The WWE universe is very familiar to the Yukes developers as they have been in partnership for years with the massively successful Smackdown series of games. Because of this long standing business relationship, you would have expected a game created based around the WWE legends roster, that it would essentially be the same game just with a different lick of paint. In some ways it takes a lot of inspiration from the Smackdown and in others the developers have tried to go for something completely different. Some of the new things were an interesting concept on paper but ultimately failed when it came to playing with that particular concept within the game.
Let's look at the positives before we move onto the negatives which plague this game and ultimately drag it down to a level you wouldn't expect of a game like this, especially considering the experience they have with the WWE brand and the type of player that buy the WWE games. By far, the best idea presented in this game is to have the ability to import the wrestlers from WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 into this game and allow you to pit your current favourite WWE superstars against your favourite legend. Ultimate Warrior vs. Batista anyone? Another cool feature is the utilisation of favourite of mine from classic WWE, and that is the Managers. Jimmy Hart and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan show up in this game and act as your manager if you select them. Alongside Jimmy and Bobby are Mr. Fuji and Paul Bearer which you can select to accompany you to the ring and will interfere in the match in a number of ways by distracting or even hurting your opponent to help you get the win.
Other cool features in the game include Wrestlemania Tour, revamped arcade style control system and a mode known as Legend Killer. Legend Killer mode is a good idea. In it you embark on a gauntlet of legends in which you are to work your way up to the highest ranking legend such as Hulk Hogan. Wrestlemania Tour is the most interesting and redeeming feature of the game in which you are given the ability to Relive, Rewrite or Recap memorable matches in Wrestlemania history. In Relive, you have to take the role of a particular legend that won the match of the particular Wrestlemania. Within the match, along with winning, you will have to undertake a number of tasks in order to complete the particular challenge. Rewrite means you take the role of the opponent and have to win in order to Rewrite history. This also gives you the opportunity to play said legendary match in a new scenario, say Shawn Michaels vs. Bret Hart; instead of an Iron Man match, would it have been cooler if it was a Hell in a Cell? Recap simply allows you to view videos which show you the build up to the original feuds and clips of the matches themselves.
The revamped control system both works and doesn't. For those quite happy with a simple control system then it's certainly for them, but for me, I found the new control system fairly irritating and a bit too simplistic for my tastes. One cool feature I will give praise to the new system is the chain wrestling system which can simply be engaged by pressing the X in front of a groggy opponent. When you enter into this system a cinematic style view is taken of the in ring action and a small circle in the middle which will display a particular button which you should press in time in order to initiate the next move in the wrestling chain. It's an interesting concept and does work really well and is certainly something I can see being incorporated into the Smackdown games at some point in the future.
Overall, however, the game is let down quite a bit due to a good polished look but complete lack of substance and replay ability. Getting started with the control system is difficult to get the hang of but when you do you can enjoy the matches you're playing in but I ultimately found myself feeling like I'm never wholly in control of the character and the match. I would have much preferred if it was the same in-depth control system of the Smackdown series and allowed for a switching of control styles depending on your preference would have kept everybody happy. The lack of any sort of season mode is another massive let down and although the Wrestlemania Tour and Legend Killer modes are interesting, the lack of depth and substance really mean that you play them once and don't want to bother again. Create a superstar mode is something literally copied and pasted from the Smackdown series but is something that again lacks any real depth.
Overall, the concept was great. The Smackdown series decided to make a change this year and just have current superstars on the roster which would allow for more interest to be generated for Legends of Wrestlemania. It's really great to be able to play as your favourite legends for the first time in a game on this generation of consoles, specifically for me, Ultimate Warrior. And the ability to import the Smackdown vs. Raw roster to the game is an added bonus, but there's nothing really there to make you want to go back and play it again and again as one complete play through to get all the PS3 trophies or XBL achievements are really the only real reason you would spend any excessive amount of time playing the thing. Good, but would have only been better if it had mimicked the Smackdown games more closely.
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About the reviewer
Steven Stewart (Steveo)
Currently studying Law at University, my main interests revolve around Politics. I read quite a lot and love learning about History. Not just the history of a specific time, place and person, but I'm … more
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The leading sports entertainment video game experience embraces its colorful roots to deliver the definitive elements of WWE from the eighties and nineties. Featuring an impressive lineup of legendary superstars and managers, a new combo fighting system, an authentic presentation and more,WWE Legends of WrestleManiaenables gamers to compete in classic feuds, create history of their own and secure a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame.
WWE Legends of WrestleMania
Players: Offline: 1-4; Online: 2-4
Gameplay Modes: Single player, competitive & coop multiplayer.
Relive, Rewrite and Redefine the History of WrestleMania Since the first event at Madison Square Garden in 1985, WrestleMania has provided some of the most memorable moments in the history of sports entertainment. These moments continue on an annual basis with each new WrestleMania, but withWWE Legends of WrestleMania, fans both new and familiar with action in the squared circle can not only experience the defining moments and characters of classic matches from the eighties and nineties, but can also change history by reliving, rewriting or redefining them. So, whether classic WrestleMania action for you is the old school showdown between Andre the Giant and Hogan at WrestleMania III, ...