Review by SCCAN85
Reviewed: 04/09/01 | Updated: 04/09/01
Now you can watch Smackdown all week long!!
The WWF is possibly the greatest spectacle in sports entertainment today without a doubt! It entertains millions ... and millions of fans nationwide. That is on television and they are definitely very successful. Well, they've been making tons of merchandise off of their shows such as action figures, music cds, videogames, clothes, and even cookbooks! I'm here to tell you about their latest video game for the Playstation: Smackdown 2! Smackdown 2! is quite possibly the greatest wrestling game today, but it does suffer from some flaws. It's not perfect and I think the WWF and the company that makes the game (whether it's THQ, Akklaim or any other company) need to take some stuff into consideration. I'll clearly state the good, the bad, and the ugly of this game but first I shall embrace you with the background information of this lovely game. WWF Smackdown 2! is a WWF product made by THQ and was released recently at the end of 2000. I've heard so much good things about this game before I bought it. Now, I'm the type that is very spectacle when it comes to sports games because there not fully my type of game. I get bored with them easily and I did not want to get bored with this game. However, on my birthday I received Smackdown 2! and tested just to see if it would bore me or not. Well, it has yet to bore me so I guess my parents made the right decision. Whooh!
Have you ever watched an episode of Raw is War? If you are an avid fan of the WWF as I am or even to a lesser exent you will be amazed at how the story in the game is like the actual television show! However there are some seriosu flaws that degrade the respect of the story in this game and that also makes it confusing. First off, the story is only seen through one mode in the game and it's the main mode; season mode. After choosing your wrestler you will soon develop a feud with a character. Then suddenly before a pay per view you will start feuding with some guy you never even talked to or jumped. Sometimes, and it happened to me countless amounts of times, you will be in the main event with two other guys who you have nothing to do with. Like if you are Chris Benoit and you feud with Chris Jericho or Kurt Angle; you might wrestle against Shane McMahon and Al Snow at the Pay per view. I have no reason why they do this and all it does other than piss me off is create controversy and confusion amongst the players. The story isn't really structured well, but feuds and different plots occur as you play the season mode. Overall, for once a wrestling game that I've played has a somewhat good storyline which sort of relates to the TV shows.
GAME PLAY: (10/10)
Here's what you've been waiting for huh? Yes it is, don't lie :)! Anyway, I love the game play of Smackdown2! It's intense, precise, and most of all fun. I personally think the way you fought in WWF Attitude is the best, but this is a very close contendor for being the best. As you know, the only thing you do in this game is wrestle but their are tons and I mean TONS of other types of matches and stipulations that makes the game just that much ... better! There are so many matches I can't even name them all, but I will give you a small taste of what to expect. There are table, ladder, ironman, tag team, tornado tag, cage, falls count anywhere, hardcore, and tons of other matches. There are also new types of matches to the WWF series, there are hell in a cell matches which are just awesome! Then, you can have one or two special referees in to either aid or screw you in your match. Now, what do you do other than just wrestle matches in the game? Well, there is season mode. Probably the best part about the game although it suffers (not just season mode but the whole game) from extreme loading times. Anyway, in season mode you go through days of the month, doing shows and you get to see how the card is. You assign your wrestler into a belt category (WWF title, Intercontinental title, hardcore, etc.) and that will be the belt you will go after. You go through all the matches, whether you want to skip them or watch them but you have to go through all eight matches. There are five shows per month and the fifth show is always the Pay Per View. This game sticks to the real trend of Pay Per Views. January is Royal Rumble, April is Backlash, November is Survivor Series and so on. You may or may not be in a match for that show, but usually you will be. I might have not explained it well, but believe me it's very fun. Now let's talk about the matches. When in a match, you just wrestle against your opponent(s) as most other games right? Well of course and Smackdown 2! is no different. However, each character gets four moves for each position in which both competitors are located in. For example, if both wrestlers are standing toe to toe there will be four moves for both of them to do such as a suplex, backbreaker, DDT, etc. But if one wrestler is standing and the other is down then the wrestler on offense (the one standing) has four moves to do from there too. It sounds a little weird, but I'm sure you'll understand. It's easy to learn and each character has different set of moves so try them all out!
