WWE Day of Reckoning 2 Review

Developer: Yuke’s Media Publisher: THQ
Release Date: August 29, 2005 Also On: None

Have you ever played one of those games that you both love and hate at the same time, one of those games that while you enjoy it, there are things about it that make you want to throw up? WWE: Day of Reckoning 2 is just such a game. On the one side sit realistic graphics, gameplay that is very close to what usually happens in the WWE, and an excellent, believable story mode. On the other side sits long loading times, complicated controls, and mature elements that I could have done without.

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Before I begin the review proper, I feel it necessary to make a disclaimer. This is a WWE game, and it does a very good job of emulating the feel of the shows put on by the WWE. The result is a game that has sexual themes and, occasionally, profane language. If you are a parent looking to buy a game for your young child, or if you are a person who cares at all about modesty and morality, this game will likely annoy you with some of its elements. However, since most people reading this are likely WWE fans, there isn’t much in this game that is worse than the shows. Just be warned. I should note that this paragraph is having exactly zero impact on the score that I am giving this game, as moral issues are not a category that the game can be graded on under Game Freaks 365’s review system.

Anyway, now that I’ve got the moral issues out of the way, let’s move on to the graphics. They are very good. The characters look very real, and you can definitely tell who they are. Their entrances are approximated very well also, and the ring, objects, and assorted other things in the foreground also look very good. So far as the background goes, only the first few rows of audience look particularly detailed, with the level of detail diminishing as you look farther back. However, the signs that the people in the front rows hold up look true to the signs held up by actual fans and they are perfectly legible as well. So overall, the graphics in this game are excellent.

That fact comes at a cost, however. That cost is long loading times. I guess I’m used to games with little to no loading time since Nintendo consistently produces such games. So when a game comes along with loading times as frequent as they are in this game and as lengthy, I can’t help but feel that they shouldn’t be necessary. If you are an impatient person like I am sometimes, these loading times will drive you crazy, but if you’re a person who is accustomed to loading times (in other words, the owner of a PlayStation or PS2), you probably won’t think they’re too bad.

As for the sound, I really don’t know what to say. Other than the language issues within some of the songs, the music is really quite well done and sounds appropriate. All of the superstars’ entrance themes sound just like they do in the shows. The voice acting on the part of the ref when he counts for pins or for a person outside the ring, or when he says to break a move, is okay, but not overly memorable. The chants of the audiene sound pretty good as well, although I’ll admit I personally find it a bit uncomfortable when the audience is yelling “Christian sucks”, for reasons that should be obvious if you know me at all. The sound effects of the attacks, drops, etc. sound fairly realistic also. My main complaint with the sound is that the story mode lacks voice acting. Why do they maintain textboxes at the bottom of the screen, a system which is well on its way to being outdated in any game worthy of any respect? I seriously don’t get it. But, overall, the sound is pretty good, and certainly isn’t worth complaining about.

As for gameplay, well, it’s a wrestling game based on the WWE, but I’m sure you figured that out by now. Boasting a strong lineup of current WWE Superstars, the ability to create your own Superstars, and some legendary former WWE/WWF Superstars that are unlockable, there are certainly more than enough characters to use, ranging from divas such as Stacy Keibler to big guys such as the biggest of them all, The Big Show. Of course, there had to be a cutoff point somewhere, so some characters are misrepresented, such as Heidenreich, who isn’t in Road Warrior apparel. You will also notice the presence of Muhammad Hassan, who to my knowledge left the WWE after his recent loss to Undertaker. There are also a few notable omissions, such as MNM, who deserved to be in the game as they were WWE Tag Team Champions a while back. Overall, though, the character selection and accuracy is pretty good save for recent changes.

If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, how about the modes available in this game? There are modes for normal matches, Tag Team matches, Triple Threat matches, Fatal Four Way matches, and even Handicap matches and Royal Rumbles for 10, 20, or 30 people (if you truly want to be at a match that long). In each, you have normal matches, hardcore matches, cage matches, ladder matches, everything that you’d expect to find in a WWE game. Most of the ways you can fight in this game are things that the normal wrestling fan would never see on TV without paying for a pay-per-view, so some of these modes may be unfamiliar to the casual wrestling fan. That doesn’t detract from their entertainment value though. I should note, however, that the bra and panties match, which was a major draw in last year’s version to my knowledge, is still in it. However, there aren’t that many divas to choose from in this year’s version, just like there weren’t in last year’s, so the value of that mode is minimal even to those who are interested in such a mode.

As I said earlier, the story mode carries a believable WWE-style plot which is longer than the story mode in the original Day of Reckoning. The opponents, both in the exhibition matches and the story mode, are no pushovers either, and they will require a lot of skill to beat. So far as the actual controls go, they work well and are responsive, but they suffer from overcomplicatedness, as do the controls in most wrestling titles. What happens when you press a button depends not only on what position you’re in, but also what position your opponent is in. However, there is a wide variety of stuff that can be done in this game, from strikes to suplexes to drops, and even kicking and/or punching a downed enemy, so I have no complaints when it comes to variety of attacks.

Each character has their own signature moves as well, and when you fill a special meter you can execute one of these moves. The game also boasts a color-based health meter so you can tell how dead your guy is and a stamina meter so you can see how much energy you have to pull off moves. So overall, other than the unavoidable complicatedness, the game plays well. My only other complaint in this category is the fact that there aren’t multiple skill levels, so people like me who aren’t very good at the game will find themselves consistently getting beaten to a pulp, but at the same time those who are well-accustomed may find it a little too easy. That’s a minor complaint though.

So overall, the game boasts a strong cast of superstars, a good story mode, and a lot of options for exhibition matches for one to four players. If you are a hardcore wrestling fan, you are likely used to the language and sexual content of the WWE, so I would recommend a purchase for them. If, like me, you appreciate the WWE’s athletic style but do not like the language and violence, the game is conditionally recommended. Just avoid the obviously immoral stuff and you should be fine. If you aren’t a wrestling fan, this game may be enough to change your mind, but I wouldn’t risk it. Overall, THQ has delivered what may well come to be known as the best wrestling game on the GameCube.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7.5
Written by Martin Review Guide

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