Review by Born2BeTom
"The best engine since no mercy"
Now lets get something straight, Raw has had a lot of bad reviews, lots of people really don't seem to like it, (maybe they want an arcade unrealistic button bashing game? (smackdown anyone?)) this bad publicity nearly made me not buy the game, but when I played it I was hooked, this game picks up where no mercy left off. Now personally I loved the AKI engine ever since I picked up WCW/NWO world tour, just like the games that followed (revenge, wrestlemania, no mercy) you could play the AKI engine any style you wanted, all high flying, brawling or technically or submission based. Now obviously the people at anchor took this engine as the base for raw as the engine of raw is very similar to No Mercy, so basically if you loved the AKI games you should love this. HOWEVER there are many little differences which you'll either love or hate.
The striking system allows 5 striking moves (x and each direction ,up, down, left, right and x alone) which i think is a great improvement as it's much more realistic. The whole emphasis on raw is realism, you have to make your opponent groggy before the no mercy strong grapple moves are avalable. My favorite inclusion takes the specials a step further, you can have a special move in every area, i.e. special striking moves, running striking moves and every area as well as submission, front and back grapple turnbuckle etc. so Tajiri can have his buzzsaw kick as a special kick, his other buzzsaw kick (opponent on knees)as a front special, green mist as a back special and tarantula as a corner special. It seems to me like Anchor have taken the best aspects of the AKI and Acclaim engines and combined then with their own ideas to produce the best thing since No Mercy. And by the acclaim element i am refering to the fact that you can choose 2 top rope moves, i.e. if you want a clothesline and a leg drop you can, or it you want a leg drop and a moonsault you can, the same for corner moves.
Also you can kick or punch your opponent at ANY TIME, that means going through the ropes, when they are getting up, this means you make contact with flying moves 99% of the time but you get hurt too, like i said, the emphasis in this game is REALISM. Something it has captured far better than any other game i've played
It is exceedingly difficult, even on easy it is difficult at first, basically because you cant just pull off move after move like you could with the AKI engine, 2 main reasons, 1) You have a stamina meter with runs down then you punch, run or perform a move and when you stand still it refills this is annoyed but also good because it's another thing that gives this game it's realisticness.
There are limited moves, this is especially a problem in CAW, but there are enough to make it possible and the game still very playable. The only other thing this game really needs is a run button instead of having you use the analogue stick (which works well) or double tap the d-pad, the reason for this is that in AKI games taping a button made you run straight at the opponent making spears and clotheslines work really well.
This game has the best graphics i think i've ever seen in any game full stop. At one point I turned away from the game to surf the web, and when I looked back at Saturns entrace and saw saturn for a second I honestly thought it was TV (I remember when that was said about attitude in a n64 magazine, LOL) the graphics on raw are nothing but stunning.
This is the only area where the game falls short, but let's remember that it took until wrestlemania to get a decent amount of extras in the AKI series. (cage, season mode, ladder, decent CAW) the only big problem i have with raw, is the editing side of it there is no area where you can look at a wrestler's moves, clothing entrance and modify it which is a let down, this area stops raw being a 10. The engine and graphics more than make up for the lack of cage matches and suchlike. I'm giving it 4 because there are lots of items (most pointless, though putting on a hat mid match is quite fun) that are helpful like tvs (the anouncer ones) tables, various chairs etc
Replay value (8/10)
Raw doesn't have the match types or the extras, but really what it lacks is a season mode (ala wrestlemania), but the title shots (ala WCW/NWO revenge) should be enough until world tour. However the most important thing about a wrestling game is the Create a Wrester option (CAW), the Raw one is ok but it has waaaaaaaay too many things you'll never need and not enough that you will, still you can still made a pretty good RVD and Sting for example. They could have made it better just by including all the faces/boots/clothes that wrestler in the game have. plus it's quite hard to get your head around seeing as different colours give totally different patterns and styles.
WWE Raw has a few flaws, but the engine is 90% solid, a few changes and it would be better than No Mercy, it beats the LOW Engine by miles, because although i own Legends Of Wrestling and enjoy it, 1) it's way too easy 2) it's very rigid the matches don't flow though not as bad as the WWF and ECW games. 3) you hit a move and the wrestler pops back up, nuff said. Raw has none of these problems, and it's problems could be quite easy fixed, (add more moves, matches and editing options) the engine is great and except for a few minor problems it is a fun graphically amazing game to play. If you like no mercy and are prepared to go back to WCW/NWO revenge limits in terms of matches, for the advantage of drool inducing graphics and a great engine then this game is for you. I hate to see so many people putting down a great effort from anchor and a great game that (with CAW's) should last you well into WWE Raw2 which should have the things you are missing (season mode, more matches, more moves, more wrestlers etc)
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 10/03/02, Updated 10/03/02
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