Anyone who knows me personally can tell you that I am a huge fan of professional wrestling so I have been anticipating this game for quite some time now. I had high expectations with this game as THQ and Yukes have said in various interviews that this game would be an arcade style game, like the older SmackDown! games. I think that right there had me excited, but honestly, the game is a disappointment.
One thing you will notice as soon as the game starts up is that the game shares almost the same interface as SmackDown vs. RAW 2009. I was hoping for something sleek and new. The menus have the entrance music of various wrestlers.
The game has many different game modes which you should occupy you for whatever time you actually spend playing. Exhibition is just like any other game, which you select who you want to be and your opponent. There are also 3 primary game modes: “Relive” is where you are put into a past WrestleMania match and your object is to keep the winner the same as the actual show. “Rewrite” is much like “Relive”, but this time you want to change the end result of the match. “Redefine” is when you can completely change different aspects of the match. Overall, it’s very limiting.
The graphics are very chrisp. I guess they graphics were supposed to be a representation of the Arcade style game, so everything is a little over-the-top. The arenas for each different WrestleMania event look great. The sets look supurb, and THQ did a great job creating even the correct size of each venue, too. It really looks like 93,000 people are packed into the Pontiac Silverdome for WrestleMania III.
The audio in the game is great also. Each one of the wrestlers has their respective entrance music, and although the commentary still isn’t as great as games like Madden or the NBA2k series, it’s still a nice touch. It gets the job done, nothing more. The slams sound alright. I don’t like the particular sound effects they’ve been using the past few years for when someone is slammed onto the ring, it just doesn’t have the “bone crunching” sound that an actual wrestling ring does.
The gameplay is hard to review because it’s just so confusing. The controls just feel so poorly layed out. Most of the game, you find yourself throwing punches. Grapple holds are not exactly the easiest thing to execute. The game also has this very Simon Says-esque mechanic in which you execute a move and you have to quickly tap different buttons when they pop up. It’s very irritating because you literally have less than 1 second to hit these buttons. Half of the time, I’m hitting the wrong buttons just trying to hurry. It would have been nice if they had just went back to the control scheme the original SmackDown! games had. They were simple, yet very effective.
The overall presentation is really the only thing to write home about in the game. Before each match in the 3 different game modes, you are presented with a 2 to 3 minute video featuring classic footage which gives you the background of the match, and really sets you up. It’s very obvious that more effort was put into the presentation aspects of the game than the actual gameplay.
Overall, this is one of those games where you’re going to love it ot hate it. I would advise you to rent it or download the demo before you chucked down $60 dollars on this game.
I give the game a 6 out of 10.