WWF Raw Review

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Doug Miller, Feb 13, 2002.

  1. Doug Miller

    Doug Miller Supporting Actor

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    I read the debate on the Gamespot and IGN reviews, but hit the road to buy the game this morning. After 4 stores and TRU telling me that it was delayed again, I found it at the EB. I've been pretty excited to play this game since I saw the demo, infact, when deciding whether to buy a PS2 (again) or an Xbox, this game was a deciding factor. That being said: This game sucks.

    Besides the serious lack of extras, promised and otherwise, (Backstage, career, blood, etc.) I just really didn't like this game. The gameplay was rough and slow. The amount of moves, grappling and standing is limited. The matches are pretty dull overall -- just a lot of punching, kicking, and moving around... slowly. In those instances where you are able to grapple, you're guaranteed to pull off about one of 3 moves at the max. After a 10 minute plus match, you'll have about 15 chances to pull off your special move, only to have the computer never get "groggy", or pull off a bitch-slap to take the meter down. Your chance of ending a match on a special finsher? Slim.

    Lackluster roster of wrestlers. Few moves. Difficult gameplay (due to game speed). This game is just not fun. (The graphics are solid, the entrances are nice, but this doesn't even REMOTELY justify buying this game.)

    I'm returning this game on Saturday, my next day off. I'm thinking about exchanging for Halo or seeing if I can get a gift certificate to buy a baseball game next month. Damn this game is disappointing.

    Doug
     
  2. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    Alas, I have to agree. This game is indeed terrible. It fails as a wrestling game and it's not fun either. I guess you could call this a rare case of the ever-unpopular Gamespot rating actually being WAY TOO HIGH.

    The graphics look nice enough...when they're standing still. The animation, while fluid in its own strange way, is terrible because it doesn't do anything to convince you that these are professional wrestlers moving about and performing their moves. Everybody walks like they've got something shoved up their ass. The animation on No Mercy and the other Aki games is vastly superior because while the graphics may not have been spectacular, the characters really moved just like the real people, right down to Stone Cold's swagger and the way the Rock shakes his foot right before kicking someone (of course, everything in the Aki games *except* the graphics is vastly superior).

    The actual gameplay has some interesting ideas with the stamina and voltage meters but they're not well implemented. Most of the grapples fail because the players can shrug each other off too much of the time and when you do manage to pull off a move there's little sense of impact. In one match, I suplexed X-Pac through a table and didn't even feel like I'd accomplished anything (it didn't help that he bounced right back up immediately as if I'd merely given him a hip toss on the mat). Most of the time players will probably just end up clubbing each other with their fists because it's damn near the only move you can do that's reliable. Movesets seem very limited anyway. Whipping people into the ropes is particularly ugly.

    Presentation, as a game that tries to mimic the atmosphere of the WWF, fails as well. The RAW arena looks nice enough but it feels sterile. I think it's the lack of anything approximating a TV-style look. The camera swoops around way too much and picks a lot of odd, distancing angles. It doesn't feel like RAW, or any other wrestling atmosphere for that matter.

    I mean, I'm not even getting into the create-a-wrestler or the low options that the game has because I can't even focus on them, the gameplay is so bad. This really baffles me because leading up to this game's release, the thing I'd kept hearing about the game was that while it had a lack of options, the game engine was supposedly the thing's saving grace. But I don't think that's the case. Maybe I'll play it some more and something will click into place, I'll figure it out and I'll realize I just misunderstood it but right now I can't help thinking that this game is a disaster. Looks like our last hope for a good next-gen wrestling game is Wrestlemania for the Gamecube.
     
  3. Marshall Alsup

    Marshall Alsup Second Unit

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    Man, this is SERIOUSLY dissapointing! I guess I'll rent it first.

    Thanks for the heads up guys,

    Marshall
     
  4. Daryl Furkalo

    Daryl Furkalo Second Unit

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    Well that really sucks. I was hoping this was going to be good.

    Have you guys played Smackdown Just Bring it on PS2? How does the game play compare to it?
     
