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A wrestling fan and armchair gamer's look at the best wrestling game out there
Written: Nov 23, 2005 (Updated Nov 23, 2005)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Graphics are amazing, create a character is nearly flawless, GM feature, all around great game
Cons:Can't "name" yourself, can't turn off the ring announcer
The Bottom Line: I am a wrestling fan and a parent. I hope this review helps casual and beginning gamers to understand the game. I'm sorry about the lack of technical expertise.
Because I am such a big fan of WWE and write for wrestling publications, I was interested in seeing how the new WWE Smackdown vs. Raw for PS2 game was after hearing some rave reviews from friends. I havent played a wrestling game in a long time. When I last played, the games were quirky and the graphics were awful. Since then, my sons have played a few different ones and I have noticed big improvements in every area of the games. We just got this game two nights ago and I warn you, I am not a hardcore gamer. In fact, I am what I call an armchair gamer. I watch my kids play and occasionally play with them as they yell out what I am doing wrong. However, as a parent and an ardent wrestling fan, I feel I can give some insight into the game, albeit without the super technical jargon that many gamers use with such ease.
My son is a gaming fanatic and I am much less educated to the inner workings of games but I do know what looks and plays well. Together, my son (the techie) and I will help you to determine whether you want to buy this game. Right up front I am saying yes. Its an awesome game.
All About the Game from a Fans Perspective
The graphics are quite possibly the best I have seen in a wrestling game. The characters are so realistic, it is eerie. Some of the wrestlers look so incredibly lifelike that I had to do a double take to be sure they werent the actual wrestler and not computer generated figures. In past WWE games, the Divas didnt really look realistic. They looked essentially like Barbie Dolls and it was tough to tell one from another. In this game, the women are very recognizable and the graphics are far better for all the Divas.
As an aside, this is the last game that the late Eddie Guerrero will be in (until he is possibly deemed a legend and put into a future game that way) and his character looks flawless. The fact that Eddie Guerrero is featured so prominently in this game is just one tiny part of the overall game, albeit an important one to his fans.
One great feature -- which has been enhanced from previous games -- is the create a character one which allows you to create any wrestler, create a totally fictitious one, create yourself (with amazing likeness), or anyone you want. Creating is easy even for the video game impaired like me and, of course, I created myself and then went and beat everyone up. Its amazingly precise as far as how each body part is shaped and looks. This is easily the best character creator of any of the wrestling games I have seen and my son concurs.
Another new and fun feature is now you can be the General Manager of a show. You can pick all the matches and opponents and compete with the other show for ratings. I really like this feature and feel all in control and cool as GM. It is a nice change from playing in wrestler mode and adds a lot of extra life to the game.
The music is great on this game as well. There is a mix of original and mainstream hard rock and hip-hop that sets the tone for the matches. You can create your characters entrance from his or her music to the pyro to the camera angles and more. This is truly an interactive game that puts you in control of everything.
There are tons of match types with new, never before ones added. My son enjoys the Buried Alive matches since it harkens back to the days when he was a little kid (Hes almost 20 now yikes) when his then favorite wrestler, Undertaker, was burying people alive. There are 18 Main Event matches: Three Stages of Hell, Backstage Brawl, Battle Royal, Buried Alive, Elimination Chamber, First Blood, Fulfill Your Fantasy, Hardcore, Hell in a Cell, Ironman, Ladder, Last Man Standing, Slobber Knockers, Special Referee, Steel cage, Submission, Table, and TLC (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs). The "Exhibition Matches" include: Single, Tag Team, Triple Threat, Fatal Four Way, Handicap, Royal Rumble, and a Title Match.
There is a very large list of maneuvers and moves that you can employ, larger than I have seen in any other wrestling game. Some of the newer moves take a little practice to get down but it took my son about 20 minutes to get everything the way he wanted it. Needless to say, it will take me 20 years. Still, I am having fun learning. I am very much the part time gamer and if I can learn all that this game offers, anyone can.
My son feels there is a small flaw in this game which I dont really think is much of a problem. There is a ring announcer who does what ring announcers do. When you create a character, you need to pick from a list of names so he can announce you coming to the ring. My son finds the list of names very lame and wishes there was a way he could name himself whatever he wanted and/or stop the ring announcer from introducing him with a name he doesnt like. Small potatoes to me. I dont care what my name is but it would be fun to have the announcer call out Ms. Patty Therre
Therre. Haha. Unlike other WWE games, there is no option to turn the ring announcer off so you just have to settle for one of the listed names.
This game boasts a huge array of wrestlers in WWE as well as some who are no longer with the company and a new line up of legends. Most of the Raw and Smackdown roster is in this game except for a few notable exceptions like Matt Hardy (who was fired from the company when the game was being made) and The Dudleys. I suppose WWE suspected that they were on their way out when they wrote up the roster list. Spike Dudley is in the game, though.
