If the regular 'WWE Smackdown vs. Raw' series wasn't enough for you, THQ's own development studio has been hard at work at creating a throwback arcade style WWE game to tied you over until the fall.

THQ takes a different approach to the WWE product with the throwback styled wrestling game, 'WWE All Stars.' This jacked up edition of the WWE Universe is filled with so much muscle that even Chris Masters would be a little jealous. Better yet, the timing couldn't be better as 'WWE All Stars' has been released smack dab in the middle of Wrestlemania week. The fever for wrestling is hot, and if you can't wait for Sunday to see the "King of Kings" Triple H go up against the Undertaker, or John Cena take on The Miz; you can jump into some fantasy scuffles with THQ's latest beat em' up.

Now that's a Python!
The exaggerated art style will be the first thing you notice about 'WWE All Stars.' 30 of the best-of-the-best from the WWE have been remade to look like unnatural muscle bound freaks (yes, that's a good thing.) Add in some impossible gravity defying moves and giant KO blows and you have a formula for some good old wrastling. Escaping reality, 'WWE All Stars' breaks all the rules in the name of action. 'WWE All Stars' is such a throwback, I was expecting to put some quarters in the machine to keep the matches running. Now depending on your thoughts on the current wrestling product, 'WWE All Stars' might sound like the perfect remedy to get back in the ring, and to others, 'WWE All Stars' will be a complete miss. Even though its the same source material, this game is nothing like its big brother, 'WWE Smackdown vs. Raw.'

Contrasting 'WWE Smackdown vs. Raw,' THQ keeps the match types to a minimum with the standard 1 vs. 1, Triple Threat, Fatal 4 Way and Handicap matches; along with some more "extreme" matches like the frivolous Cage Match and Extreme Rules Match. Tornado Tags and Elimination round out the rest of options for this brawler. Matches routinely don't last too long thanks to some mega-moves and a convenient health bar system.

The action is a combination of weak and strong punches and grapples, which include several "signature" moves from each superstars. The difference with 'WWE All Stars' compared to other fighting games is that everything is super exaggerated. The Rock Bottom will send you feet into the air to land with a thunderous bang. Shamus' Celtic Cross will throw you in circles before you come down to the mat. It's all larger-than-life, exactly how the WWE persona's try to come off on TV. Refreshingly, 'WWE All Stars' embellishing the sillier side of wrestling.

No "Excellence of Execution" Here
Even though 'WWE All Stars' is satisfying in providing some fun escapism, it has some issues with its controls and animations that simply don't feel fluid. When the animations are working 'WWE All Stars' looks great, but it also has issues of missed bumps, runaround A.I. and stiff movement. Becoming "silky" is even harder because of the 'WWE Smackdown vs. Raw,' has been doing it right for so many years. Although, I appreciated the small bit of chain-wrestling you can pull off, 'WWE All Stars' never feels like its properly impacting. Even after being Tombstoned right to hell, the recovery time is too short, and if wasn't for the knockout feature the matches would go on forever. This might be the biggest bump against 'WWE All Stars,' which pushes it away from its target market or alternative “fighting” market. 'WWE All Stars' is straight-up for the wrestling fan; I am afraid, there just isn't enough to bring in a new audience.

The controls don't offer any reassurance in this department either, as they feel sluggish and often delayed. You would figure these jacked up mastodons would move a little quicker and that the gameplay would have been tightened up a more. The special moves are oddly balanced with their execution timing, making it hard to get into a real good slugfest. Sure, the ease of reversals help, but the two steps back/one step forward A.I. is self-defeating. Still, wrestling fans will slug through anything (I was a big 'Legends of Wrestling' fan) so you will be able to adjust. It's just too bad 'WWE All Stars' wasn't more pick-up-and-play friendly. Oh and next time, can we please have a tutorial.... thanks.

