WWE Legends of WrestleMania Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360 PS3  Check Price

Nostalgia is a beautiful thing. Rose-tinted goggles make us all long for the days when we ran home from school so fast your chest felt like it might explode. Why did we willingly do such a thing? To put the TV on and watch, well, there's an endless list of fondly remembered 80s shows. Here's some of mine: Transformers, Thundercats, Airwolf, The A-Team, Defenders of the Earth, Dungeons and Dragons, Knightmare and... WWF.

Which is now WWE of course, a result of the World Wildlife Fund and a few angry letters, I'd imagine. For me, the WWF was all about Hulk Hogan (55, TV star), The Ultimate Warrior (49, retired) The Undertaker (43, still wrestling), Big Boss Man (died of a heart attack age 41), The British Bulldog (died of a heart attack age 39) and Bret "The Hitman" Hart (51, retired). And, as a young gamer, the WWF was all about the WrestleMania games on the NES and SNES.

But I grew out of professional wrestling. As other things became important, all that spandex-fuelled drama became, well, just a bit silly. I cast the WWF aside, left it languishing in the memory of my childhood. It was forgotten. Hulk Hogan versus Andre the Giant at WrestleMania III, Hulk Hogan versus The Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VI and Sgt. Slaughter versus Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VII, all fond but distant specks housed somewhere in the vault of my brain. Until now.

WWE Legends of WrestleMania, THQ's latest Yuke's-developed wrestling game, has one goal: to rekindle all those fond childhood wrestling memories guys like you and me thought were lost to time and YouTube. Its roster of wrestlers is a who's who of superstars made famous by WrestleMania throughout the 80s and 90s. It allows you to relive those famous matches in virtual form, and feel your childhood, those long Sunday afternoons spent "practising" body slams in the park, come rushing back in a veritable flood of euphoric nostalgia.

This is The Big Boss Man. He hit people with a nightstick.

This is The Big Boss Man. He hit people with a nightstick.

Legends of WrestleMania is cleverly structured to make the most of this. The main game mode, WrestleMania Tour, presents three options: Relive, Rewrite and Redefine. Relive allows you to take control of the victor in a WrestleMania match up, Rewrite lets you take control of the loser and attempt to change history, and Redefine lets you choose who you want to win, in a match-up based on real-life classics but with modern twists.

Before each match a live-action montage of archived footage plays, setting the scene for the match. It's real "from the vault" stuff, and includes all that "to the camera" trash-talking and finger pointing that defined WWF during the glory days. Shawn Michaels has a full head of hair, Undertaker is a lean, young machine, packed stadiums, catchphrases, slogans, spectacular signature moves, cheesy entrance music, it's all there, and it's great fun to watch and hear.

In-match, Legends of WrestleMania plays very differently to THQ's current SmackDown vs. Raw series. The WrestleMania Tour matches ask you to win, of course, but they also challenge you to complete a number of objectives designed to coerce you into recreating moves that were actually performed during the real match on which they're based. So, for example, one of the objectives in the Hulk versus Andre the Giant match is to body slam Andre, just like he did at WrestleMania in the early 80s. There are loads of these objectives for each of the 19 playable WrestleMania matches in the game, ranging from simply damaging your opponent before he damages you, to more complex actions based on from the top rope moves, strong grapples, contextual attacks that use the environment and finishers.

The objectives tie into the new, some will say dumbed down but I say streamlined, control system. Legends of WrestleMania requires only the left thumb stick or d-pad and the four face buttons to play. The triggers or shoulder buttons aren't needed. On the Xbox 360 (the version tested) X punches, A grapples, B runs/pins and Y counters/blocks. If you want, you can make do with that and get plenty out of the game. The game's heavy on quick time events. Like marmite, you'll love 'em or hate 'em. Irish whip your opponent, for example, or perform a finisher, and a QTE triggers that sees both players try to press the right button first. It's actually decent, albeit simple fun, and, because the more spectacular moves require QTE chains, you're able to switch proceedings to your advantage mid chain if you beat your opponent on a QTE. In many games QTEs simply get in the way of the action, focusing the eye on a small part of the screen when all you really want to do is absorb the entire cinematic. This is something that Legends suffers from, but at least the QTEs are competitive.

New stuff to check out

Comments

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

Digiink's Avatar

Digiink

The developers did a great job in capturing the nostalgia of the old days of wrestling. I laughed my @$$ off when Bobby the Brain Henean pulled Andre the Giant's leg on the ropes while I was trying to pin. I saw the roster and I was almost sold but the controls were just ridiculous.

I realize that this is an arcade style game. I grew up on arcade style wrestling games with just two buttons and a joystick and even then I could do a Perfect Plex or the DDT when I WANTED TO! This QTE system just straight up sucks! I'm more focused on hitting the right button when it appears than the action. If I want that kind of game play I'll play Whack a Mole. Forget triggering the action with a chain of events, I want to control the action.

I was looking forward to this game only to be let down. Fortunately I played the Demo so no money wasted there. As for anyone who suggests that I get SVR, I'm an old school wrestling fan who plays video games once in a while. I felt that THQ really developed this game for gamers like me and missed from the top rope.
Posted 08:37 on 02 July 2009
Gabe's Avatar

Gabe

Hmm, strange review that seems to be scored more on the basis of giving happy memories than being a good game.

