Review by nelsonia1
"Raw is flawed"
As an intro, Raw is the BEST wrestling game on any next generation platform, period. I have played Wrestlemania X8, Smackdown and now I finally have a game that comes close to repeating what AKI did on the N64.
Gameplay: If you have played any of the AKI wrestling game on N64 then you know what to expect. There is a learning curve since the controllers are completely different, but the mechanics of it are the same. Press a button to do either a strike or a grapple, if a grapple then chose from 1 of 8 moves to perform using the d-pad and either X or A. The game is HARD! Do not fool yourself, even if you are a self proclaimed wrestling god, you will lose at least a couple of times before picking up the hang of the game. The AI likes to pin you when you really shouldn't be pinned, and yet they somehow will get the pin 9 out of 10 times. So practice will make you better. For this game to be really fun, you will have to spend a good hour or two with it to pick up the moves and quirks of the engine. Nonetheless, this is the best wrestling engine on any next-gen console, until AKI puts out their games for PS2 and GCN.
Story: Alright, the story is from 2002. So it is a bit out of date today's stories. However, if you like wrestling then you will appreciate the realistic enemy lists, i.e. Rock will interfere with Steve Austin's match, but neither will interfere with a match between Kaientai and Crash Holly. There is no story mode though, disappointing, but there are championship modes to win all the WWE belts, women's, light-heavyweight, hardcore, european, inter-continental, and the heavyweight belts.
Graphics: Wow. This game is beautiful. The lighting effects are top notch for any type of game. The character models are extremely detailed, even though many look a bit weak, i.e. Triple H face looks like a loser. The Create-A-Wrestler feature though has so many options for graphics and intro that this is probably one of the best Create-A-Wrestler features ever. The sound is of cd quality, and the background music simply sets a nice theme for the match, although it becomes repetitive over time.
Replayability: Let's just say that this is why you buy the game. The multi-player features are well done and extremely fun with 2-4 players. The championships can be done repeatedly if you are lonesome. The match types are limited, yet still the lack of a cage match or TLC match really doesn't hurt the game too much. You can easily spend nights with friends or alone just playing matches to beat the living hell out of another wrestler.
So you know that this is a good wrestling game. The prettiest thing this side of real. But is it worth the now $40 price? Only if you plan on playing the single player modes and multi-player modes often. This isn't the case of an RPG where once you play through it once you're done. You need to want to play through continually. So in summation, if you like wrestling games or just watching it this is for you, otherwise rent it first and decide.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 03/01/03, Updated 03/01/03
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