WWE Legends of Wrestlemania Review for Xbox 360

WWE Legends of Wrestlemania Review for Xbox 360

Getting in the Ring with the Best

Although the past few SmackDown Vs. Raw titles have featured special unlockable “superstar” wrestlers from the WWE’s past, there has never been a title that focused directly on legendary wrestlers from the WWE’s past. That is, until now.

WWE Legends of Wrestlemania screenshot

Legends of WrestleMania is the first WWE-based wrestling game to give you WrestleMania-focused gameplay involving classic wrestlers like Rowdy Roddy Piper, Dusty Rhodes, and Bret Hart, letting you relieve their classic WrestleMania fights.

The game’s main mode, WrestleMania Tour Mode is pretty much this game’s selling point, allowing you to relive classic WrestleMania bouts. When you enter the mode, you are invited to either Relive, Rematch, or Redefine classic matches from WrestleMania events past. Before you start each match, a highlight reel detailing the events prior to the WrestleMania match is displayed, and you are treated to about five minutes of classic footage.

If you have chosen to Relive a WrestleMania bout, you will play as the match victor, and your goal will be not only to win the match, but to fulfill a set of objectives to make the match more like it was during the real event. For instance, if you are playing the WrestleMania II steel cage mach between “Hulk” Hogan and King Kong Bundy, you will get extra points if you are able to prevent Bundy from attempting to leave the steel cage mid-match. If you fulfill enough of these extra objectives, you will win a “medal,” which will allow you to unlock the next WrestleMania event.

WWE Legends of Wrestlemania screenshot

But, as much fun as it is reliving the past WrestleMania events, you can also play through old grudge matches from the point of view of the loser in the Rematch mode. This mode is almost identical to the Relive functionality, as you will still have a set of objectives for your wrestler to complete before they are able to move on to the next WrestleMania bout. Of course, if you want to throw out the rules completely, you can check out the Redefine functionality, but I have to say that this was the shallowest mode of the three, and I much preferred the guided experience of the Relive and Rematch functionality.

The only qualm I had with the WrestleMania Tour mode is that it is far too short. Although Wrestling games have never really been known for their long single-player modes, this one clocks in under ten hours for an average player, and probably around the five hour mark for those who are experienced with this type of game. While there have been only so many WrestleMania events, there are plenty of non-main events that could have been included in the game to lengthen the experience.

WWE Legends of Wrestlemania screenshot

In addition to the WrestleMania Tour mode, Legends of WrestleMania also includes a Legend Killer mode, which allows you to pit your own created character through the Legends of WrestleMania gamut and make them into their own WWE legend. This mode is a little bit longer than the WrestleMania tour mode, and you can level up your created character RPG-style as you go through the different matches. Although I wasn’t as excited to play with my own character as I was when going through the historic WrestleMania matches, I did enjoy leveling my character up; it was a nice alternative to the main mode.

However, like any wrestling game, what will give this game its lasting power is its multiplayer. This is facilitated in Legends of WrestleMania through the game’s exhibition mode. Here you can play with up to six friends locally (and up to four online) in various matches like Hell in a Cell and tag-team. Although the match types aren’t as varied as they were in SmackDown vs. Raw 09 (alas, the fabled Inferno match is gone!) but the classic feel of the matches fits right in with the games nostalgic aesthetic.

WWE Legends of Wrestlemania screenshot

Although all the different modes are lots of fun, and there is certainly a lot to do in this game, any wrestling fan will tell you that a wrestling game lives and dies by its combat mechanism. This is where Legends of WrestleMania gets into murky territory. The game really tries to appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers, and I don’t think it really did either camp any justice.

The controls are exceedingly simple, with a single button controlling the standard attack, and another button which is used for grappling attacks. Winning a match simply entails spamming the standard attack button, and even though some direction-based combos are possible, just hitting the attack button is generally enough to beat an opponent up enough to get a grapple in, and then after a few more taps of the attack button you will be able to do your finisher.

While this sounds like a great way to get more casual players into the action, the control falls flat with an onslaught of quick-time events. In order to do a reversal, a heavy grapple, or a finisher, you will have to go through those friendly little button sequences onscreen, which is something that will certainly feel alien to those who haven’t been active in the post God of War video game world. Even as a seasoned gamer, I felt like these quick-time events were a little on the fast side, and I could see casual gamers getting fed up rather quickly with this facet of the control. In short, Legends of WrestleMania’s control scheme is too complex for casual gamers, yet too simplistic for seasoned pros, and this middle ground really doesn’t make either camp happy.

Visuals in Legends of WrestleMania are very good, and the wrestler models feature top-notch animation and a good amount of detail. The only thing that might bug some people is the almost action figure-like look of some of the characters (they have a curious plastic sheen and some interesting muscle definition.) But, this stylistic element isn’t really all that bothersome, and I was pleased with the way the wrestlers looked and moved. One of my main complaints from SmackDown vs. Raw 09 has also been addressed in this title’s visuals: the crowd animations. The blocky, repetitive forms of the former title have been axed in favor of smoother models, which is a much-needed improvement. However, the crowd still has some nasty pixelation issues when the camera moves around too much, but I was not too distracted by this shortcoming.

As the first WWE Legends-focused title, WWE Legends of WrestleMania does a good job of creating a memorable experience that you can share with friends or enjoy all by yourself. The WrestleMania Tour mode, with all its classic matches and archival footage, is really a treat to play and a great way to pump yourself up for upcoming wrestling events. Although this strength of the game is undeniable, there are a few key elements, such as control, that hinder it from being the best wrestling experience currently available. But still, for a wrestling fan, this title is a must-own, and if you don’t mind the limited moves set or schizophrenic control scheme, then you are basically guaranteed a good time with Legends of WrestleMania.

The wrestlers look smooth and the animations are very fluid, despite being repetitive. Crowd animations are better than they were in SmackDown vs. Raw 09, but are still a little rough overall. 3.0 Control
Controls are a little too simplistic for the average gamer, and persistent quick-time events may turn off more casual users, leaving pretty much everyone a little underwhelmed. 4.6 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Included WWE-licensed tracks sound great, and commentary, though awkward at times, is not terribly repetitive. 3.9 Play Value
Although playing through a few rounds with your buddies is certainly fun, the real value from this title comes from the nostalgic matchups and the vintage footage that comes with them. 3.9 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Distinguished Roster and Managers: Relive the entertaining lives of 40 larger-than-life WWE Legends and Managers. The managers will also have extensive functionality, play important roles in match outcomes.
  • Absolute Realism: Embrace a historically accurate representation of WWE telecasts from the Eighties and Nineties, including dynamic visual treatments, signature ring entrances, renowned commentators, notable venues, and much more.
  • New Combo Fighting System: Explore a new, grapple-based fighting system that captures the high-energy action and drama seen in historic WWE matches. Players will have each Legends’s arsenal of grapple moves, strike attacks, reversals, and taunts at their disposal throughout a variety of current and nostalgic match types.
  • WrestleMania Tour Mode: Participate key matches from multiple WrestleMania events. Vintage WWE footage will set up matches, explain feuds and detail the rivalries behind them, situating players in the heart of each contest.
  • Create-A-Legend: Create the Legends of tomorrow, complete with customizable costumes, entrances, move-set and more.
  • Online Functionality: Challenge players from all over the world to matches on the biggest stages in WWE history.
  • Screen Resolution: Up to 720p (Standard HDTV).

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