  5. Romier S

    Romier S Producer

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    Well, I'm on the other side of the spectrum[​IMG]
    I don't think the game is nearly as bad as some have said in this thread. I've been playing it for just about the entire day today (nice having off of work[​IMG] and I'm having a good time. Here is my review and it is a LONG ONE!:
    Graphics:
    The good:
    The graphics are very nice and some of the models looks eerily similar to there real life counterparts. I think the presentation of the game is its strongest point. From the opening we are all familiar with to the "distancing camera angles" mentioned which give the game a very TV like atmosphere. (sorry guy but I think this a great representation of the Raw show)
    The character introductions are all superb with some great lighting effects and are very true to what you see on TV.
    There is a bit of a separation that needs to be made in regards to the character animation. When the wrestlers are pulling off moves, punching, throwing people through tables, and doing there taunts they animate fluidly and beautifully and IMO look how the wrestlers should look. Of special note should be the "selling" animation of the wrestlers. They look like they are in utter agony when they get hit[​IMG]. You slam them on thier back and they slither away in pain. When wrestlers take a mean move they stay down for a good amount of time also. Anywhere between 7-10 seconds depending on how severe the move was. Now on the other hand.....
    The bad:
    There is really no other way to say this but the wrestler walking animations are atrocious. They look like they are constipated or something. Thier running animation is even worse (they all look like they are about ready to fall on there face). This is one area that could have been improved greatly.
    Let me just say that although these things did nag me I consider them minor as they do not get in the way of the gameplay IMO.
    Sound:
    Really nothing much to go over here. All the theme music sounds great. The sound effects that accompany punches and moves are all good. Some of the music that plays while perusing the menus can get a bit annoying but you can just lower the volume if it gets bothersome.
    Modes and play options:
    The game does have a small bit of options to offer. You of course do not have a story mode (which is a disappointment) but you do go through a challenge mode similar to the older WCW/NWO titles for the N64 (AKI). The challenge mode is very....challenging[​IMG]. It can be really difficult. You progress through several ranks to hold ownerships of all the belts in the WWF (minus the tag titles). I'm kind of baffled as to why a male wrestler can win the womens title! WHAT UP WIT DAT!? You can then give these belts to your created wrestlers.
    One thing I dont like is that you can't put these belts up for grabs. I just dont see the point in winning these if I can't put them up for a good challenger. If anything the one feature I hope THQ and its developers add to future wrestling games...BRING BACK THE CREATE-A-BELT!! Its the sole reason I played Wrestlemania 2000 for almost 9 months. I felt it was glaring omission in No Mercy but you could at least defend the titles you won in that game. Now that I'm done ranting....
    Raw also offers various match modes from Triple Threats to Fatal Four ways. To clear up some rumors, there is no Royal Rumble in the game. None. Zilch.(there is a four man Battle Royal). You also get a decent King of the Ring mode. The modes that appear are fun but very limited. The biggest strike agains Raw is its lack of play options. Plain and simple. Hopefully in the next WWF Raw game Anchor will come through with allot of the innovations (music ripping, crowd fighting, Backstage areas)they promised and more of the play modes we wrestling fans are hoping for.
    Gameplay:
    Behold what I feel is the saving grace of Raw. I had some major issues when I first started playing this game. I wasn't sure of what I was doing and although the game is setup to be very much like No mercy It took me awhile to get used to the timing of the game. Once I figured everything out though it is my opinion that the Raw Grappling system and play system is second only to the AKI/ASMIK games for the N64. (2000 and No Mercy are just too good to beat out!)
    Raw is setup very similiar to No Mercy. Here are the controls:
    X-Strike
    A-grapple
    Y-block
    B-Action (Taunt, Pick up items, Put on items, etc..)
    Left and RIght buttons-Change targets
    You can counter moves by pressing X+A together. However you can also in the options menu assign the White button and Black button to "Catch" and "Special Moves" respectively. What that means is intead of hitting X+A to counter a move just hit the white button and it will do the same thing. Normally you would do your special by hitting A+B but you can instead hit the black button and accomplish the same thing. Setting these two buttons will make your life much easier and you will find that pulling off counters and reversals come off allot quicker and easier. You will also notice that doing your finisher is only a button away[​IMG].
    The grapple system is very much like No Mercy. You hit A and you enter the Grapple position from there you can hit U+A, D+A, L+A, R+A to do a throw grapple move. You can also hit U+X, D+X, L+X, R+X to do a strike grapple move. That is 8 moves total from the doing a regular grapple on an "alert" opponent. Not too mention that fact that just hitting A or X also does a move. That would bring the move total to 10. If you do a particularly damaging move your opponent will become "groggy". You then can also do the same combinations on the controller to do completely different and more powerful moves. (liken it to the strong and weak grapple in No Mercy consolidated into one button[​IMG]). You can add at least another 5-6 moves from the "groggy" grapple.
