WWE Legends of WrestleMania

Whilst trying not to look at this game with nostalgic and rose tinted eyes. Remembering the glory from back in the day when I used to idolise certain ‘beefed’ up men wearing only Lycra and a ‘mullet’, ‘Legends of WrestleMania’ hopes that in a way, the nostalgia is enough to hide some of the little annoyances found within the game.

As a kid, I would always watch WrestleMania, even if it meant staying up past 2 in the morning just to watch it live. So ‘Legends of WrestleMania’ did bring back happy memories. All the major wrestling icons are available to use and abuse. From the more 80’s wrestling you have the 7′ 4” mass that is ‘Andre the Giant’, to the ‘mullet’ and hairspray of self proclaimed ‘Sexy boy’ Shawn Michaels to the 90’s meat heads like ‘Stone Cold Steve Austin’ and my personal favourite, ‘The Rock’.

‘Mouth of the South Jimmy Hart’, ‘Mr Fuji’ and not forgetting the ghoulish ‘Paul Bearer’ are ready to help out by giving your wrestler some health and sometimes they will have a fight for you. But unfortunately you can’t control them or even tell them that you need them to take out the ‘Referee’ with a ‘Megaphone’, so you can get out of a ‘PinFall’ which isn’t noticed by the unconscious ‘Ref’ because also, there is no ‘Referee in the game’. The one thing I miss from these newer wrestling games, is the lack of ‘Ref’. It’s also one of the main parts of WrestleMania! As a manager, your job is not only to give advice and support to you wrestler, but also to give the opponent, or mainly the referee, a cheeky blow to the back of the head. And as a ‘Referee’ your job is to get in the way of the fight all the time, get distracted by something or someone outside of the ring, so is ‘ironically’ missing whats going on ‘in’ the ring, wear an unflattering uniform but also to ‘get’ a blow to the head by the manager using those conveniently place chairs and ladders! Its fine to take the ‘Ref’ away in other titles, but it’s always been a major part of any ‘WrestleMania’ event. Events were won due to the ‘Ref’s stupidity.

Rather than a ‘career’ mode for these ‘buff’ heroes, ‘Legends of WrestleMania’ hosts ‘WrestleMania Tour Mode’, a three-tiered section that asks you to ‘Relive’, ‘Rewrite’, and ‘Redefine’ history. It’s an interesting mode where you are put in the shiny red lace up boots of one of the legends. When doing a ‘Relive’ match, you need to win the fight like it actually happened all those years ago, you are given certain objectives of achieve, such as pulling off iconic moments in ‘WrestleMainia’. Performing that disabilitating ‘Leg Drop’ on an opponent from the ‘Hulkster’ brings back lovely memories. In ‘Rewrite’, you play as the legend who originally lost the match or didn’t get the title and you have to win the match and change history, and in a ‘Redefine’ match, you can be whichever wrestler you want to be, but now you can add in a ‘Hell in a Cell’ or a ‘Ladder match’ to liven the place up.

With most ‘Wrestling’ games, you can’t be expected to be able to learn everything in the first five minutes. But you can tell with this game, that they are trying to ‘muscle in’ on the casual player. It is very ‘grapple’ based. The controls are different from ‘Smackdown vs Raw’ with the user only really needing to use the four buttons (strike, grapple, block, action) which can make it a little easy, but with the edition of ‘on screen’ button maneuvers to counter moves and pull off reversals that appear at a super speed and are often too fast to initiate, it has a hidden skill to learn. I found that these ‘on screen’ controls destroy the pace of the game a little, as when you think your doing well, and an ‘on screen button’ that comes and goes in a blink of an eye, and then before you know it the ‘tables’ have turned, and turned generally to the back of your head. But then maybe it really is trying to recreate the realism of the WWE, as even if everyone knows are going down, you are the weaker of the two opponents, and you have been on the floor of the ring most of the match, somehow, just maybe you still could win in the match, after all, it’s how the ‘123 Kid’ got ‘his’ name. At the end of the day, if you sit down and play it long enough it becomes alot easier to notice when the pace is likely to change.

The game itself looks quiet pretty and its main plus for me is it really does keep it ‘old skool’ for the fans with vintage footage cut scenes, and the venues looking how they should all those years ago. As for the characters themselves, I don’t remember Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair looking that young and buff even back in the 80’s. That being said, the wrestlers do look very good, and the level of detail is high, and they do come out of the back area before the match covered in sweat from the heavy lighting. There is the lack of spectators in some of the backgrounds. Yes they are not really that important, but if I remember rightly, these ‘events’ were always packed full of people, and the amount populating the game just does not reflect the atmosphere around a ‘WrestleMania’ event and as some of the match usually ends up ‘outside’ of the ring, it’s hard not to notice. One cool thing is that you can also import a created wrestler and other modern wrestlers if you have a ‘Smackdown vs Raw 09’ save on your console so you an battle it out with wrestlers from the past and the present.

The ‘Create a Legend’ is always fun, creating what you believe to be a ‘Legend’ out of various components, walking out down the aisle to your choice of music, video and atmopheric smoke and exploding perfectly timed fireworks as you enter the ring and pose for your fans. But I did discover that you cannot make a female wrestler, yes there were a lack of female wrestlers back in the day, but what really bugged me was the fact you still have many of the options to create a female wrestler from ‘Smackdown vs Raw’, I guess the developers think you may ‘actually’ want a cross dressing ‘legend’. The amount of different make-up that looks more tailored for females, down to being able to wear knee high black stiletto boots, and a variety of skirts and sexy tops, annoyed me slightly, as I attempted to make a manly, muscled and flat chested version of myself…







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