WWE wrestling, or WWF as it was known then, was massively popular in the 80s and 90s. Every school had a kid who claimed that Bret Hart gave him his pink sunglasses when really his mum had bought them in the gift shop, and everyone knew someone who had been suspended for ignoring the disclaimers and attempting a backbreaker in the playground.
WWE Legends of WrestleMania, therefore, will strike a nostalgic note with many, and few will find fault with the roster; there are over 40 wrestlers and managers spanning two decades, from Andre the Giant to The Rock, and each is accurately recreated.
The main single player campaign, WrestleMania Tour Mode, boasts an innovative approach to gameplay that places less emphasis on trying to win and more on recreating the spectacle of the most famous matches in WrestleMania history. Matches come in three categories; Relive, Rewrite and Redefine. In Relive, you play as one of the wrestlers in a classic match and, while you're free to win however you like, the only way to earn a gold medal is by replicating the original match as closely as you can via mini-objectives.
For example, in one match you control Hulk Hogan against Sgt. Slaughter at WrestleMania VII. To get the gold medal you have to break out of a pin while Hogan is bleeding from his forehead, then go onto win the match with his famous big boot and legdrop.
In Rewrite matches, the aim is to change history; so you have to try and beat Bret Hart as Yokozuna at WrestleMania X, for example. In Redefine, you get to play out classic matches but with different rules, so Big Bossman vs. Mr. Perfect from WrestleMania VII becomes a Ladder Match, where you have to incapacitate your opponent for long enough to climb a ladder and unhook the belt hanging high above the ring.
You can create your own legend in the making using the flexible creation mode; there are options to fine-tune everything from physique to facial features and there are dozens of outlandish outfits. You can even customise your character's moves and entrance to the ring, and there are plenty of firework options to herald your arrival with a bang. There's even the option to select your own music tracks from the PS3 Home Menu (XMB) for your entrance.
Once you're created your grappler, you can attempt Legend Killer mode, where you rise through the ranks, taking on a well-known superstar at each stage. Wins unlock new outfits. If you have a copy of WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009, you can even import the full roster into WWE Legends of WrestleMania and pit classic wrestlers against their modern counterparts.
Online matches are easy to set up and you can chat with your opponent via Voice Chat as you grapple. There are also leaderboards so you can compare your performance in WrestleMania Tour and Legend Killer modes.
With an impressive roster of classic wrestlers and retro arcade gameplay, WWE Legends of WrestleMania is a celebration of a time when the moustache and mullet combo was king. While much of its appeal lies in this nostalgia, it also presents a unique approach to wrestling games in how it is less about winning at all costs and more about recreating classic matches, in keeping with the scripted nature of sports entertainment.
Download the free demo from PlayStation Store for a taste of the full game.