    Striking is done by hitting the X button. You can also do the U+X, D+X,L+X, R+X to do different attacks. It gives the striking a bit of variety and lets you do things like the Rock "Spit" punch and Austins signature puches and kicks.
    Y is Block and it is done exactly like No Mercy with the wrestler sticking out his chest like a tough guy[​IMG].
    Why did I list all this above. Because I wanted to be very thorough so people understood how the game played. I respect everyones opinion on this board but if you say the moves list is limited I have to disagree. Each wrestler comes equipped with at least 35-40 moves at his disposal.
    Also worth mentioning is that Raw has some of the best turnbuckle interaction in any wrestling game. You can shake the ropes. Throw people off. Send them flying to the floor outside the ring. Its just fun hurting people[​IMG]. Lots of good variety here.
    You also have a fatigue meter below your wrestler that shows how tired he/she is. If your wrestler is fatigued he wont be able to pull off a grapple and will be easily reversed or countered. This little innovation is lifted almost directly from the Fire Pro series of wrestling games (Damn those games are fun!). You really need to pace yourself with Raw and be very strategic about what you do. I see allot of people complaining about the gameplay being slow and I understand your gripes but Raw is a very deliberate wrestling game. Much in the way No Mercy was.
    The voltage meter is used to gauge your crowd reaction. Let me state this now...just because your voltage meter is flashing it does not mean that you can pull of your special move. You do have the ability too but you have to wear your opponent down before you can pull off a stunner or the Rock bottom. I had no trouble at all using my finishers to end a match after I successfully wore my opponents down (no it does not take 30 minutes. Once you get a grasp on how the game plays you can defeat the computer in 9-10 minuteson average.)
    Now for the bad. The AI for the single player matches can be really haphazard. If you leave the ring the computer will follow you but then all of a sudden run right back into the ring. Right after that they will run back out to follow you. Its very annoying! The AI in the game could have used some serious tweaking. This does not happen all the time but when it does you want to jump in the screen and strangle you computer opponent. It is worth mentioning that most of the time the computer puts up a good fight and acts how it should. You do feel it though when its IQ drops!
    Tag Team matches can also be a bit spotty. The Collision detection in the game allows you to hit everyone with one good swipe. You can even stop the Rock from hitting the Rock bottom by just punching him. The problem here is that the computer will blatantly hit its tag partner causing teamates to turn on each other. Its funny the first time you see it but then you just get a bit frustrated.
    Finally I wanted to mention the item system in the game. It is by far the best part of Raw. You can pick up almost anything in or around the ring. You can put on Stone Colds hat. Steal the Undertakers shades. Its really fun! The best addition is the ability to FINALLY throw your opponent through a table. I cant tell you how satisfying it is to set a table on the outside of the ring and tossing your opponent out of the ring and onto the Table!! One bit of bad news is that you cannot climb the ladders[​IMG]. (why even bother having them there??)
    Another item on the list is the multiplayer game. Multiplayer is GREAT! I had a few friends over tonight and we were engaging in some four player mayhem and having a blast figuring out different ways to put people through tables[​IMG]. Not to mention beating the hell out of each other with everything we could pick up. In the end this is where the replayability of this games comes in.
    Create-A-Wrestler
    This section I'm gonna keep short. I just wanted to mention that Raws CAW is by no means as comprehensive as Smackdown JBI or No Mercy for that matter in terms of available appearance options. There are 16 faces to choose from (yes very limiting!) and a decent assortment of outfits. Having said that I wanted to mention that I have so far created VERY good renditions of Hulk Hogan (Hulkster and NWO Hogan), Bret Hart, RVD, Booker T, Rey Mysterio, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. The available options are limiting but you can do allot with what is there. (If anyone wants my recipes for these guys let me know. I'd be more than willing to send them to you). The CAW also has a huge moves list for your created wrestler and a plethora of Entrance options (from lighting to music....)
    Conclusion:
    Was IGN right in Giving this game a 9.1? My answer is no. Was Gamespot right in giving Raw a 6.5? Again my answer is no. Of course at the end of the day games are a very subjective thing and the reviewers on both sites deserve to state thier opinions. (though both could have written better review for this particular games).
    My personal rating for Raw is a solid 7.5 to maybe even an 8.0. The gameplay engine is solid and Anchor has a good basis to build on IMHO. I can't wait to see what they do with Raw 2.
    I know my opinion on this game wont be the popular one but I urge those looking at the game to give it a rental and a chance. There is allot of solid gameplay here.
    PS. Sorry this is so long but I wanted to give as in-depth a review as possible, With so much hoopla going on about it on the vaious boards I really didn't want to be vague in any aspect of this review.
    I will also update this review with 5.1 compatiblity and 16:9 compatibility ASAP.
     
