When WWE Legends Of Wrestlemania was first announced back at E3 2008, I was mildly curious about the game. After all I used to be a big fan of Wrestling in the late 90s and early 00s and I subsequently played the various WWF/E games that came out over said time, stopping due to not knowing most of the roster anymore, little improvements and the controls becoming way too complicated for a game that’s about two or more men groping each other in various positions. However because of this I didn’t pay too much attention as I just assumed that the game would use the controls and engine from the most recent WWE Smackdown vs Raw and ECW game. It also didn’t get virtually any press at all during most of 2008. However all this would change when New York Comic-Con 2009 came around the game was demoed. It showed much simpler controls than those seen in the last WWE wrestling game and so my interest in the game rose. On the other hand it showed what looked like various QTEs, which worried me. Finally the demo made it’s way to us peasants and almost of my worries were gone as the demo proved to be a fun time, made even better by the fact that for the first time in years, I actually knew everyone on the roster. I still had one worry though that the game would get repetitive. Well the game’s been out for just about a month now and now that I’ve had a few weeks to play it, I’m finally ready to review this. Is this game an underlooked hit or is it just trying to hide under rose-tinted glasses? Hit the jump to find out what I think about WWE Legends Of Wrestlemania.
As the title says, this game is about the legends of WWE’s main event of the year, Wrestlemania and in this game’s case, specifically from the first Wrestlemania up until Wrestlemania XV (that’s 15 if you can’t work out Roman numerals) in 1999. This is actually a wise decision as it closes off the roster as 80s and 90s only, so it doesn’t spill into the 00s, which is more of a shame for me but makes sense. So what we get are what in THQ’s eyes, the 40 best wrestlers from the 80s and 90s. We have fan favourites like my favourite The Rock, Ex’s favourite Ultimate Warrior and other big stars like Stone Cold, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels as well as famous managers like Paul Bearer and Bobby Heenan. You have a pretty nice roster here and is sure to please both 80s and 90s WWE fans although it’s a shame that due to fallings out with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, the game is missing out a few fan favourites, like the various forms of Mick Foley, Macho Man Randy Savage and the late Owen Hart for example. I even seem to remember Mick Foley saying that he was in the game until Vince made THQ take him out. That being said there are remnants of the wrestlers which I’ll get onto later. You can also import the whole roster of the latest WWE Smackdown vs Raw and ECW game if you have a save file from said game. It’s pretty shit though as the save basically acts a key since all of the wrestlers are already on the game’s disc, so either way you’re going to have to pay to get the extra wrestlers, entrances and moves, whether it’s by renting or by buying the game.
As for the gameplay, I quote my Demo Daze;
Unlike the most recent games in the WWE Smackdown vs Raw series, the controls here harken back to the early days of the series, with a few minor twists from the more recent games. Grapples have reverted with A and a direction of your choice deciding which move you’d like to use. If you hold A however,y ou will perform a stronger move. In fact A is used to quite a lot here, from irish whipping people to grabbing weapons. It’s all part of THQ’s effort to simplify the existing controls for a wider audience and they seemed to have pulled it off. Punches are the same as ever by pressing X so not a lot to talk about there. Y is used to block and reverse and taunts and finishing moves have been allocated to Y+B and X+A respectively. The difference here is that taunts actually mean something in this game. They take down a bar of your finishing move (more on that in a moment) but give you an advantage temporarily such as making your guy faster or making him less affected by damage for example. The only itch I have is with the quick time events. These are initiated at reversals or during certain moves and they can hinder the flow of the game. They’re not too bad since they aren’t used constantly but I would have liked it if you could have at least have turned them off. Worst of all is the fact that they are always used when performing a finishing move. However, I would rather have these controls and put up with quick time events than to have the complicated controls of the WWE Smackdown vs Raw series.
Like I said before, some remnants of those wrestlers exist as part of the regular Create A Wrestler mode, or Create A Legend in this case. As is the norm now it seems, it’s easy to create a wrestler, but it’s hard to create a really good looking wrestler without having talent in that area. It’s a double edged sword, as you can create amazing looking wrestlers like the Randy Savage I have using formulas from websites such as Caws.ws but it’s hard to create masterpieces yourself due to how complicated things are. Going back to the remnants, these are things such as Randy Savage’s cape, Mankind’s mask or Vader’s outfit, which are all available within the CAL mode. It’s nice for these to be in here as it means good looking costumes for these wrestlers can be created with ease. The same can’t be said for Create A Moveset, as moves like the Mandible Claw or even the Double Arm DDT aren’t available, despite these being available in the last WWE game. It dampens things when I have to resort to giving Mankind a DDT for a finishing move. Overall though, it’s still great stuff providing you can do it, especially with the Custom Entrance feature. That being said, it’s a shame that past features are missing which would be great such as Create A PPV and an old one from WWF Attitude that never appeared again, Create An Arena.
Finally, we move onto the content. Unfortunately, the main game itself is pretty short, with the games Relive, Rewrite and Redefine modes being beatable at about an hour each. However there is Legend Killer mode too, where you and your created guy battle in gauntlets against various packs of wrestlers, eventually ending with an ultimate gauntlet against every wrestler in the game. To do about everything, I’d say takes about 7-10 hours, which isn’t bad, but not too great either. Although if you have imagination to do your own PPVs or friends to play with, then the game’s replayability increases tenfold.
Ultimately, whether you buy this game or not comes down to if you watched wrestling in the 80s and/or 90s. If not, then you might still enjoy the game, but I doubt it since you won’t know who anyone is or why the game is so special to said fans. But if you did grow up with wrestling in the 80s and/or 90s, then you should find a lot to enjoy here, with the simple yet addicting gameplay and nostalgia factor. My best advice would be to just try the demo on Xbox Live or Playstation Network. If you enjoy the demo then you should enjoy the game.