Review by Spiffymarlin
The Animal has been unleashed!
WWE is the number one promotion in Sports-Entertainment, AKA wrestling. Although it is not necessarily "fake", it is pre-determined and this influences the target market for this game. No matter if it is completely real or not, this is still a very fun wrestling game.
These graphics are on par with the Xbox's graphics. The developers have motion-captured each and every wrestler's smallest move, and have digitally re-created each Superstar down to the wire. Each Superstar is individually muscled and looks exactly like their counterparts in real life. The crowd, amazingly, looks realistic and not cardboard cutouts that are so popular now= in games. The rings, are well, rings. Each PPV event, or even RAW or Smackdown, has the appropriate set. There is also pyro, and it is very realistic as well.
The audio in this game is great. What brings the score down one point, to a 9, is the horrible, horrible in-game soundtrack. It wouldn't be so bad if it let you use your own music from a memory card or something, but JAKKs has shoved this crap down our throats. The other point deduction, to an 8, comes from the extremely repetitive commentary by none other than goold ol' JR, the King, Tazz, and Michael Cole. Often times, if you reverse a move and they are in the middle of a sentence they will stop that sentence to exclaim "WHAT A REVERSAL!" or something to that effect. Other than that, the audio is flawless. Hits make the appropriate impact sound, wrestler entrances are nailed exactly, the crowd has its own chants (I've gotten "Holy ****!" by doing a Senton Bomb onto my opponent from the top of a Hell in a Cell, sending us both through the announcing table. Weapons make nice impact noises as well. Each wrestler has voice overs from their real life counterpart to complete the package.
The game play is linear and similar to other Smackdown games. Which is a good thing. Why change what works? You are able to do grapples, top rope maneuvers, submissions, and other basic moves. There is a very extensive movelist for each wrestler. There are also very many gametypes, such as Fulfill your Fantasy (Diva pillow fight *drools*), Hell in a Cell, Cage, Ladder, TLC, Tag, and Hardcore matches to name a few. You are also able to create your own Pay Per View event and championship belts as well. The career mode is very good, and allows you to get WWE Cash to unlock a bunch of secret items in the WWE Locker Room. A new mode in this installment is GM mode. GM Mode allows you to take control of either RAW or SmackDown! for an entire season with the goal of getting the GM of the Year award after Wrestlemania. You must learn to conserve cash, hire new talent, renew contracts, and put on a good show to keep fans and ratings up. This game is very good in this category. The Create-A-Wrestler mode, no doubt the most in-depth Create-a-* mode in ANY game ever, allows you to create your favorite Superstars from the past, make yourself, or anyone else in the world. I, for one, have made myself against one of my friends and duked it out at No Way Out in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match!
Replayability Factor: 10/10
There are endless times you can replay this without getting bored. Beat Season mode? No problem. Start up a new Season with a different Superstar and get a completely different storyline. Bored with Season? Try an Armageddon 6 Man Hell-In-A-Cell match. Not to your liking? Try a Hardcore Tornado Tag match. There are endless possibilities to your enjoyment.
Online: Yes. I do not have PS2 online, so I cannot offer much here.
Rent/Buy: There is absolutely NO way to get the most out of this game in a rental period. I've had it since Christmas and I'm on my fourth Season, made a bunch of CAWs, and not even half way done unlocking secrets and buying items from the WWE Shop in Season. Buy this game, and you will be glad you did.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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