Archive for April, 2012

Lucha Libre AAA Heroes del Ring is flawed but offers Latino perspective to video games

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Slang, who is partly behind Lucha Libre AAA is based out of Mexico City and has been in the video game distribution business for years in Latin America. Earlier this month, I interviewed Federico Beyer of Slang, asking his company motivations on releasing a core Mexican IP based on the popular lucha libre sport. He said they have a belief that only Slang and Immersion Games were able to do a lucha libre game because of their culture understanding of the sport and its fans. Lucha Libre AAA is an arcade wrestling fighting game that has enough features to hold its targeted audience of adolescent boys and young men, but the game does have critical flaws.

One of the core features is the opportunity to build your luchador (character) and challenge others online. While other games like UFC Undisputed and Fight Night, only feature a subset of options, Lucha Libre AAA offers the option to build costumes and masks. In this mode alone, players can spend hours creating a character. The options also extend to a customizable ring set of moves. Cheap Jerseys from china These moves are from weak and heavy grapples, and include high flying turnbuckle jumps and finishing moves. Although wrestling moves seem similiar, there are unique set of moves to Lucha Libre like Huracn rana, Suicida, and La Campana .

The story mode campaign, which must be played to unlock wrestlers, are actually two. One side you play as a tecnico and the other as a rudo. As one progresses, it is revealed the tecnicos are the heroes and the rudos are the heels. The game awards players points by winning over the audience (move sets are based on points labeled as stars) all leading up to a finishing move. As a tecnico, fairness and high flying moves are rewarded, whereas a rudo is awarded points for fighting dirty and outside the ring.

The progression of the story mode is based on each successful match with your custom wrestler. The player is awarded with documentary style lucha libre videos. These videos show the beginning of the sport in Mexico, the Super Campeonato and the dynasties of Mexican luchador families. The hometown heroes of the AAA is the Wagner Family; Dr. Wagner and his two sons Dr. Wagner Jr and Silver King.

Lucha Libre AAA does indeed have its flaws. Besides the minuscule glitches such as sound going off and on, there are two issues that cause frustration. First, the difficulty level balance. Easy is too easy and Normal is ridiculously hard. While playing on Normal, the AI countered every move, and while knocked down on the canvas, repeatedly pressing X to get up became annoying. On Easy, the notch of difficulty was as simple as a few body slams, and then the finishing move all within a quick minute.

The second issue was the heavy reliance on the counter moves. They important in Dead or Alive and other fighting games and Lucha Libre is no different. Players counter by pressing the L1 Button at the right moment. Do it too early or too late and your wrestler gets hit. But when one becomes the master of the counter, the later stages of the story mode becomes a one button fest. And with the later stages relying solely on countering, frustration starts to set in as the timing seems to be off at times. Forget trying to attack the AI, as the computer controlled wrestler will counter every move.

The story mode, and as much as I enjoyed the historical videos, lacked the the drama of what Lucha Libre AAA is known for. In the past year, drama has unfolded in the Mexican Luchador Family Dynasty, the Wagners. First, the luchador known as Silver King who played Ramses in Nacho Libre changed his name to Silver Cain. That move coincides with Dr. Wagner Jr. escalating feud with his brother. Now, there video of their deceased father, Dr. Wagner, claiming Cain is the better wrestler. The drama unfolded over the course of a few matches, yet there is no option to partake in that storyline, which is a lost opportunity.

Lucha Libre is a good game, even with ill timed game breaking flaws, the highlights outweigh them. The wrestling and fighting genre is a tough marketplace, but Lucha Libre AAA has enough good attributes to be a worthwhile purchase for a young boy or teen. For Latinos living in the United States, with enough support, we may see Slang continue to experiment with Latino themes in the videogame marketplace.

WHAT: Lucha Libre AAA Heroes del Ring

PLATFORM: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

RATING: Teen

GRADE: C

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