Brief WWE All-Stars Online Impressions

Posted March 28th, 2011 at 1:30 pm

As an arcade-style game WWE All-Stars has a lot riding on its head-to-head experience and in particular online play. THQ has struggled with online in other titles due to severe performance issues and a lack of options. In the case of WWE All-Stars it appears they may have turned a corner and delivered an all-around enjoyable experience. 

Worth noting immediately is that there is no “Online Pass” required to access the online functionality. This is a brilliant decision on THQ’s part as multiplayer holds so much of the replay value and All-Stars is already overpriced in the eyes of many as an arcade game with a $60 tag.

All the match types are available to play online. Tornado Tag Team, Steel Cage, Elimination, and Extreme Rules are all there along with the standard 1vs1. Leaderboards track records based on each match type as they can all be played as “ranked”. Additional users can connect in and participate in the match types that involve three or four wrestlers. Tornado Tag Team in particular offers potential as a great online mode with friends teaming up and leaderboards tracking results.

Having completed four matches so far they all ran smoothly and responsively, and that includes fatal four way and triple threat matches that had more than the typical two users connected in. I was even able to reverse moves at about the same rate as I do offline (maybe 10-20% of the time). With only a couple people on the servers the experience now can’t be extrapolated to mean it will run perfectly once the game is released and the server load increases however. Performance will have to be monitored tomorrow and through the week to see how things hold up.

Created wrestlers can be used and being that there is no real ratings advantage that can be exploited the matches will be balanced in that regard, whether they are created guys or actual WWE superstars. It has already been interesting seeing some of the creations. Check out the video for an example of a few (and note that those two guys were friends going in and it was practically a handicap match due to that).

Despite the impressive level of balance to the gameplay there is one concern encountered already that could damage the online experience to an extent. Given that there is no real stun state even after big “signature” moves the tactic is to get up and run away from finishers. In fact my first online match involved the two of us triggering probably a combined ten finishers that neither of us hit because we would run away or roll out of the ring to avoid being grappled. Now, there is a “flashing red” stun state and during that a finisher can essentially be locked in (by pressing all the trigger and bumper buttons together), but often when wanting to hit a finisher they are not in this state. Those can be anxious moments especially if the opponent has a finisher of their own built up.

Due to that I switched my created fighter’s finisher to a flying karate chop and not coincidentally won my next match. Any flying finisher is going to have an advantage because they can be hit from anywhere and it is less likely someone will reverse it on a catch than just be able to run away from the others. That I figured this out after a single match is a sign that everyone is going to realize it soon enough and we’ll see nearly all users controlling acrobatic WWE wrestlers or their own created guys featuring finishers of the leaping variety.

Overall though the early time spent with online play for WWE All-Stars has been encouraging. Having all the match types and allowing for up to four users to connect into a single match is going to make online a lot of fun as long as the performance remains solid. Look for the “Hits and Misses” review of WWE All-Stars tomorrow morning!