  6. Romier S

    Romier S Producer

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    By the way I wanted to mention that in playing the game further I have found a ton of items that can be used in the CAW mode. My mask count is up to about 50 now[​IMG].
     
  7. Matt Wooten

    Matt Wooten Second Unit

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    well all i can say is Wrestlemania X8 is not far off for the Gamecube. now that one i have all the faith in the world will work. WHAT? i said now that one i have all the faith in the world will work.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Romier S

    Romier S Producer

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  9. Marshall Alsup

    Marshall Alsup Second Unit

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    Thanks Romier for that awesome detailed review. I'll be renting the game this weekend and I hope I like it as much as you! If so I'll be purchasing it for sure. I'll post my impressions after I play it as well.

    Thanks,

    Marshall
     
  10. Romier S

    Romier S Producer

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    Marshall,
    This is one of those games that you really need to play for more than 1-2 matches before formulating an opinion. It really isn't a button masher in any way shape or form. It also does not have a high "just pick and play" quality. You will be frustrated at first. As mentioned in my review above the grappling system is very deep and it will take a few hours before you figure out how the voltage meter and the stamina bar work in conjunction. Eventually you'll be pulling off finishers and powerbombs left and right[​IMG].
    I just won the Hardcore and Intercontinental title (Crash took about 3 stunners and a suplex through a table before tha tmatch was over[​IMG]. I just felt like being sadistic.)
    Glad to hear your at least renting it Marshall and I hope you enjoy it.
     
  11. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    Yeah, while I personally wasn't crazy about the game (rereading my post above, I do think I may have slipped into hyperbole, but then I tend to be extra harsh on wrestling games [​IMG]), I definitely think that, in deference to the wide range of opinions on it, it deserves at least a rental and at least a full day of playing the hell out of it to form a good opinion on it.
     
  12. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    Wow. I spent another few hours with it and it's actually growing on me now. I usually trust my first impressions but this looks like a case where I was wrong. I think I'm actually going to hang on to the game now, which I didn't think would happen this morning. It's not brilliant, but as wrestling on the Xbox goes, it'll do [​IMG] Now I just need to start creating RVD and Booker T...
     
  13. Doug Miller

    Doug Miller Supporting Actor

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    I spent a few more hours on it before returning it too, and I still don't like it. I went back to EB and actually ran into an old friend behind the counter. Finally getting down to it, I pulled the game out, he saw it and said, "Ah, that game sucked hard." To which I replied with a laugh, "Then you know why I'm here." I wasn't the first to return it.

    That being said, I'm not at all critical of those who like the game. If it works for you, have at it. In the meantime, my next debate will be All Star Baseball 2003, or Triple Play 2003....

    Doug
     
  14. Marshall Alsup

    Marshall Alsup Second Unit

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    Well I was able to play this game for about 3 hours and this is what I think.

    Not as good as I'd hoped.

    The graphis and sound were great. I didn't miss the lack of modes because all my friends and I ever do is play exibition matches anyway. I do miss blood! But main problem I have is very specific. When you on the ground defensivly (like after just being knocked down) it is very dificult to do anything. The other person can kick you like a thousand times before you can get up. It says in the instructions that you can push two buttons at the same time (I dont remember which two) to roll away from you opponent while down. I got that to work ONCE the whole time I played!

