Review by CTH
I want to like this game. I really do . . . but
First of I love wrestling games and I played almost all of them. No matter how bad, I try to find somethings to like about them that makes me keep on playing. I even liked the first RAW and played it more than anyone I know.
Now on to this one:
God, it promised so much. All these wrestlers, my childhood heroes (Hogan, Savage, Warrior etc.) and so many more. I wondered, if they only made the gameplay better it would be great. They changed a lot of things. Yes. For the better. Some Yes. But they kept so much of the old and that's a bad thing.
Graphics: 9 (-2) out of 10
This is where the game improved the most. The wrestlers look so good, so real, it's amazing. The entrances are awesome and since the game loads a lot faster now it's fun to watch them every single time.
However it gets -2 for all the graphical errors that happen during the game. For instance one wrestler does a piledriver and goes through the whole motion and after that the other guy hangs in the air and then gets driven into the mat. I think in 2004 this is something that should not happen in games anymore.
Sound: 8 out of 10
The sound is o.k. The wrestlers have their entrance music and there is music during the game and the menues. Also there is commentary by Tony Schiavone, Larry Zybisko and Bobby Heenan. It's alright even if it repeats often.
Gameplay/Movesets: 3 out of 10
I know this sounds harsh and there may be a lot of people that will disagree with me. They improved the controls in the way that made them easier. No more positioning for doing certain moves - now all from one grapple. Good!
Still this game contains 90 % wrestler who could not even spell Rock Bottom or Pedigree and they certainly did not use them. Bad!!!
Is it so hard to do variations of slams, suplexes, clothelines etc. and leave these new generation moves to the create-a-wrestler mode. And also the could have animated more specific moves to certain wrestlers and made them look better. For instance the Ultimate Warrior has his press slam as a finisher. Looks good. However he finished his opponents with a big splash to the back. The big splash in this game misses his opponent by a mile 90 per cent of the time and looks like a headbutt. Bad !!!
Create-a-wrestler 6 out of 10
It's good. However I would have liked to edit the existing wrestler (at least their movesets) but at least they give you the option to copy the legends. Not the perfect solution but not so bad either.
Modes: 10 out of 10
Now this is where the game shines. 1 on 1, Tag, Three way, four way, table, ladder, hardcore, cage and even 8 man tag (read again Smackdown! 8 MAN TAG). There is a story mode which takes you through the 70s, 80s and so on. And also there are not so many matches to win a stages (just 5 each).
And one more thing which I think is fun: The Classic matches! The give you certain situations and you have to win the match. For instance your Ricky Steamboat at WM 2 facing Randy Savage. You start th match with Savage dropping his elbow and now you have to come back and win the match. Great!
Overall: 5 out of 10
Why so hard you might think since I like a lot of things about this game. Right.
Yes this game has a lot of good things and is fun. HOWEVER they managed to take out the fun when it comes to gameplay and moves. Seriously. Get the people at AKKLAIM a copy of No Mercy and let them try again. And this time do your homework. That's right. Study the wrestlers and their moves. Listen to what the fans (your customers!) want when they buy your games. It's not that hard.
For me this could have been one of the greatest wrestling games out there. The Game LOOKS very good. But sadly they messed up the gameplay too much for my taste. Better luck next time.
Rating: 2.5 - Playable
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