Contiuning this theme of "trouble," we're now looking at the roster, which is a little thin when compared to the numbers in 'WWE Smackdown vs. Raw.' The entrances have also cut short, another unfortunate cut-back since 'WWE Smackdown vs. Raw' (there it is again) is so meticulous when it comes to detail. Additionally, the commentary, while nice that it has been added, is very nondescript and doesn't add any additional value aside from “filling in” between the kicks and punches. Thankfully, the art style and alternative costumes help take your mind off the limited audio and roster performance. The over-the-top style fits the WWE and could be an avenue that could be exploited further.

Path of Champions
Backing off the “Bradshawing,” 'WWE All Stars' has a lot of good, which is represented in the “Path of Champions” and “Fantasy Warfare” modes. These additional modes are the meat-and-bones of the game that offers up the closest thing to a "story mode." The "Path of Champions" is a gauntlet affair where you choose a superstar to take on and compete in a series of matches until the goal is met. The stars in the section are fighting the Undertaker at SummerSlam for the World Heavyweight Championship, taking on Randy Orton at Wrestlemania for the WWE Championship and a Tag-Team spin where you have to fight D-Generation X to determine who is the greatest Tag Team in WWE History. Even though more challenges would have been welcomed, it's a good alternative to exhibition matches.

Fantasy Warfare
The "Fantasy Warfare" mode pits two legends against each other for bragging rights. Put together with introductory video-packages, you'll get a little incite into each competitor before each showdown. The one with the late-great Eddie Guerrero was a highlight when you have to face off against his long time friend Ray Mysterio to see who is the “Greatest Highflyer.” In total there are 15 matches to work through, which could take a few hours if you wanted to run through them all. Some match ups are like you would expect like “Greatest Big Man” which is the dream bout of Andre The Giant vs. The Big Show. However, a few others are interesting like “Innovate Offence” showoff with Ricky Steamboat vs. Kofi Kingston or “Perfectly Awesome” a battle of egos between the narcissistic Mr. Perfect and The Miz.

The Extras
For additional features, you can head online to lock-up with people from around the world with any superstar you have unlocked or created. The “create” feature is weak compared to past WWE products and really shows a lack of polish. It's likely that you'll probably preoccupy your time with the regular roster. However, this could be a deal breaker for the creative type who like to have a roster full of their own self-created superstars. Beyond that, 'WWE All Stars' doesn't have a community feature like 'WWE Smackdown vs. Raw,' so you won't be able to share you creations here. Again, with a game rich with legends like Bret Hart, Randy Savage, and Hulk Hogan, most of your time will probably spend reliving moments with the superstars you've grown up with then wanted to trade your self-created grapplers.

For all those who want to relive some of the old WWE/WWF glory days, 'WWE All Stars' delivers a worthwhile mash-up of arcade styled fighting mixed with over-exaggerated versions of WWE Superstars from the past and present. The dream-bouts, big moves, and "Fantasy Warfare" mode packs in a solid effort that will keep you entertained. However, I'm not sure for how long. All is not perfect as 'WWE All Stars' still has room to grow, and if you're on the clock, this one could be blasted through in a few hours. In the end, you will either “get it” or you won't, it's that style of game. Still, if you have enjoyed the WWE product in the past or present, 'WWE All Stars' is worth a look.

  • Fresh alternative to WWE Smackdown vs. Raw
  • Entertaining "Fantasy Warfare" feature
  • Multiple skins for several superstars
  • Adequate line-up of WWE Legends
  • Excellent over-exaggerated art style
  • Gameplay could be more fluid, feels sluggish at times
  • Entrance Introductions are cut short
  • Compared to the Smackdown games, the feautres are thin
  • In-ring commentary is very non-descriptive
  • No tutorial, say what?!
Quote: "WWE All Stars delivers a worthwhile mash-up of arcade styled fighting mixed with over-exaggerated versions of WWE Superstars from the past and present."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 03.31.11

Similar Games: WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 (8.0) | WWE Legends of Wrestlemania (8.1)


WWE All Stars


THQ San Diego


US Release
March 2011


PS3, X360

Players 1-4
Online MP 2-4
HD 720p-1080p
5.1 surround
D/L Content