty?  How about the lady wrestlers like Alandra Blaze or the Fabulous Moolah and why don’t I have the option to create them?  And managers, where are Elizabeth or Sherri Martel? After all, Sensational Sherri is in HBK’s theme song that he still uses to this day.  It just seems like they held out on a whole lot of Legends for a possible sequel or downloadable content, which is unfortunate, because I want to play them all instead of trying to create a carbon copy and have the announcers not recognize their name.  I understand that there might be some issues getting the rights and approval from of the missing Legends, or they might be on Vince McMahon’s s-list.

The game is missing a few things here and there.  There is no referee.  There are no rope breaks, unless you have a manager.  The frequent loading times and their length are unbearable.  During Create-A-Legend, it takes forever to scroll through options because the loading falls behind.  It’s as slow and painful as watching Hacksaw still try to compete nowadays with all these youngsters.  It feels like every time I perform a strike to the head, they prematurely blade themselves.  There’s just a little too much blood on the mat for my tastes.

The Bottom Line

The game has its ups and its downs, just like the careers of all these Legends.  Bringing back old school wrestling and the classic footage definitely brings that nostalgic factor which will make a lot of fans happy.  The roster is big and can blow up with the Create-A-Legend mode and importing the current superstars from SVR 2009.  However, the loading times, the absences of some major historical legends, the dumbed down four button control system, the lack of variety moves for each grappler, and the repetitiveness of the gameplay really holds Legends of Wrestlemania from being an all out face. It’s not a heel however; it’s just stuck in the middle because of its simplicity. 

Article Written By: James Youngblood