    In the N64 versions you could just hold the Right Trigger and you'd get up into a crouching position from which you could grapple or strike. Why didn't they do that here? Xbox has trigger buttons so what gives?

    Also, speaking of trigger buttons... In the N64 versions you use the trigger buttons to block grapples and striking moves. Even though the Xbox has two triggers like the N64 controller they are used for targeting rather than blocking. You are instead forced to do button combonations to block a grapple, and hit one of the face buttons to block a strike.

    From what I understand, the best thing about the N64 THQ wrestling games was the control scheme. They were relativly easy to control and even a newcomer could learn to play in no time.

    Why didn't they stick with what works, and improve the things that actually needed to be improved, like sound, rosters, graphics and so on?

    Oh well, I guess I was just hoping for a souped up N64 wrestling game and didn't get it.

    Later,

    Marshall

    By the way, I'm going to re-rent this when I have more time and see if I can get used to these things, but the game definatly left a bad taste in my mouth.
     
  15. Romier S

    Romier S Producer

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    Marshall,

    You are aware that you can change the button layout to your hearts content in the options menu right?

    I personally have done this and have setup the controls almost identically to No Mercy. You may want to give that a shot as it may alleviate a majority of your problems.
     
  16. Marvin Richardson

    Marvin Richardson Supporting Actor

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    The gameplay might be okay (it still has NOTHING on the Aki games on the N64) but this game is just a big boatload of missed opportunities. Can someone explain to me why you are limited to 16 saved CAW when you have a hard drive? Why can't I use my own music for CAW entrances? Where are the modes/match types that every other wrestling game gets? Create a PPV? Season? Story? Anything? Oh, and I just love that you can't save when going for a title. And we have tag team matches but no tag team title? Did the people who made this game even bother looking at other wrestling games to see what kind of features are considered standard? This is about as bad as EA making NCAA March Madness with no Dynasty mode.

    Of course Smackdown 3 for the PS2 had those things, but the gameplay was horrible and the story mode was a joke. Yukes had better not screw up Wrestlemania X8 for the GC, or I'll be very disappointed.

    Big disappointment. If you want a $50 party game, it isn't too bad, but don't expect to spend much time alone with it.
     
  17. Marshall Alsup

    Marshall Alsup Second Unit

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    Romier,

    To be honest I didn't think to do that :b

    I'll try that when I rent it next time and hopefully it'll make some difference. But I dont think that will fix my main gripe with the getting up after being knocked down thing (but practice may solve that).

    Damn, I just wish this game could have had a little better gameplay.

    Thanks for the advice,

    Marshall
     
  18. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    It definitely helps a great deal to customize the controls. You can reduce those escaping moves and your finishers to single button presses instead of combos.
    My take on the game at this point is that it's a flawed game but still a solid beginning. With refinement we could end up with a very satisfying series of wrestling games. I liken it to games like World Tour or Revenge on the N64 - there's potential but also distinct flaws to be addressed in future editions (the whole "getting up right after being hit with a finisher" thing is almost straight out of those earlier games). Certainly adding more depth to the game engine, such as crouching maneuvers or being better able to position your opponent (such as dragging him or placing him on tables and chairs) could stand to be added, along with refining the pacing of matches to better simulate the real thing. But at the end of the day, it's STILL so much better than Smackdown, IMO. I can't stand that series, no matter how pretty it is or how many match options it offers.
    One thing I'll say that it does do so much better than Aki's games is submissions. Aki never quite got this one right, since using a submission as a finisher in their games always involved having to work on the required body part for awhile before slapping the move on. Having to work on particular body parts is a nice strategic thing but it doesn't match what goes on in WWF matches, where Kurt Angle doesn't have to kick a guy in the ankle for five minutes before making him tap out to the ankle lock. He just puts on the move and has the guy in agony straight away. Sure enough, I was playing RAW the other day and was using Angle in a match against Perry Saturn and I had the guy tapping out to the ankle lock in 59 seconds. That was really cool. Now if only I managed to actually LAND the People's Elbow... (everybody gets up just before I reach them [​IMG])
     

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