What’s this?! A game preview on Laser Time? YES! YES! YES!
Yes, we tend to stick to shouting into microphones about games that we’ve played for hours, but seeing as how WWE Immortals just launched, and the fact that Laser Time houses 95% of my wrestling discussion (the other 5% can be found on my Twitter and on IGN), I hope you’ll enjoy my thoughts on the time I recently spent with WWE’s most arcadey experience ever. Now then, lets proceed with the reasons I’m hitting up the App Store for it right now.
1 – IT’S SIMPLE
Look, a fighting game debuting on iOS isn’t going to show up at Evo anytime soon, but you know what? I don’t need a WWE-focused arcade fighter to be deep. Immortals’ combat consists of light attacks done with taps, stronger moves deployed by swiping, blocks done when two fingers are on the screen, tagging out to one of the other members of your three-person squad done by hitting their icon, and super moves that are performed when filled gauges are tapped. Granted, there’s a bit of nuance–you need to properly time your attacks to build combos and notice tells from your opponent’s attack when it comes time to block–but NetherRealm knows that a game like WWE Immortals shouldn’t dwell too much on mechanics.
2 – IT’S CRAZY
NetherRealm has never been hotter between Mortal Kombat’s second wind and the delightfully destructive Injustice, and WWE Immortals fits the team’s pedigree to a tee. The Bella Twins have costumes fashioned after Mileena and Kitana, Roman Reigns throws a spear before performing a spear, John Cena is dressed as Superman, Brock Lesnar is imbued with flames, and every special move involves one (or both) combatants flying dozens (if not hundred) of feet through the air. See the scene below where the Big Show punches a dude clear across the screen before bouncing them off the ground with a chokeslam? That’s the tamest finishing move I saw while playing. While games like WWF In Your House and WWE All Stars have tried to mix arcade uber-insanity with WWE’s comparatively muted mega-insanity; Immortals’ seems to hit that tone a bit better than previous attempts.
3 – IT’S THE WWE
A little wrasslin’ fandom goes a long way. WWE 2K15 may have been a pretty deep drop in terms of quality from the WrestleMania almanac that was 2K14, but I still put plenty of hours into this year’s grappler (and will put a few more in once the new single-player showcase DLC releases). I’ve scoffed at starting up Hearthstone, yet I whittled away a good chunk of my summer leveling up my Rare Eva Marie and R-Truth cards in WWE SuperCard. The 14 WWE performers in Immortals may be jacked-up fantasy versions of their normal selves thanks to–no shit, Bray Wyatt opening up a magical multiverse at the behest of The Authority–but I liked the subtle nods to their real life movesets. One of Roman Reigns’ signatures transitions from a powerbomb to a midair dropkick reminiscent of his apron attack. Paige has her ground-based headbutts. Kane’s chokeslam and Triple H’s pedigree are there, albeit with plenty more hangtime than usual, while the more fantastical version of The Rock’s People’s Eyebrow is a laser beam shot from Dwayne Johnson’s cybernetic eye. Even though the videos and screens thus far only reveal one version of each star, NetherRealm has said there are 26 cards to collect overall, showcasing various versions of several stars. I saw (deep breath) gladiator and soldier versions of Roman Reigns, superhero and soldier versions of Cena, ancient warrior and lumberjack versions of Big Show, a standard and demon goat version of Daniel Bryan, a standard and King of Kings version of Triple H, a Black Swan-inspired version of Paige, The Bella Twins sporting Mileena and Kintana-like outfits, an even more demonic version of Kane, an magic-wielding Undertaker, a fire-infused Brock Lesnar, and a stone golem version of The Rock . There’s quite a few more I didn’t get to see, and NetherRealm has said they’re hoping to get more in the game later on.
4 – IT’S FREE
I’m not sure whether new characters will come with a price tag, but what’s already promised is pretty substantial for the low, low price of FREE. Again, the combat is a bit simple (and more about delivering the insane visuals than being technically sound), and the single-player mode seems more like a procession of context-free challenges than the story-driven campaigns I enjoyed in Mortal Kombat and Injustice, but for something I’ll put 2-3 minutes into while sitting on the bus or killing time during Monday Night Raw commercial breaks, it’s more than enough. Beyond unlocking alternate attires for the dozen-plus wrestlers, there’s character leveling and tweaking via “talent” and “gear” cards that you earn by purchasing packs a la Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. Like that game, you can eventually get enough scratch to purchase these via normal play, but microtransactions are in place if you want to beef up your character early. Best of all, I won’t have to update either of my sorry-ass Apple devices, as WWE Immortals will run on hardware as old as the iPhone 4S and the iPad 2, as well as a variety of Android devices.
Seeing as how WWE Immortals just came out and will probably be plugged six ways from Sunday at the Royal Rumble later this month, you can probably expect further chatter during the next Cheap Popcast, if not sooner. If you want to know more about Immortals, I’ll try to answer any questions in the comments, or you can leave your own thoughts on the game down there once you have some time with it!