With a fun limb damage system, well-done counter-to-counter finishers and some of the best paced wrestling action on a console to date, 5 Star Wrestling: ReGenesis is an improvement of the original, but still has a few more signature maneuvers to hit before it can be mentioned in the same breath as 2K’s WWE series.
But to compare the two simply isn’t fair. Developed by a small Scottish team in Serious Parody, what this group has been able to do with limited resources is proof that the indie game community can produce a competent and enjoyable wrestling title. Make no mistake, the game will be best enjoyed by hardcore wrestling fans and gamers, but it’s still a title that virtually anyone can jump right into.
For those that missed the game’s initial release on the PlayStation 3 last year, what makes 5 Star Wrestling ReGenesis a special title is the fact that every wrestler in the game (eight in total, parodied after WWE, TNA and WCW legends the likes of Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam, Goldberg and more) can counter their opponent’s finishing maneuver into their own. These special counters are so inventive and fun to pull off that you’ll mark out every time it happens. Sometimes, you’ll even pick your opponent because you want to see how sweet the finisher-to-finisher counter is. That is something that you cannot do in any other wrestling game.
Every competitor also has more than a handful of different versions of their finishers, from Curtis Angle grape-vining the leg during his Ankle Lock to Ragnabrok spinning before the F5. This, from a gameplay standpoint, is like whipped cream on a sundae for anyone who grew up playing games the likes of WWF No Mercy or WCW nWo Revenge. Simply put, every match in 5 Star Wrestling: ReGenesis is different. With a handful of different A.I. settings as well, the game can be as difficult as you want.
Another fantastic element of 5 Star Wrestling ReGenesis is the limb damage system. Forcing you to use strategy and not button mashing to demolish your opponents, you’re rewarded in the game if you pick your opponent apart. Mess with a strongman’s back and legs and they won’t be able to pick you up. Destroy a high-flyer’s legs with strikes and submissions and they won’t be able to go off the top rope. To see this element so well-executed is another reason why real wrestling fans will enjoy it.
Most gamers aren’t hardcore wrestling fans, however. They want beautiful graphics and can care less about gameplay. They want a ton of modes and spit polish. 5 Star Pro Wrestling isn’t in the same league as an AAA wrestling game, but it has a ton of passion and a gameplay system that has, even more, room to grow. With more attention paid to collision detection and a patch or two to clear out a few ugly bugs, it can and will be a cult favorite on the PlayStation 4. For the time being, even with planned updates and DLC, it still feels like a work in progress. It’s a safe assumption to make that once more characters have been added that the game will have a much different feel. Ultimately, 5 Star Wrestling: ReGenesis is an enjoyable title that still needs more work before it can be considered anything else but a cool distraction on the PlayStation 4.
In the end, if you love wrestling games, it doesn’t matter if there are animation bugs, glitches and no story mode. Simply put, if you dig wrestling games, 5 Star Wrestling: ReGenesis is worth more than a try and overall is a better game than the PlayStation 3 version.
Counter-to-Counter Finishers: This isn’t anything new, but like the PlayStation 3 version of the game, the Counter-to-Counter finishers are a blast to pull off and away from the Limb-Damage system, are the main reason to play the game.
Improved Character Models: Those who expect to see WWE 2K16-caliber graphics will be disappointed, but when compared to the PS3 version, it’s easy to see the vast improvement. The fact that all of the characters have their own bodies and faces is a definite step in the right direction.
Ability to Change Character Alignment: While there’s only eight characters in the game, the ability to unlock the “heel” or “face” version of all of the characters makes them all play different and adds a bit more playability.
Still Buggy: Some of the finisher animations are still off and characters will sometimes bounce around the ring,
Only Eight Characters: Although you can change the alignment of each of the characters, without any DLC currently, many casual gamers will find the variety of characters a bit thin.
No Story Mode: Although there is a mode that allows you to unlock new costumes, matches and arenas, it’s hard to get attached to it as most gamers will want to play with friends instead.
Although WWE, WCW and Lucha Libre legend Rey Mysterio has been confirmed for the game and there will be more characters and modes, 5 Star Wrestling ReGenesis still has bugs and wrinkles that will turn away casual gamers. However, if you live and die on wrestling games, it’s a must-play that you’ll have the most fun with in a multiplayer setting.