THQ has had success for years with their WWE-branded Smackdown series, and one of the things that fans have been requesting time and time again is a Legends-based game. Never one to disappoint, THQ has delivered WWE Legends of Wrestlemania, featuring around forty of the most-recognized names from the 1980s and 90s and a Wrestlemania Tour mode that focuses on the significant matches of Wrestlemania 1-15, just in time for this year’s 25th anniversary of Wrestlemania.
Will this game be a five-star title, worthy of being included with the 25th Anniversary of Wrestlemania, or will this be a game that we wish had remained dark?
Legends of Wrestlemania was developed pretty much concurrently with Smackdown vs. Raw 2009, so it shares much of the same graphic style. However, THQ did amp up several of the Legends to make them larger than life in keeping with the theme of bringing back the feeling of the wrestling games of the 80s and 90s. The Legends are very nicely detailed and generally look and move like you expect Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, and the rest to move back in their heyday, and the game has very good lighting effects on both the wrestlers as well as the pyro and the general lighting effects in the various arenas.
Object collision is also mostly a plus, with the ring ropes deforming as someone presses against them or steps into them, and all of the various items that the Legends interact with all impacting as you would expect them to, without any obvious gaps or ‘air’ between the characters on-screen.
One of the only issues, graphically, is that when the camera is at the right distance and angle, it becomes very obvious that the audience is made up of two-dimensional sprites as opposed to the three-dimensional polygons that everything else is. Sometimes as the match is ending, the camera will turn to show that the audience is very obviously flat, and at the right distance, certain rows of the audience appears pixelated. Also, when you get a close-up of the audience, the quality level between them and the Legends is even more pronounced, as they look flat-out ugly up close.
Admittedly, THQ and Yukes did an outstanding job at cramming in a large number of virtual audience members, and some shortcuts have to happen in order to make the game run with all of the figures present, which is understandable. However, the camera itself could have been better utilized to avoid the graphical shortcomings from being quite so obvious.
Yukes and the WWE did an outstanding job putting together the various video packages for the matches in Wrestlemania Tour mode, giving players the opportunity to see the Legends of earlier times in some of their most important matches. The WWE brought in WWE Hall of Famers Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler to do the commentary, and it’s obvious that they enjoyed doing this, as you could see a number of references that were made to the Legends of the past, as well as tying the game’s matches into the actual historical events that happened during those matches.
The entrance themes are also well done and accurate to the Legends, although in the cases of some of the WWE Legends, there was no entrance music or Titantron videos for them. In these cases, the WWE created new themes and videos for them, and they fit the Legends quite well, and help to flesh out the game a bit more. Also, the sounds of the wrestling and associated noises involved with the matches are also very well done, and sound accurate.
One of the only issues sound-wise is sometimes Jim Ross or Jerry Lawler will be in the middle of a sentence and then completely cut off to hit another reaction when you pull off a move or something. While I’m sure they cut themselves off on television now and again, it isn’t as abrupt as it feels in the game, which can be a bit distracting.
The controls for WWE Legends of Wrestlemania are much simpler than those of Smackdown vs. Raw 2009.
Have you ever had a sandwich where all of the meat was in one spot, so that that part of the sandwich was wonderful, but the rest of the sandwich was nearly bread?
As I said before, the largest problem with WWE Legends of Wrestlemania is that the meat of the game is in the Relive portion of the