The Madness Really Is Running Wild
I'll try to make this review short but sweet. This game, WWE Allstars, attempts to bring old school WWE wrestlers along with the current (and albeit infinitely more boring) roster into a package that literally makes everything larger than life. Unlike most other wrestling titles, Allstars attempts to bring in fighting game aspects into the mix into a unique but highly flawed package.
Graphically, WWE Allstars has an interesting look as the characters look more like something you'd see in a cartoon version of wrestling, or action figures, than the "sport" it you watch on television like most other titles try and achieve. The presentation of Allstars is the only worthwhile thing about this title...the roster is missing notable characters and entrances are limited to 10 second mini clips. With the amount of life they squeeze into each character they also are some of the least "alive" characters in a wrestling game this generation with robotic movements and lack of facial features or movement.
Game play is the most frustrating. There is little to no hit detection, response time on moves on laughable and easily manipulated, you can pin anyone inside or outside of the ring anytime with no real rules. Weird things as well like "I can't run at the beginning of the match" or "I'm wrestling Big Show and Andre the Giant at the same time and they can pull me out of moves easily" are highly annoying and can ruin the pace of a match. Reversals, unlike most wrestling games, are key to knowing when the game wants you to attempt a reversal opposed to "try and reverse when he enters the grapple". Specials moves are limited to specific areas of the ring for some characters, so if you are being griefed in the ring and want to fight outside with Rey Mysterio I hope you don't plan to use a special since a wrestler only has 1 move. Also, you can juggle opponents just like in Tekken or many other games in the fighter genre. Unfortunately, unless you are in a strict 1 on 1 matchup its pretty broken and uneventful. Insane things like "I can jump on the turnbuckle across the ring in one move, lock onto an opponent, and hit him from the same distance" also make you want to toss your controller.
The modes are fairly standard for wrestling fair, but as I mentioned before there really are no rules and you ca pin anywhere unless its a TKO match and the like. There is a single player portion which is you trying to get to a future fight with DX (shawn michaels/HHH), Randy Orton, or classic "Dead Man" Undertaker w/Paul Bearer. The cutscenes are great but only limited to around 2 per storyline. There is also a mode that puts predetermined wresterlers against each other to see who is "Mr. Wrestlemania" or who is the "Biggest Big Man in the WWE", though some of the matches are pretty idiotic (exe, "Who has the most wreckless aggression, or something like that). Fairly short in and of itself, though this is the mode that will allow you to unlock the extra characters like Kane, Mr Perfect, etc.
Create a character is possibly the lamest since WWE Smackdown...the original. Highly limiting and mostly built around "who do you want to mimic? OK, now make your character look dumb with this football helmet". If you are serious about your create a character in wrestling or want to create characters who are missing (as a ritual for me is to create both versions of Sting and then Goldberg) then you are completely out of luck.
Online is also very barebones but with the way the game is designed then you will be griefed constantly. Are you playing Rey Mysterio? Your opponent will stay outside so you cannot force them into the ring and you cannot perform your special move. Are you playing against Rey Mysterio Jr? Expect to get hit with literally nothing but top rope moves since the only way to avoid them, no matter where they come from, is to counter them. Nothing much beyond ranked match, quick match, and create a match.
Overall this title makes mistakes that would have been OK on Ps2 in the early days of wrestling games. With as flawed as the execution is compared to the presentation, I can't imagine anyone who is over the age of 12 getting into this game with Smackdown 2011 out there for cheaper when it has a much more robust package and you can easily recreate ANY of the classic WWE talent listed here (and sometimes play as well). I can only hope they either cut out of the juggling and just make an actual wrestling game with Allstar's presentation and a real season mode.
Of course WWE Allstars does have the Macho Man Randy Savage in it, but I'm afraid not even the Madness or the ability to create the Mega Powers can save this amateurish title from itself. Do yourself a favor and don't risk a ring out with WWE Allstars. I do hope however that the WWE decides to start including these wrestlers in its mainline game products OR decides to put more effort into the inevitable WWE Allstars sequel.