Lucha Libre Comes To The U.S. With Heroes Of The Ring
American wrestling fans may be familiar with the term "lucha libre," but the high-flying style of professional wrestling has never really taken off on this side of the border. Outside of La Parka, Rey Mysterio, and Psychosis flying all over WCW rings in the late '90s, most U.S. "sports entertainment" fans are more used to hulking grapplers like Triple H, The Undertaker, and Hulk Hogan. Head down to Mexico, however, and these masked daredevils are huge superstars. Konami is hoping to tap into the fast-paced action of lucha libre and bring it into the gaming world with Heroes of the Ring.
Luche Libre AAA Heroes of the Ring will feature the roster from the popular Asistencia Asesoria y Administracion promotion, as well as a robust create-a-wrestler tool. Unlike a standard WWE-style "squared circle," AAA utilizes a six-sided ring. Outside of that, the standard rules are the same – you can win bouts by pinfall or submission.
One alternate match type that's hugely popular in lucha libre is "Hair vs. Mask" bouts. Losing your hair or mask is seen as a huge blow to a Mexican wrestler's honor, and often signifies the end of a career. Not only is this match type available in career mode, but you can also put your created character's hair, mask, and honor on the line during online multiplayer. If done right, this could be a novel feature not seen before in a wrestling game.
While the idea of a lucha libre game might pique the interest of wrestling fans, it doesn't mean much if the gameplay isn't up to par. I spent some time with the game at Konami Gamers Night, and was somewhat disappointed with its similarity to other wrestling titles. Lucha libre has an entirely different feel than U.S. wrestling, but the controls didn't seem significantly different than Smackdown vs. Raw. I was hoping for high-flying acrobatic action, but the gameplay I saw consisted of the basic strikes and grapples we've seen for years. It's still too early to say whether this will be a novel new wrestling experience or more of what we're used to, but fans of the genre should keep an eye on Heroes of the Ring when it releases August 9.