Review by stonedwal

Reviewed: 02/18/01 | Updated: 02/25/01

While being the best wrestling game on the system, it is plagued by awfully prolonged load times which take away a lot from the game

The sequel to the top selling WWF Smackdown (which admittedly I never played). For those of you living under rocks at the bottom of the Pacific, WWF Smackdown 2 is a wrestling game. The World Wrestling Federation is currently the top wrestling federation and the best in ‘sports entertainment’. This sequel expands upon the roster of the first game, adds in several new gimmick matches, and generally improves upon it. While not up to the inexplicably high standard set by the Nintendo 64 WWF titles (also by THQ), it is still a good game in it’s own right. Except for one ‘little’ niggle. Loading. This game has the worst loading times of any game I have ever played, and to make matters worse, there is plenty of it. A lot of it is unecessary, for example, in the season mode, your wrestler may not be wrestling tonight, but you can be presented with a cutscene saying ‘*your wrestler* is here tonight!’. ‘That might not be so bad’ I hear you say, but the thing is you have to sit through about 2x 1 minute loading screens. And I’m playing this on a PS2, so I cant even begin to imagine how bad it is on a PSX.

Graphics: 8.5

Great for Playstation, but unfortunately, I tend to absolutely loathe Playstation graphics. Full of jagged edges, and polygon interception. The textures generally look bad. But in comparison to other titles, this looks quite good. The animation on the characters is excellent. Unfortunately, things look rather dodgy at times. Things like knocking people off the top of the cell, hitting them over the ropes etc. tend to just not look right.

The quality of the menus is top notch. The full motion video is crystal clear. Fortunately, the loading screen graphics are quite nice, featuring pictures of your favourite (and not-so favourite) wrestlers. This is quite a nice addition, because you see a hell of a lot of these loading screens.

Sound: 7.5

The intro music for all your favourite superstars is included in this game, and it sounds very good. The music during the matches is a hard rock track of sorts, and is rather average. The sound effects are limited mainly to the sound of people beating the hell out of each other. There are very few voice effects to (I’ve only heard 3), which is a disappointment, especially after WWF Attitude’s stupid, yet nice voice overs. There is no commentary whatsoever, but in my opinion that does not take away from the game at all. Commentary tends to end up really repetitive.

Story: ?

While there is no story, there are plots and feuds of sorts during the career mode. These are completely random, and even 7 months into career, I’ve yet to have much happen to my wrestler, so I don’t really know how deep these plotlines are.

Gameplay: 8

The gameplay deserves a 10, but the loading times are so annoying that it is reduced to an 8. Gameplay is the fastest of any wrestling game on the market. There are several modes to keep interest, Normal match, Normal Match w/ Managers, Hell in a cell, Guest Ref, hell I could sit here all day telling you the modes, because there are that many of them. There is also a roster of 50+ wrestlers. Add in the Create a Wrestler and Create a Manager mode, and you have a near unlimited amount of wrestlers to choose from. The career mode is vast and involved. Multiplayer is a hoot, although matches like Royal Rumble are ruined by load times. Career mode cutscenes can be great, and they can also be an annoyance.

Lastability: 8

This will most definitely hold your interest until the next version comes out. The career is endless, and you need plenty of time to get anywhere in it. Create a wrestler is just awesome. The variety of modes will keep you coming back for a long time to come. Throw some 4 player action into the mix, and you have a game which will be in your PSX, PSOne or PS2 for a long time to come.

Pro’s

-Great graphics
-Generally pleasing sound
-Huge roster of wrestlers
-CAW is vastly improved
-New modes such as Create a Manager, Create a Stable and Create a Taunt
-Massive amount of match types

Con’s

-Long load times take a lot away from the game
-It takes to long to get anywhere in Career

Overall: 8

If it weren’t for the loading, it would surely have gotten a 9. There’s always next year to improve this though. Career mode may need to be re-evaluated, to be made more like a career. Other than these quibbles, it’s a great game, one which should be in every wrestling fan’s collection.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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