E3 2010: Lucha Libre AAA: Héroes del Ring
Lucha Libre AAA: Héroes del Ring is a wrestling game based on the quintessentially Mexican lucha libre fighting style. Encompassing all of the unique traits which the sport has become famous for, this looks to be a popular choice amongst fans in a year filled with an array of Americanized wrestling titles. We got a chance to go hands-on with the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game at this year’s E3, and were given a presentation from a lead programmer at Immersion Software & Graphics.
The sport of lucha libre is as much about honor as it is the high-flying wrestling moves and over-the-top drama in the way of showmanship. Héroes del Ring provides an opportunity to live out your dreams of becoming a luchadore with its specialized create-a-character system and a neat Mask vs. Hair gameplay option, allowing players to put their pride on the line.
These matches function like any other match in the game: your goal is to overcome the opponent by pinfall, submission, or disqualification. The loser’s identity is then revealed to the world and in real-life they’re privilege of wearing the mask is revoked for several years. Alternatively, if the wrestler has no mask, they’re given a humiliating haircut in the ring and shamed in front of all their fans. The game attempts to emulate this attribute of lucha libre wrestling, although in order to regain the right to wear your mask you’ll only have to perform well in three consecutive online matches.
Masks are totally customizable in the character creator menu and from what we were shown, you’ll be given a set number of options, including several choices for eye/mouth openings, a number of pre-made graphics to place on your mask, and even some accessories to decorate the top and side with protruding ornaments for your head.
Apart from the mask, you’ll be able to switch-up a few other appearance attributes, assign authentic lucha libre style wrestling moves to your character, but most importantly, you’ll be able to designate whether the created character will be playing as a “heal” or a “face” archetype through the game’s story mode.
While we were only shown the first match of the good guy/“face” character’s story-path, it looked like a surprisingly self-aware wrestling game, which caught me off guard at first, as the created character went on to narrate his scripted intentions both before and after the match, perhaps even over-explaining his motives in the cut scenes. I found it entertaining, I’m just not sure it was for any of the right reasons.
Again, it’s worth noting how authentic Héroes del Ring is to the Mexican culture which inspired it. You can apparently set the game’s audio to Spanish voice-overs with English subtitles, although everything we were shown was in English, and in my opinion, was worse off, for it.
I’m not so crazy about what I played of the game, either. It felt like a sub-par wrestling game with a lot of enthusiasm and style, but nothing about the in-game action really set it apart. At the very least, Héroes del Ring offers up something unique, and its emphasis on the culture behind the sport is what really makes it stand out.
Lucha Libre AAA: Héroes del Ring is slated for release on August 8, of this year, for the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, and DS; we were only able to go hands-on with the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. The games on Nintendo platforms were not shown, or even mentioned. Make of that what you will.