WWE Day of Reckoning Review
|Developer: Yuke’s Media||Publisher: THQ|
|Release Date: August 30, 2004||Also On: None|
THQ is a company with a mission, and that mission is to make licensed games and make them well. I have not seen one original game from them this generation (even Tak and the Power of Juju had input from Nickolodeon), but, when a company can do licensed games well, there is no reason for them to attempt to do anything else. Day of Reckoning is the third game in their main line of wrestling games on the GCN, and, in most people’s opinions, it is the best of the three. I wouldn’t know personally, since I haven’t played either of the other two, but, in many ways, Day of Reckoning seems to be a pretty good wrestling game, even if it isn’t perfect.
I should probably make a disclaimer before I start the actual review though. Due to the fact that the game would have no chance of passing at the college I attend, I had to utilize handbook technicalities in order to be exposed to the game to review it. Basically, since the game wouldn’t pass, I am not allowed to play it. However, there was no rule banning me from watching somebody else play it (off-campus of course), and that is therefore the course of action I had to take. Because of that, what I say will be either what I gleaned from watching the game being played or what I was told by the person who did the playing, who is far more of a wrestling fan than I am.
Anyway, the graphics in this game are a mixed bag. The graphics in the foreground are very good. What few wrestlers I know by sight that are in this game I can easily recognize, although emotional expression is lacking. The ring is also very well detailed, as are the animations for many of the maneuvers that the players utilize in the game. Even the Jumbotron movies for the wrestler entrances are done well. The background audience, however, is another story. Utilizing very little detail except for what is written on the signs held by the people in the front row, the audiences look very unimpressive, and the two second back and forth animation of their cheering gets old after a short period of time. That is, however, a very small gripe, and one that can be solved by simply not paying attention to the audience. At least the signs that they hold are usually appropriate to the wrestlers in the match. Overall, as long as you don’t pay attention to the audience, the graphics won’t disappoint.
The sound is another matter. Much more could have been done here than was. The wrestlers don’t speak at all. In fact, nobody speaks. There is no voice acting whatsoever, and, with a game like this, that is nearly unforgivable. There isn’t even commentary in the matches; instead, you just listen to music while you wrestle. The music isn’t too bad, but I would have definitely preferred commentary, even if the commentary was somewhat repetitive. In the story mode, when people talk to you, you have to read text. Such a method is so outdated (except on the GBA) that it sticks out in what otherwise is a fairly good game. Overall, the music isn’t too bad, but the lack of voice acting or commentary in the game really makes the sound seem unimpressive.
So far as the gameplay goes, it doesn’t seem too bad. The roster is fairly big, and if it isn’t big enough for you, you have the option of creating your own person or people. If you are going to play the story mode, you have to create your own person, but I’ll discuss that later. According to my friend who played the game, the controls are not particularly easy to use, but he only played for a couple hours, and I would imagine the control scheme, which seemed difficult to him only because the same buttons do different things in different situations, could be adapted to if a little time was invested in learning it.
The wrestlers are equipped with pretty good move sets ranging from the typical slaps and punches to suplexes and choke slams, although the power moves and finishing moves vary depending on the character. Some unrealistic game physics do exist, such as the fact that, if given enough time to do so, anybody can lift anybody, as I witnessed when my friend, as The Big Show, got lifted and flipped by Victoria. In real life, that wouldn’t be happening, although, in real life, a female wrestler couldn’t wrestle a male one anyway, meaning this game gives options that the WWE itself doesn’t.
When you’re doing exhibition, you have many options for different types of matches, ranging from the normal one-fall matches to things like ladder matches, cage matches, and even, for those of you who like sexual themes, the bra and panties match. Although some of the modes, such as the aforementioned bra and panties match, do not particularly appeal to me, having a wide variety of match types does increase the multiplayer replay value of the game.
The create-a-wrestler mode is very deep. You can alter just about any attribute of your wrestler. What they wear, what they look like, and how big specific parts of their bodies are is all up to you when you create them. You can make almost anything from a really big, heavy, wrestler (which is what my friend built) to a small one. You can even go halfway in-between and make somebody with a really muscular chest, torso, and arms, but really scrawny legs if for some reason you want to do so. You can also determine what they wear when they wrestle, and naturally you can give them a name and assign their attributes within the confines of how many attribute points you are allotted.
However, you are not given many attribute points when you initially create a person. To get more, you have to take your created wrestler through the story mode of the game. The story mode has a lot of depth, starting you out in the WWE developmental leagues and progressing you through various challenges until you get to Sunday Night Heat and then either Raw or Smackdown, at which point your wrestler can become an intricate part of the storyline that the WWE is known for. As you win matches in the story mode, you are given attribute points that can be used to improve your wrestler.
Basically, this game has the potential to be entertaining in multiplayer for wrestling fans to go at it with their favorite wrestlers, and it has a story mode with enough depth to keep a single player engaged for quite a while. If what I have heard about Acclaim’s Legends of Wrestling series and the prequels to this game is true, then no wrestling fan with a GCN has any reason to be without this game. This is a game with the potential to last quite a while for the fan of the genre, but if you don’t like wrestling, this game probably won’t change your mind.
|Replay Value/Game Length:||8|
|Written by Martin||Review Guide|