Review by Stone Cold What
"A Decent First Effort By Anchor"
The WWF® (presently the WWE®) is undoubtedly a marketing empire. With T-Shirts, posters and most importantly to us, video games, they reach fans at all levels.
Quality of their video games has been a roller coaster ride. Back with Warzone and Attitude on N64 and PSOne, the games were average...mediocre at best. However, on came Wrestlemania 2000 and the WWF games improved. Then came the Smackdown series which was both praised and booed for it's arcade and not-so true to life gameplay. Now, for the first time on the Xbox, we have WWF Raw. The question is, where does it sit on the roller coaster?
WWF Raw utilizes a new engine created by Anchor. Unlike other wrestling games where you gain finishers by hitting successful moves, Raw makes you strategize through the use of the crowd meter. When you execute powerful moves, the crowd starts to favour you. However, if you get beaten down or if you use the same moves over and over, you'll find yourself facing a Rock Bottom or Stone Cold Stunner pretty quickly. Lights out. You're done.
While this meter does sound good in theory, the somewhat sloppy gameplay halts it from being great. The game has a slow pace. Maybe to true to life. The developers need to find a happy medium between real life and arcade style in order to obtain the perfect pace.
Not only is the game slow but the A.I. is pretty weak. In tag matches, it often turns out to be a 4 way brawl as often times it doesn't seem like your partner knows who to go for so they turn on you.
Wrestlers get up after one hit on the ground so if you want to do the People's Elbow, you won't be able to go for a pin fall after which disrupts the realism they were going for with the pace of the game.
There are no backstage areas in the game and you won't find many modes. Your typical 1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 2, 1 vs. 1 vs. 1, 1 vs. 1 vs. 1 vs. 1 and 2 vs. 1 is all you'll see. In fact, the only gimmick match is the hardcore match.
With the bad out of the way, this game does do something's well. There are TONS of weapons, more than any other game, to unlock in the Weapon's Museum. Some you can even wear. While plenty of the weapons are just gags, it's still fun to try and find them all and adds somewhat to the replay value.
Also, there is a fair amount of wrestlers and moves in the game for a first time effort. You have your top stars such as Kurt Angle, The Rock, Chris Jericho, Kane, The Undertaker and Stone Cold as well as plenty of less popular guys such as K-Kwik, Justin Credible and Haku.
The create a wrestler is pretty good for a first time effort. It gives a decent amount of options. However, it's the create an enterance that's great. Choosing lights, pyro, music and more brings life to your CAW's and the finished product is often excellent.
The gameplay is a mixed bag but it definitly provides a firm base for improvements in Raw 2.
The graphics are the best out of any wrestling game...E-E-E-EVER. With the exception of Triple H, all wrestlers look excellent. The Undertaker's long hair and defined features have never looked better and Eddy Guerrero's mullet has never appeared...well...more mullety!
The animations for the most part are great. Wrestlers show pain in their faces when hit hard or yell when executing powerful moves. The moves themselves are fairly decent.
The enterances, with the exception of the way they walk or excellent. The pyro is life like and the arena itself looks incredibly detailed...too bad there aren't backstage areas to let us explore it more.
The sounds is good as well. All the enterance music for the wrestlers are there and sound clear. The sound effects for the most part are good with the exception of some of the grunts and punches.
The absence of commentary somewhat hurts the game as it retracts from the television-like atmosphere the developers were going for.
This is where the game hurts as well. It's a fun game but you won't want to play it for long.
The absences of gimmick matches seen in other titles such as cage, hell in a cell, table, ladder and TLC matches hurt the replay value. Also, there is no deep season mode.
There is a mode where you fight match after match to capture a title and unlock a wrestler but it is not worth it to struggle through and most importantly, it's not fun. There are no cut-scenes or storyline development between matches. Nothing. You simply fight and when/if you win, you proceed to the next wrestler.
It gets lengthy and after a while, you'll realize the efforts not worth it.
While Raw does a lot wrong, it does a handful of things right too. What it does do it provide a base for the developers to make a great game out of it in future sequels such as the already announced Raw 2.
If you haven't played this game yet, hold off and wait for Raw 2 as it promises to be much better.
For a first effort it's ok but it definitely could and should have been better
Plenty of weapons
Lack of match types
Sloppy gameplay mechanisms
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 01/01/03, Updated 01/01/03
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