Review by bruiserbrody

Reviewed: 12/20/02 | Updated: 12/20/02

Old School Greatness

Gameplay

Legends of Wrestling II uses what Acclaim calls theIPS system, a meter appears when its possible to reverse an opponents move or extend one with a combination. An indicator moves along the meter. Stop it while its in a highlighted section and you will reverse a move or pull off a combo of your own. Using this system sets up great chain wrestling. Mastering this simple system isnt hard but many gamers will claim that it is because its different. I happen to like it.

You dont have to grapple to pull off moves yet grapple moves are a large part of them game. But its cool to be able to scoop slam your opponent without grappling first! Some other games could use this engine to improve upon theirs. As much as I enjoy the AKI engine (WWF No Mercy) instantaneous non-grapple moves are a must now in a wrestling game. Legends combine grapple moves with non-grapple moves almost perfectly. If youre going to play LoW please take the time to learn how to play it. It isnt No Mercy and it isnt Smackdown! Know that going in please.

Legends of Wrestling II has the basic match types including three-and four-way dances, Battle Royal, Elimination tag matches, ladder, cage, and of course single and simple tag matches as well. You can turn disqualifications on and off as well in all of the matches except cage and ladder. Framerate problems can occur on the PS2 version but its nothing serious. Tag matches have a distant and pulled back camera view that can be a pain in the ass. Cage and ladder matches are awesome! In the cage you can only win by escaping through the door as most cage matches were won in the old days! You have to wear down your opponent and then the door of the cage its self! The door actually has a health meter of its own. After you get the door open you have to wear down another meter to get out. If your opponent isnt beaten enough he will recover and stop you from leaving the cage. It adds great tension to the match. The ladder match is done similarly. You have to wear down your opponent enough that you can obtain and set up the ladder. Then you must climb the ladder, stand at the top and press the circle button to reach for the bag of money or title belt and then wear down a meter by pressing the square button quickly. This may sound tedious but it is a lot of fun. I hate when I have cage or ladder matches in Shut Your Mouth career mode but I love them LoW 2!

Career mode, is based on the territory system that used to be in the world of wrestling before Vince McMahon bought them all out. You have to work your way up through different territories. From the Northeast, to the Midwest, to the Southeast, Northwest, and Southwest.

Doing well depends on your capability to make the crowd happy using varied moves. You can also please the audience by using weapons, high spots, ref bumps and withstanding interference.

The career mode is great in this game. You will meet with the area promoter at the beginning of your career in his or her area and get assignments. The assignments are greatly varied and can/should be different every time you play. Please the promoter and he/she will eventually give you a title shot. When you win the title you defend it. Do that successfully and it is onto the next territory to see what the next promoter wants from you. This mode is one of the biggest improvements from LoW1.

Create-a-wrestler is missing a lot of detail but still manageable. While the move sets seem limited I advise you to chose a Legend already in the games moves set that reflects your created wrestler and then edit out the moves you dont want. Many of the Legends in the game have moves not available to created wrestlers for some reason. Names and nicknames that you have to choose from are many! Whats cool about this feature is that the ruing announcer will say the name as you come to the ring. From Ric Flair and Arn Anderson to Bruiser Brody and Scotty to Hottie you have a ton of names to chose from! LoW 2 has entrance gear that Shut your Mouth is missing from its CAW mode. But so far I have not found ROBES! I mean whats up with that? I cant give my Ric Flair CAL a robe?

Load times are aggravating. Loads in between wrestler entrances and the match itself as well as a ton of loading times all through career mode too. Character model previews in the wrestler select screen take a while to load and when choosing your CALs move sets you will just want to scream at the clipping and load times of the previews of those moves!

The game is still full of wrestling moves that were not used during the time its meant to represent. Many wrestlers have silly moves as well! Too many of them have the Stone Cold Stunner complete with flipping the bird before hitting the move. One can understand needing new moves as some old school wrestlers didnt have a very big move set. But adding WWE taunts is going a bit far. Again though I assume this is done to reach an audience who never heard of most of these wrestlers.

Weight issues exist as well. Bret Hart will be seen slamming Andre the Giant. Jimmy Hart will do The Last Ride. As much as this annoys me it seems to be prevalent in almost all wrestling games today.

My Score: 8

Graphics

Cartoony is the word used most often. It works well in this game in my opinion. All the wrestlers are easily recognizable so I see no issue with they style chosen to represent them. Arenas look good but nothing above average. Some people think the arenas look dark but it seems to me that Acclaim is going for the spot light look. You know how the ring looks when you go to a live wrestling show when they turn the house lights down and put a spotlight on the ring? That seems to be replicated in this game and as such doesnt bother me. Besides, who wants a clear view of the once again CARDBOARD CUT OUT fans in the audience? I wish wrestling game makers would play Rocky and UFC video games to get an idea of what a good 3D crowd can look like, especially UFC!

My Score: 8

Sound

Salivas been signed to do the background music and it is far from my taste. Seems to me an old school game should have some old school music!

However, the ring entrance songs have been vastly improved. Anyone in the game who had an entrance theme in the late WCW days comes to the ring with that song. Those who didnt have cheap and blatant rip offs of their WWF songs. Ted Dibiase, Koko Beware, and The Road Warriors have familiar sounding themes. UNFORGIVABLE in the Xbox version is the ability to implement your own entrance theme. Just when you want to give Acclaim credit they do something as retarded as this. Ripping your own entrance theme was an actual selling point for many on the Xbox. Removing it is beyond reason and will definitely cost them sales! Stupid, stupid move Acclaim!

My Score:

PS2 8

XB 6 (tempted to go lower for stupidity!)

Other Thoughts:

Tag teams do not come to the ring together. How stupid is this? Lazy developers re-using single animations already drawn rather than drawing new animations of teams coming out together? Come on Acclaim!

Champions dont wear their titles to the ring. Again this would have required drawing new animations for each wrestler. Rather than do the extra work Acclaim just gave us beltless champs.

Hairstyles in Create mode are TERRIBLE! No ponytail for the men so forget making RVD. No balding short hair so forget making a good Arn Anderson. And why cant anyone include a good Ultimate Warrior paint in the face paint section?

PS2 Memory card holds a TON of creations. So far I have 20 CALs and I am still going. Very nice indeed!

Gambling for coins in a royal pain! I understand it adds replay value but I dont enjoy it at all. Maybe you will though who knows.

OVER ALL:

This is a good game! If you read the whole review you can guess what my final score is going to be. If Acclaim would improve the match types, animations (tag teams come out as one, wear title belts, etc) and make a deeper create a legend it would be the best wrestling game ever. (Outside Fire Pro). As is it is a good game featuring old school vets that wrestling fans should enjoy. If you liked LoW1 you will LOVE LoW2.

FINAL SCORE: 8 out of 10

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Would you recommend this Review? Yes No

Got Your Own Opinion?

Submit a review and let your voice be heard.