Some of the new additions to the roster include Michelle McCool (Dont ask me why!), Christy Hemme, Hussan (who is no longer with WWE), Daivari, Christian (Who is now with TNA), Charlie Haas (Who was released from WWE a while ago), Carlito, and many more. The legends include Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Andre the Giant, The British Bulldog (Davey Boy Smith), Jimmy Hart, Junkyard Dog, Mankind (Mick Foley in the mask), The Rock, Ted Dibiase, and three versions of Hulk Hogan (The yellow and red, The 80s version, and Hollywood Hogan). You can get Jake the Snake but you have to go through a weird download to get him and we never bothered to try.
The announcers give commentary just as they do on Raw and Smackdown. Tazz and Michael Cole head up the announce team for Smackdown and Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross do Raw. This may be the last time on a WWE game that we hear Jim Ross commentating so this is just one more unique aspect to the game.
Make no mistake about it, this game is violent. Wrestling is violent and this follows suit. There's blood (three levels of it!), foreign objects (chairs, sledgehammers, 2 x4's, the usual things you find under the ring), and all the same features you see on TV or at live shows. Its not for the little ones it is rated T for teen (13 years and over), and you should carefully monitor the violence, weapons, and blood in the matches but they may get a kick out of seeing their favorites in such a true to life manner. Just be sure to stay with younger kids and monitor what they do and what features they use. Also note that there is a Divas "Fulfill Your Fantasy" match option which can be a little racy for the little ones to see as well but isn't too much for kids over 13. There is no nudity or anything, just the same things we see on TV week after week.
New to the game is a "spanking option" for the women. That gets a big eye rolling from me but apparently the feature is popular with the male players.
For you fans who like your wrestling to be as as lifelike as possible, there ia a new feature on this game called the 3D Locker Room. This is the actual backstage area complete with items collected by the wrestlers in amazingly realistically looking 3D.
Players who enjoy challenging others online will find that this area is enhanced from previous games as well. You can challenge anyone to a championship bout, trade stars that you created, and tons more. This is leaps and bounds ahead of the singles matches only online feature of previous games.
There is also an online feature that keeps track of all your stats: your rankings, wins, losses, win percentage, winning streak, longest winning streak, dqs, title match victories, title defends, total title defends, and championship value. This is according to the official rule book. We haven't gotten that far with the game yet but enthusiastic online gamers will really like that added extra.
Lastly, as I said, this is the last game Eddie Guerrero will be in unless they make a legends type game or add him posthumously like they did The British Bulldog and Andre the Giant. Still, when this game was made, Eddie was very much alive and very much a part of the roster and the game and its sad, yet comforting, that his wrestling legacy lives on in this game. He does all the same moves and looks so real its amazing. He has a storyline with the Undertaker that has an eerie twist that is somewhat unsettling but the reality is that this game was made long before his untimely demise so players shouldnt read anything into it.
I am not an expert on graphic quality and all the inner workings of these games but I can tell you that this game is one of the most realistic I have seen and the graphics and movements are stunning. The sheer number of moves, matches, and things you can do will keep the game fresh for you for a very long time. With so many characters to choose from and the ability to create your own you could play for weeks and never have to use the same people twice. While a few of the newer movements (one is the Eddie Guerrero playing possum move and another is the Irish whip during the Royal Rumble) take a little practice to learn to use, most are easily picked up by anyone who has ever played a similar game or one of WWEs early incarnations.
This game is one of the best made by WWE, in my opinion and that of the expert, my son. He has been playing all kinds of games (He prefers RPGs but will relent and play wrestling games if theyre good) and feels that this one will keep him busy for a good long time. He and his friends seem to be having a great time creating characters and picking from the many match types as well as kicking each others butts.
I highly recommend this game to those who love wrestling and who want realism. You get that and more. You also have much more control over most aspects of the game than in previous ones. I think you will find that this game really outdoes itself in just about every area and you will be glad you invested in it.
I give this game 5 stars. Its that good.
My son gives it 4.5 because he wants to name himself and have the announcer call out that name or at least turn the guy off so he doesnt have to hear him. Small potatoes to me, a half star off to him. Both of us agree that its well worth buying and is a high quality, entertaining game for hardcore fans and casual ones alike.
I am sticking with my 5 star rating. This is the first wrestling game in a long time to capture my attention and actually make me want to stop and play for hours. I usually get bored doing anything for more than 15 minutes so thats high praise for this top of the line game. Hardcore gamers may find faults that I have overlooked but, if you are looking for a great wrestling game that is sophisticated enough for gamers yet easy enough for casual players to learn and play in a short time, this one is it. WWE fans wont have much to complain about with this one.
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