There are times when promoters team up wrestlers in an attempt to create a unique collaboration that soars past comprehension. While duos like The Rock and Mankind, and even more recent ones such as MJF and Adam Cole, don’t work on paper, they were magic on screen. However, for every strange but excellent pair, there is a plethora of Hogan and Edge-style mixtures that did not work. The same notion of taking separate entries and placing them in the squared circle exists in WrestleQuest. Will this Sports Entertainment-tinged RPG manage to claim the championship or will it be an audacious but forgettable run?
You play as a newcomer to the industry, Randy ‘Muchacho Man’ Santos. Inspired by your hero, you embark on an adventure to work through the system to the world championship and get a glimpse of life as a wrestling legend. Parallel to this is another story about the son of a promoter, jobbing and grinding for the sake of the business. While they are interesting tales, the delivery of both lacks the (Ric) flair required to engage the audience. The dialogue often dithers around the point with the main story taking a backseat to smaller objectives. Conversations get quite long and lack focus. Due to this, it can seem like you are involved in pointless errands rather than tasks that build towards a clear purpose.
A Toy Story
The world itself breathes the industry with everything themed and tailored to the sport. Statues of legends are praised and icons inhabit areas; all of which help to create a fascinating world that fans will love to roam. Nods and references are littered throughout with terminology thrown around which will please aficionados. Although a visual treat, there isn’t much to do in each region. Fleshing out the areas with more activities would have encouraged exploration, however, this isn’t the case and as a result, it acts more like a path to your next objective.
Wrestling in the 90s was different from the modern product. Characters were larger than life and strict kayfabe meant that there was a blur between fiction and reality. Due to this, plenty of people idolised their unique personalities considering them as real-life superheroes. This led to a boom in the toy industry as fans collected Hasbro WWF figures to live out their own fighting fantasy. WrestleQuest leans into this idea as each NPC is a toy within a large world. Although it’s a novel idea, it takes away from the overall theme. Battles between wrestlers, no matter how zany the gimmick, feel grounded due to them taking place in the ring. However, fighting rats and other creatures in the same environment distances itself from the premise which will make you lose interest.
When you initiate a battle, you will warp to a ring where you must use a range of attacks in order to claim victory. Here, you can choose to attack via a strike, unleash a gimmick move, taunt to gain hype or use an item. Most moves require a successful button prompt to improve the strength of the attack. Fights become more complex as you can take part in tag and trio matches, and use summons and manager boosts to get an advantage. While this does improve in-ring segments, there are some inconsistencies that hinder fights. Certain enemies will lose after a particular amount of damage, while others require a pinfall. This can mean that if you are fighting a number of the same foes, you will have to do several pins in one match which is a little tedious.
Moves are massively important to wrestling. Connecting gracefully can maximize impact and help legitimize the lethal nature of a finish, however, a poorly executed attack can be laughable. Unfortunately, moves in WrestleQuest do not accurately represent the source material which makes battles appear messy. I would have also liked to have seen more of the characters have a larger collection of wrestling-based moves rather than random attacks. Too many just have themed-based strikes rather than being tied to the sport which makes it feel like any other RPG.
In addition to the in-ring action, there are other aspects that link to the world of pro wrestling. At times, you will take part in promos which help to build hype for matches and ever get the opportunity to customize your gear and intro. A highlight is some of the narrative choices that appear. Although not frequent enough, these allow you to opt for different paths to your goal. For example, you can choose a manager who is morally ambiguous but will help you get certain opportunities or go for a clean-cut route to the top.
The love and passion gone into the creation of WrestleQuest is clear, however, certain design decisions and a repetitive combat system make this a stumble down memory lane. Although the story is full of intrigue and famous wrestlers form part of the adventure, the repeat deviations quickly diminish interest in the narrative. Combat gets repetitive and animations fail to capture the nuances of the sport. Although fans of wrestling will enjoy seeing legends as part of the experience, some design decisions fumble the finish.
*** An Xbox Series X review code was provided by the publisher ***
- Wrestling Legends
- A Ton of References
- Full of Heart
- Repetitive Gameplay
- Battle Animations
- More Wrestling Moves Needed