The game runs on a modified version of the Smackdown vs. Raw engine with many of the features changed. The game is controlled with the face buttons with a strike, block, and grab button. There is a three-tier level system that requires you to do some lower level moves to move up to a higher level. The last level of the moves includes your finisher. There is also a chain system that activates when you string together a combo of attacks on your opponent. Time briefly slows down and you and your opponent have a chance to do moves on each other, the person that gets the first strike gets an advantage with an additional attack on the opponent. Managers play a much bigger role in this game depending on the situation (Distractions, attacks, etc) and there is a "Create A Legend Mode" so players can reenact other classic battles with superstars who don't appear in the game. Legends of Wrestlemania includes connectivity with Smackdown vs Raw 2009, with the ability to transfer over created wrestlers, as well as the WWE roster from the game. This enables players to use the current wrestlers against the legends.
Gameplay involves the use of a health gauge, with body damage not playing a part, unlike its sister game. Weapons may now only be accessed if both players are outside and in the right place for that weapon, as well as having the opponent groggy before the option of grabbing a weapon is allowed. As like previous Smackdown games, DQ can be turned on and off, as well as entrances.
One of the main modes for the game is the Wrestlemania Tour Mode. Within this mode players get the chance to either Relive, Rewrite or Redefine many classic Wrestlemania matches from Wrestlemania I - XV.
Relive allows you to basically replay matches such as Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant from Wrestlemania III or Hulk Hogan vs The Ultimate Warrior from Wrestlemania VI or Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Rock from Wrestlemania XV. Before each match a short video package shows the fued between the wrestlers featured in the match and also highlights of their actual match from Wrestlemania. You are then given a list of objectives to achieve during the match to make sure you recreate things that actually happened during the real matches. If you achieve enough of the objectives during the match you are awarded with a gold medal which allows you you to progress to the next match and also unlock new match types for use during exhibition matches and also alternate attire for other wrestlers in the game.
Rewrite mode follows the same pattern but allows you to control the losing Superstar from a classic match and attempt to 'Rewrite' the result of match by winning.
Redefine mode allows you to change the conditions of a specific match by perhaps throwing a steel cage into the mix or making Hogan vs Andre a ladder match!!
There is also the Legend Killer Mode which features various tiers of Legend Wrestlers which you can fight in gauntlet style matches with a created wrestler in order to become the ultimate legend in the ring.
Other modes within the game include the traditional singles and tag team modes (with managers), as well as updated modes for ladder match, cage match and hell in a cell. Triple threat matches, handicap, submission matches, and an updated royal rumble mode have also been added to the list.
The following Superstars are default champions within exhibition modes in the game and can defend their titles witin the various match types:
WWE Champion Hulk Hogan, Intercontinental Champion 'Ravishing' Rick Rude, Tag Team Champions Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff, Million Dollar Champion Ted Dibiase.