By: Jeff Cater
5 Star Wrestling: REgenesis is a parody of the wrestling phenomenon. Done by a group called Serious Parody, the game has ample attitude but nothing else to encourage parting with your hard-earned wrestling dollars.
First of all, the controls aren’t nearly as snappy as I’d like them to be. Whether you throw a punch in a random direction, or an extra haymaker because of input latency, the controls are tough to deal with. It’s difficult to execute any string of moves successfully because your brawler will end up facing the wrong direction and becoming a victim to a flurry of grapples. A prompt will be quickly displayed (R2) to reverse your opponent’s move, but the damn reversals never seem to stick.
Aside from smashing your opponent in his triceps with the “X” button, you can press Square to bust out into a clumsy run. You can grab an opponent by using the right stick, and if you don’t get immediately countered you can use R2, L1 and L2 to modify your slam, which is also done via the right stick post-grapple. So there’s a lot of toggling this and that, and it quickly feels convoluted.
Aside from the arena that has giant buzz saws spinning around near the entrance, the visuals are just icky. Our stars have stiff, jarring animation sets and look like they’re not fully textured yet. Everything from climbing the turnbuckle to going for the pin looks unnatural. They will clip through the ropes and mat during every move and also through one another. When they’re not clipping through everything, they’ll often mysteriously wind up on the other side of the squared circle.
On top of that, it is an aurally barren experience. Getting a rise out of the crowd is difficult with the sloppy controls, so don’t expect to hear much from them. The American Pride centered soundtrack gets really old really fast as well. I mean, the lyrics of one of the songs are literally just a bunch of people saying “AMERICA…!” over and over.
While there is an absolute ton of things to do — each wrestler has their own list of challenges to contend with — they’re just not any fun. Here’s a rundown of the game’s available modes:
Exhibition allows you to tailor a match to your liking, choosing from options between having an ordinary wrestling match, a submission match, or even a no-holds barred match. You can select the venue and customize match length and rule considerations.
Quickplay mode has two separate buttons on the exact same screen, so it’s double quick. From the main menu, you can toggle your Quickplay wrestler by moving the right stick back and forth, and switch the arena by moving the stick up or down.
It’s exactly what you’d expect. Land this many blows, perform this combo, beat the opponent in under X pin attempts and so on.
Three different sections are found here: Simple Gameplay, Deep Gameplay, and SUPER Deep Gameplay. The first two are essentially basics, and the third focuses on how location-based damage can hinder you from completing a move.
So, there’s basically three different ways to start a Quickplay/Exhibition. It just depends on how quick you want the damn game to happen. It’s also of note that the AI is absolutely insane unless you dial them completely down in the options menu, and then they just lay like a log.
It’s hard to recommend 5 Star Wrestling: REgenesis to anyone, no matter how hardcore of a wrestling fan they are. Even someone seeking out a parody of the wrestling genre will likely be better off buying one of the higher budget games out there and just making silly characters. This whole game feels like it’s made up of poor Create-A-Character attempts from similar games.