Demo Daze: WWE Legends Of Wrestlemania (Xbox 360)

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You’ve heard me talk about this upcoming game a few times now and when I found out a demo for the game was going to be released last Thursday, I downloaded it as soon as I could. I mentioned in my article about this wrestlefest that while the game had potential, I wasn’t still sure on whether the actual gameplay or controls would be good, at least not until I played it. Luckily my fears have been eliminated. Find out why and more after the jump.

It shocked me how familiar the controls felt when I first played this. 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. 

So about that finishing move bar. Basically you get a bar that goes up to 3 which you can fill over time by performing successful grapples and punches. Once it gets to 3 you can perform your wrestler’s finishing move but you can also use it at 2 or 1 to do part of the finishing move for damage, or as I said earlier, for taunting to get an advantage. The health works on a similar system, with your wrestlers starting both with green health and ending on red. They can heal over time though, which actually reminds me of one of the best wrestling games, WWF No Mercy. It’s a simple system but it works. As for gameplay, to me it seemed slower but more tactical than the man WWE series, perhaps reflecting the slower pace of the legends of 80s and 90s. The one problem I have those is with the camera cuts sometimes, which can break the flow of gameplay, especially during the finishers.

Finally, I’ll just mention how authentic this game really is. The Wrestlemania arenas have been recreated in amazing detail and everything from the title cards that pop up on screen to the colour of the ropes reflect the era of the wrestlers you are fighting as. It’s great to see and and the nostalgia factor gets to you every time. Unfortunately not everything is authentic as the WWE title is always the same and the commentators are always Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler, which is good for the late 90s but they weren’t always the commentators in WWE. In conclusion, I’m very much excited for the game now and will be picking it up when it’s released in just under 2 weeks. I’m not sure it will be as special if you didn’t watch WWE growing up but just try the demo available on XBL and PSN if you’re sitting on the fence.

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