First off... I didn't bother to read the review until AFTER I played All-Stars for myself. Ok, yes. The IGN review is a little short. But even so, I think I pretty much agree with almost every word of it after playing it, myself.
I only disagree with one small thing. I'll get to that. This isn't my full review, though. I'll write that later. But here's my thoughts and reply to the review and the game.
The game modes are VERY shallow, it has a few tiny little balancing issues, but it's really fun, anyway. For how long, I don't know. I don't think this game will keep my attention for anywhere over a month, to be honest. But.. about their review's description of the gameplay.. I agree.. FOR THE MOST PART, with one exception.
Now it does say that the game has some depth, and it does also say that it's not nearly as "pick up and play" as it wanted to be. I agree with that.
The game is NOT the kind of game that newbies can enjoy, because it is frustrating and difficult UNLESS you go and learn and study all the moves the combos, what works against what and the deep strategies you're going to need to learn. YOU NEED a strategy guide to be good with everyone and know how to fight against everyone on anything other than SUPER EASY.
The good thing about this? It means that it's still a good game. It's not unfair. You just need to do your homework. Unlike SvR, you're gonna need that Prima guide, and I'm personally buying it.
Now it's cool that the game is like this for some. But this game is definitely more for the hardcore fighting game strategy Street Fighter, Marvel vs Capcom, ect crowd. That's good for what it is if you feel like learning everything and reading up on how to get the most out of the fights.
But I also kind of disagree on one thing, because if you switch it over to the super easy ROOKIE settings, then the whole gameplay style changes and then it's just "build up signature, hit signature, do it again, hit finisher" while trying to keep control by reversing their reversals (which is not easy). Then you CAN win by just mashing away and doing sigs when you get them.
If you DON'T have it on Rookie, and are playing it on NORMAL or HARD modes, You'd BETTER as hell know what all of John Cena's combos are, how and who to exploit with who, and memoraize strategies.
The good thing about this, though, is that this game wants you to do what Street Fighter games do. Pick your favorite guy, become a master at that guy (because everyone is VERY different), learn everything, and all of your windows of attack, what leaves you open, what combos to use against people, all that stuff. Learn it, know it, get good at your favorite wrestler.
Anything other than ROOKIE setting, and be prepared to pour over combo strategies and do all that "rock paper scissors, who is good against who and how do you get the most out of each character" thing.
If you like that, you'll love this. If you wanted the pick-up-and-play they advertised.. nah.
I enjoy it, anyway. I personally keep it on the easiest setting (Which is not that easy, let me be honest.) I won some, I lost some. It's a battle, and it's not at all fucking easy.
This game is not the admitted breeze through that SvR is.
And oh, by the way, I enjoy all the matches, except Cage Matches. They suffer from No Mercy syndrome. They drag on way too long compared to everything else and they are way too easy to lose.
By the way, the game modes are NOT what they were cracked up to be. Fantasy Warfare is just a series of exhibition battles you can choose, that come with cool video packages. and Path Of Champions is just a mode where you fight different 10 matches in a row. Against Superstars and Orton is the boss. Against Legends and Taker is the boss, or against Tag Teams and DX is the boss.
There is no story in this mode. Just a series of old school promo vignettes where the boss taunts you with a promo after you beat every 4 people.
The creation modes are very lacking. Can't select move sets, can't make entrances, can't select your own music independently of the entrance, But as i've said, I don't care. about any of that. I made a decent looking Mike Rocket, and i'll have some other CXA guys. It's good enough.
If you have friends over, (as Shand does with Matthew and Myron), then you guys will love this game. This is very much the kinda game you want to challenge friends to. If I do a review, i'll get into the specifics of all this stuff.
In the end, The game feels a bit lacking, not a lot of replay value, you have to study and become an expert to play it well, and has some certain flaws to it, to be sure.
It's a good game. Not a great game, not a bad game. It's a good game. Do I think it was worth the $60? Not really. I'm still glad I got it even though I think it's a wee bit overpriced, though. In the end, I do feel that this is a pretty decent, standard game that was worth more like $40.
I like it. But they have work to do next year for this game. A lot of work.