WWE Legends of WrestleMania (360)
Forget Brock Lesnar and John Cena. With awesome superstars like Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior and Bret "The Hitman" Heart, the best days of the World Wrestling Federation featured many moments that today's young WWE roster has yet to live up to. With a metric ton of unlockables, live footage straight from the achieves and dozens of classic wrestlers hailing from the glory days of the WWF, Legends of WrestleMania is a fan's dream come true and one of the most fun wrestling games in years.
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WWE Legends of WrestleMania is made for fans who have fond memories of watching wrestlers like Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan go at it in the squared circle. Legends harkens back to a period in time when the "sport" was less about grappling mechanics and more about heavy punches and power moves. Thanks to a great deal of dedication from developer Yuke's and the WWE, Legends of WrestleMania looks and plays like a dream match, despite some questionable controls and clunky physics.
From the moment you first see WWE Legends of WrestleMania in action, you'll be amazed that the game looks as good as it does. Whether you're playing on PS3 or the Xbox 360, the overly muscled physiques of Yokozuna and Andre the Giant may not be very realistic, but they're definitely imposing and powerful. I'd even say they visuals compare favorably to the Smackdown vs. Raw series. Entrance themes and theme music play out just like the real-life matches they imitate; I had a nostalgic tear in my eye as I saw a young, lanky Undertaker take to the squared circle to his trademark music.
Much of the incentive to play WWE Legends of WrestleMania comes from unlocking events and footage in the WrestleMania Tour mode, where you can replay famous match-ups from past WrestleManias, like Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior or Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock. Even better, the game also gives you the option to "Relive", "Rewrite", and "Redefine" matches, all of which let you alter the very course of Wrestlemania history with insanely awesome results.
No Ring Rust Here
While Legends looks and sounds almost perfect, the dividing factor for wrestling fanatics may be the grappling engine, which has been retooled to focus more on Quick Time Event button cues and button mashing. Even though the action feels faster than Smackdown vs. Raw, the combat in Legends isn't perfect. Instead of complex analog stick rotation linked to dozens of specific moves, simply hitting the face buttons will result in damaging combos. I actually like the fact that the more you build up your Finishing Meter, the more showy and powerful your attacks get; I just wish that it were easier to connect on most of them. The hit detection is spotty at best but strangely enough, it doesn't affect the computer A.I. at all.
Still, the arcade style action is a blast when you've unlocked the deep roster of characters. Old school favorites like The Big Bossman, Rick Rude and the Undertaker are present and accounted for, and each wrassler has a full complement of costumes and intro movies. There are a large number of match types as well, which lets you mix things up nicely. You even have the ability to import wrestlers from Smackdown vs. Raw 2009, which is a welcome feature for sure. There's just no two ways about it: WWE Legends of WrestleMania is a great trip down memory lane and it's a fantastic wrestling game to boot.
PROS: Nostalgic footage from WWF archives, lots of unlockables, graphics look ridiculously good for a wrestling game.
CONS: Stiff wrestling engine, hit-or-miss collusion detection, difficulty is uneven in several matches, regardless of current in-game settings.