Other than just having to wrestle, there are other modes to pick and play. There is the wonderful create a wrestler mode which debuted on WWF Warzone, Create a PPV, Create a Manager, Create a Stable, and the choice of seeing the rankings of the WWF superstars in your game. They change during season mode. The Create a Wreslter mode is greatly improved with the ability to choose from numerous settings of any object on the body (eye, nose, upper body, lower body). You can pretty much create a human being, that's how it feels like. You adjust the color of his/her skin, what he/she wears, his/her move set, their music, and even the signs that the fans hold up for them! The Create a PPV mode is just like the same from any other game. You make the line up and the event for whichever PPV you want. Creating a stable is pretty fun, but very basic. Just choose the movie that your stable comes out to and the way they come out (i.e. Hardyz, motorcycle,etc.) to the ring. You pick up to four wrestlers and then you can be involved in tag team matches during season mode. Everything else is pretty basic so there is really no need to explain. Some cool things to the game is that each wrestler comes out to his/her music along with their movie. Also there are up to at least about 60 wrestlers or more so there are a lot of people to choose from. This is nearly everything you can ask for in a wrestling game and the matches are fast paced and very fun. Pick your wrestler and hopefully you will become WWF champion!
The controls are excellent! Although they aren't the best, they are very easy to get yourself accustomed to and also they make the game more enjyoable for everyone to play. The main buttons emphasize itself towards the X and O buttons. X is used for attacks such as kicks or punches while the O button is used for grappling and throwing; a common thing in wrestling. Then there is Square which allows you to block or counter moves. That is one of the things I like about this game, if someone throws a punch at you you are able to block it with the touch of one button. The other buttons are similar to previous games before Smackdown! such as WWF Attitude, and WWF Warzone so I won't even go there. The controls are very crisp and I never really have much problems with it. However, I prefer the controls in WWF Attitude. You actually have to do a certain combination (i.e. Down, forward, grapple) to execute a move instead of using the O button and a linked directional button. It decreases the amount of moves possible (in Smackdown 2! there are four moves per situation as I stated above) and also makes it a bit too easy for everyone. The controls, camera angles and any other thing associated with any configuration of this game is great!
This is one aspect of the WWF which I absolutely love! I love the theme music of many wrestlers and I even have most of the WWF soundtracks at my house. The songs are up to date for the time it was made however there are a couple mistakes. Stonecold has his original theme, HHH has his original theme and so on. Most of the players theme songs are clear and excellent, just like they are on TV and on CDs. I enjoy all the beats and if you havent' heard any of the themes you will realize that most of their songs try to be intimidating (except for a few such as Sexual Chocolate, RTC, Billy Gunn, and a couple others). One thing I am a bit angry about is that they did not include Undertakers American Bad Ass song with Kid Rock. It would've been cool to hear his song on the game, but I assume there was not enough space to put it on. Other themes such as Smackdown and Raw themes will be present while you play. There are also other themes not related to the WWF in the game. There are several different themes as you wrestle in which all are great. There is also the main menu music which sounds like elevator music or Gran Turismo music.
The sounds that are present are good too. Unfortunately, and a big reason why this did not a get a 10, there was no voiceovers in the game except for JR in the beginning and some commentary during season mode, but extremely little. I can understand that there may have been lack of space but it would be so awesome if the wrestlers had their voices on this game. Apart from that, the sounds are excellent. The sounds from fighting and using hardcore objects are crisp and accurate. They are so crisp that it actually sounds like the wrestler is landing on a mat or getting hit with a chair like in the actual TV shows. Everything in this category is perfect except for no voices. That would've definitely made this game perfect in my opinion. That and the loading times to be fixed.
Everyone knows that ever since WWF Warzone the way they make the characters are the same. Each wrestler would get his/her face scanned and then computer designers design the bodies and put them together. That's how I think at least, but I think it's accurate. However, what this game has is true reaslim and a great deal of detail added to the characters and the backgrounds. First, the wrestlers look like they really do! Some look a bit off, but for the most part everyone looks real. Also if a wrestler has long hair it used to look like it would come all the way out of the back of their head. Instead, the hair actually looks real from the front; it doesn't stick out but rather sticks to the wrestler. The body parts differ, and that is noticeable when creating a wrestler. The Create - A - Wrestler mode displays all the accessories and main parts of the graphics and all those things look good. When seeing items in the Create - A - Wrestler mode you can alter the brightness, the size, and the thickness. Anyway, the bodies look accurate, with the muscles, skin color, clothing, and even the tattoos if a character has one. All the apparel of any of the wrestlers, or even fans look great with accurate colors.