The QTE system isn't just dumbed-down, but completely robs you of any real control over what your wrestler is doing. Part of the fun of wrestling games (and fighting games too) is that *YOU* are the one pulling-off these fantastic, powerful moves, not doing it by virtue of pressing A quicker than somebody else when it flashes on-screen.

And movement is awful; sluggish and as noted, the collision-detection is way off. And yet you guys are rewarding such sloppiness on the basis - it certainly seems from the review - of the license.

No wonder we keep getting such disappointing wrestling titles.
Posted 14:25 on 28 March 2009
Roooski's Avatar

Roooski

You have to take it for what its worth. It is an arcade style game. I dont ever recall the arcade having that complicated of a button system either. If your looking for sim style then SVR is what you get. With the nostaglia of this game they targeted the average gamer who may not be into wrestling but grew up knowing those legends. If someone who didn't play wrestling games came over to play it would take them some time and frustration to figure out SVR controls. Legends controls can be learned quickly and still be competitive.

Seems to me this would be the same debate as Forza 2 vs Need for speed in racing. One you can crash into walls and spin out still keeping in the race. The other is less forgiving as it is a sim racing game.

just my opinion on the control system and style of play. The wrestlemania tour is a bit short. After all the whole concept is to relive and replay the early wrestlemania years. Legend killer mode seemed a bit easy, even on the hardest difficulty, however a few guys will give you a challenge.

all in all i would recommend this as a rental for most.
Posted 23:26 on 26 March 2009
Eddyg21's Avatar

Eddyg21

I am still in disabelief that I waited this long for this piece of Crap!!
THQ ruined what could have been a great thing. The game play is awful, I will never purchase another "Arcade-like" wrestling game again. What I still can not understand is why would THQ change the game play from SVR? SVR plays great, the wrestlers all have a large variety of moves and it feels very resalistic. While here I felt I had about as many options as I did with Super Mario Bros. 20 years ago. No triggers, No shoulder buttons, just X and A... that's it, that's all. I waited this long to have Legend Wrestlers perform a punch, a quicker punch, and a combo of punches. This is Insane.....and the QTE chains are just stupid. Why? Why? Why? Why did would THQ excite me with this great Title? and amazing roster? And an option to import my roster from SVR? Only to let me down at the end, with a game that plays- as if released in 1991.
And Yes.....
To the ones responsible for the game, "F**K YOU!" and have a sh*tty day...
Posted 20:16 on 26 March 2009
onemandynasty323's Avatar

onemandynasty323

This game looks good initally, but it's a big let down! So much that I would like to line up the designers of the game and give them all a Randy Orton boot to the skull! Let me rephrase something. This game is a piece of sh*t! The controls are awfull! It was like playing Atari again for Christ sake! What do they care they got a pay day at our expense out of it. Seriously don't waste your timeor money. SvR10 isnt that far away. To the ones responsible for the game, "F**K YOU!" and have a nice day...
Posted 23:30 on 25 March 2009
_MICHAEL_'s Avatar

_MICHAEL_

I didn't like the demo at all. I didn't find it fun. So I def won't be picking this game up. I think you guys got a little caught up on the WWF scenes when you reviewed it. Because it most def doesn't deserve a 8/10. I will admit it has some cool aspects, but it is in no way fun. Well at least to me anyways. I know everyone has their own opinion. So I'll respect that.
Posted 20:41 on 23 March 2009
rico_rico's Avatar

rico_rico

I will not buy it because is the same as smack dawn vs row 2009 but with another wrestling why i should buy it they need to do some thing better to atract as
Posted 18:18 on 21 March 2009
thpcplayer's Avatar

thpcplayer

I will buy it i knew it'd get an 8 but i will buy it on release
Posted 10:03 on 18 March 2009
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

Yer i heard sadly looks like another persons died of perscription drugs and steroid cocktail overdose.
Posted 21:27 on 17 March 2009
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Good read. I'm hopeing for a chance to win a copy of Wrestlemania in the VG competition.

Also don't know if any of you know but Test died this weekend. Try going on WWE.com for further details.
Posted 18:54 on 17 March 2009
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman

Wrestlemania III - I remember that one clearly - Alice Cooper in Jake 'The Snake' Roberts corner!!!
Posted 15:47 on 17 March 2009
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ pblive

Forgot about the competiton hoping for that too. Also the chance to see it live. Think it would be great fun. Been wanting to see it at Cardiff but it's always sold out. :(
Posted 15:20 on 17 March 2009
pblive's Avatar

pblive

Really good, enjoyed reading that. From what I've played I'd love to see the full game. Just keeping my fingers crossed that I can win a copy in the Videogamer Competition.
Posted 14:59 on 17 March 2009
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

Great review wes thoroughly enjoyed it and i'm with you with the control system. Made the demo for me whats next is now i've torn apart RE5 do i trade it in for this or SF4 but i know if i get SF4 i'll ruin my chance of passing my degree lol.
Posted 14:34 on 17 March 2009

Game Stats

Technical Specs
8
Out of 10
WWE Legends of WrestleMania
  • Real archive footage
  • Fun trip down memory lane
  • Arcade-style gameplay intuitive
  • Still clunky and sluggish
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 20/03/2009
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: Yuke's
Publisher: THQ
Genre: Wrestling
No. Players: 1-4
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 764 64
Check Price