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Nostalgia sparking off early childhood memories of suspended disbelief, entertainment of the lowest denomination, theatrics put on just for the viewer, and grown men in spandex dancing, hugging, and falling on each other in a ring. Loosing myself in a perpetual rolling maul of a fighting game. Legends of Wrestlemania sticks too closely to the script of by-gone games and fails to revel in re-inventing the sapndex stylings of sports biggest theatre.
This isn't an ordinary wrestling game, this is Legends of Wrestle mania on the 360. The thing is it that despite the initial excitement, somewhere along the way it falls short and I'm left tired, disappointed, and even a little bored.
To explain this properly I need to take you back to my childhood, so bear with me as I recline on my couch. When I was a kid there were two wrestling games worth playing. One was on the SNES called WWF Royal Rumble, the other was a lesser known but just as much fun coin-operated game called WWF Wrestlefest.
Simple, easy to manoeuvre, and easy to become great at.
At home or away I would rule these games and perform the most awesome moves that the arcade crowd had ever seen. Suplexes, grapples, clotheslines, and as the mighty Undertaker I'd perform the deadly Tombstone!
You see, the game was amazingly simple. There were three buttons; one punched, one grappled, and one would throw the opponent into the ropes. Combinations lead to the bigger moves and the ultimate three count that would declare you a winner. Simple, easy to manoeuvre, and easy to become great at. All in all everything a child could possibly want from a video game.
This all linked in to my childhood love of wrestling. From the UK's 'Big Daddy' and 'Giant Haystacks' to the WWF's 'The Undertaker', I followed it all. I had the figures, I had the ring, I had the comics. These games meant a lot to me. I even followed the sitcom-esque plot lines.
But this, my friend, is the rub. I don't believe anymore and the spandex clad outings are now mere entertainment to me. Legends of Wrestlemania was in the end a tame experience because it failed to re-ignite my belief.
The annoying thing is though it really should be hitting those marks. It recreates famous matches from Wrestlemania's past, complete with actual video footage of the match and intros. You can even change history by playing as the loser and attempt to win, you can also recreate actual moves that happened in the match when it happened. You can play as some of the most famous wrestlers of the 80's and 90's including 'Hulk Hogan', 'The Ultimate Warrior', and the 'Big Boss Man'. But still it just doesn't quite feel right.
But why can't I suspend my disbelief again and get into it. I realised one night that the answer is simple. Legends has failed to reach its audience. Its target is all wrong. It should be aiming at the expert players like me, when in actual fact it waters the formula down to try and attract newcomers.
Legends is no Smackdown vs Raw, it's no Wrestlefest. It's simply the middle ground.
If you're like me and were brought up with wrestling games then nowadays there is only one contender. WWE Smackdown vs Raw. It's more complex than Legends but we've grown up in a constantly evolving video games world and we've moved with the times. We loved the old wrestling games but they have gotten bigger and better, and we have evolved to. We can cope with ten different buttons doing ten different things and this makes Legends seem almost infantile.
The controls are far too simple for a video gamer who has only known complex games. There is only one place that simple controls belong in today's world and that is in the retro section. In Xbox live arcade, in the Wii's virtual console or the Playstation Network Store. These are places where retro games are re-made, re introduced but ultimately left as they were. This is what legends should have done. Taken Royal Rumble, taken Wrestlefest and re-released then online. Instead we are left with a wannabe nostalgia game that doesn't hold a torch to its fuller, more complex, cousin.
Legends is no Smackdown vs Raw, it's no Wrestlefest. It's simply the middle ground that no-one wanted.
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