Review by Def Freak7
"This could be the best wrestling game yet!"
...well...what can I say...YYYYYEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!
Last year, THQ and Yuke's kinda sluffed off with Smackdown VS. Raw. I thought that when they announced the next game, it was gonna be another "safe way". Man was I wrong. They went overhaul and revamped everything. And I mean everything!
Wait, this is a PS2 game. How can they look that good? The wrestlers look almost life-like and incredibly similar to the real-life counterparts. The moves themselves don't look exaggerated but instead like the actual move. The overall presentation is almost like watching a WWE program. The entrances, the commentary, the actual matches, everything just feels like the source material, and that brings about the best part about this game. Incredible job, THQ. IN-FREAKING-CREDIBLE!
OK, the entrance music is just like the ones in real life. That's good. They cleaned up the voice-overs in season mode so that they don't sound so campy. That's also good. The music in-menus and in-game is okay. That's...well...self-explanatory. The commentary, OH GOD IS BAD! Just like last year, they'd call out either useless information and also call out the wrong move at the wrong time! They really need to step that up next year. Other than the ungodly horrible commentary, the sound is pretty well done.
The gameplay mechanics bring up an old rivalry in gaming. Simulation VS. Fun Factor. This game is definitely more simulation. They made sure every control element would mimic real pro wrestling. You've got a certain amount of stamina to use during the match, which can be regained by either standing still or holding the select button, and the bigger moves you pull off, the more you lose. Replacing the old fill-up-bars for finishers is the momentum system. The way this works is just like the way momentum can shift in real matches. If you do the same moves over and over again, the crowd will boo you and make it easier for your opponent to come back and vice versa. These two things add some new strategy to matches, but those who are looking for more arcade style fun will be disappointed. One thing no one will be disappointed about is the plethora of modes there are in this game. A bunch of match types, including the new and very asked for Buried Alive, the hot Fulfill Your Fantasy, and the "Legends Cage match". There's also the season mode, which is actually both an improvement and a step down. On the up side, it's now a lot more like WWE programming. But, the season is too linear. You don't get as many choices as before. The two biggest things I can talk about are the online play and GM mode. First off, online mode in last year's Smackdown VS. Raw was awful. This year is much improved. You can play many of the matches online, but only up to 4 instead of 6 people. You also get stat tracking, record keeping, and you can even show off your created wrestlers and fight for created belts online. This is a huge step up. The other big thing is the GM mode. This is definitely like the Franchise mode of Madden. You draft superstars, you balance budgets with shows, you raise money, and plan off some huge main events in big pay-per-views. You can also play competitively with another person in GM mode too. Some people might not want to do this mode since it isn't that much fun for those who just want to play the game, but it is good for those who like the Madden kind of thing.
THQ and Yukes have delivered an incredible wrestling game here, but there are still a few things that keep it from being perfect. That being said, this game is still definitely one of the greatest wrestling games yet.
FINAL SCORE: 9/10
+Improvement in superstar voice-over
+Plethora of modes and match types
+Great online play
+Best for the simulation style players
-Music isn't for everyone
-Some might argue it's not arcadey fun enough
-Tougher than last ones
-GM Mode might not be for everyone
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/17/05
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