Now for the backgrounds! Most of you may be thinking there isn't much background to a wrestling game other than the ring right? Well, to some extent yes, but not in WWF Smackdown 2! Depending on what match you are in you can go all over backstage; parking lot, VIP room, halls, outside, bar, locker room, and many other rooms. All those backgrounds look excellent! The backgrounds look real, like they would normally be (i.e. a locker room looks like a locker room). Huge variety of different backgrounds which are all detailed just makes the game much better than it already is. Each wrestler doesn't come out through the aisles either. In fact, their movies play as you see them come out. The movies look sweet and are the way they are on TV too. Oh yeah! How could I forget those wonderful ten second loading time pictures that they let us view while we are anxiously waiting for the next match? Well, to say the least those pictures are great but unfortunately not every single wrestler has one. Overall, the graphics in WWF Smackdown 2! are simply amazing!
The difficulty of the season mode is nearly laughable. Well, at least to me it is that way. There are a few exceptions however. The Royal Rumble match literally drives me insane and the three on one matches is pure suicide, but it is possible to win those matches. Special stipulated matches like those are the only things that make the matches difficult. I found the computer pretty eay during season mode and my first title shot resulted in my winning the title. To some this game might be a bit more difficult but I seriously doubt anything higher than a 6 at most. WWF games are usually easy and this one has no exceptions, but are you looking for entertainment or difficulty? Overall, the challenge isn't that bad and most veterans to wrestling games will do just fine.
"Guaranteed!" as Vince McMahon would say. The replay value is no less than a guarantee for any wrestling game but even more for Smackdown 2! than any others. Why you say? Season mode not only can be replayed for the fun of it with two people as well to capture the tag team belts, and let's not forget the most prized possession in the business; the WWF heavyweight title. That's just season mode, what about making your very own PPV matches, make all the matches with who you want. It's your time to be the booker of the WWF. Then you can create your very own wrestler, bring back classics, bring out the new, or just make something just for the heck of it. Exhibition is where all of this basically leads to. A friend comes over and you can just bring him/her to the tv set and wrestle in any match; hardcore, tag team, singles, hell in a cell, ladder, special referee, you name it! There is so much replay value here that the possibilities are endless. I could continue to go on and on about this, but I've probably made you bored already :), so I'll cut to the chase and say that this game is very replayable. Overall, the replay value for this game is extremely high.
- Just like the real TV show! Season mode is great!
- Hell in a Cell along with many other types of matches
- Over 60 WWF wrestlers to choose from along with Create - A - Wrestler!
- Graphics much improved!
- Controls are easy
- All music themes and most clothing are updated
- Many modes of play!
- Loading times ... 'nuff said.
- Vince and Shane cheat when being skipped during Season mode
- Story in season mode is weird sometimes
STORY - 7.7
GAME PLAY - 9.9
CONTROLS - 10.0
MUSIC/SOUNDS - 9.0
GRAPHICS - 10.0
CHALLENGE - 3.8 (low)
REPLAY - 10.0 (very high)
TOTAL - 8.8/10
I personally think that this is the best WWF game out to this day, but I haven't played WWF No Mercy for the N64, but excluding that game I think Smackdown 2! is the best so far. I've heard rumors of another Smackdown! for the PS2 and if that happens I hope they have voices for the season mode. That would just be awesome in my opinion. Also, improvise on the story and maybe include an inferno match or a first blood match (I don't they have first blood in Smackdown 2!) and anything else. Other than that I can't think of what else to make it better, it's already damn good! My only problem was the loading times and that made the game boring as heck. I recommend this game fully for anyone who loves wrestling games. This is a must buy game and even if you aren't a wrestling fan try it out, because this is a really fun game. Thanks for reading and have a nice day!
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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