of Wrestling II
is Acclaimís sequel to last yearís top wrestling title on the
Xbox. Sadly, that is not saying much at all since all of the Xbox
wrestling titles have been extremely weak or downright pathetic. At
first glance, Acclaim managed to fix many problems present in the
However, Acclaim still has a long ways to go before this series is
truly worthy of the title.
the most part, Legends of Wrestling II is the same game as
the original, only tweaked. This actually proves to be a good
strategy since they were able to iron out many of the quirks from
the original game. I will be mentioning the changes and new
additions to the series, but this game is more or less similar to
the original. I would suggest reading the review of the original Legends
of Wrestling as
well as this one.
most notable change is found in the roster. There are now over 65
different wrestlers, although some are not real. The most notable
addition to the roster is Andre the Giant. More tag teams are
represented in this game than the previous one. Yet even with the
massive amounts of wrestlers, people (like myself) can always cry
for more. Most of the big names are represented, though a few are
STILL missing (like Ric Flair and Randy Savage). Thankfully, the
Create-a-Legend mode allows you to create many of the major legends.
The major hidden wrestler (that isnít that hidden since heís on
the back of the box) is the Inter-Gender Heavyweight Champion Andy
Kaufman. Whoever thought to throw in Andy Kaufman deserves a special
award. That is just really cool.
game improves upon the ISP mode present in the original game. This
is by far the greatest improvement to the series because this
installment does not seem like a button-masher. There are a few
instances where the controls feel sluggish, but the developers have
really ironed out the control problems seen in the last game. The
speed of the meters actually matches the pace of the game. Unlike
the last game (where the meters would fly across at top speed), the
meters are manageable and make the entire game based on timing. This
really helps the game play like an old wrestling match since it is
less on speed and more on timing. The audience popularity meter
makes a return also. This is important in the career mode when the
popularity gained in matches carries over to your overall
popularity. Gamers should be warned that there is an extremely high
learning curve associated with this title. There are many different
moves that can be performed and the manual does not really do a good
job of explaining the control system. The best way to get a feel is
to either read the tutorials in the options menu or to mess around
with a create-a-wrestler. I have to question why a training mode was
not present in this game since most wrestling titles have such a
mode. A training mode would cut the learning curve in half and seems
like it would be essential to have for this type of control system.
of my biggest complaints about the last installment in this series
was the lack of gimmick matches. Thankfully, Acclaim addressed this
issue by adding in a load of new match styles. The cage match is
awesome. In order to win, you need to bust open the door. After
breaking the door off, you can either climb over the cage or go
through the door. I find it idiotic to have to break open the door
in order to climb over the cage. I think it would be better if they
had two types of cages (one with a door thatís topped and one
where you have to climb out), but thatís wishful thinking.
Strangely added was a ladder match. When I think back to some of the
top matches that featured wrestlers in this game, I donít really
think of ladder matches. The ladder matches are done well in this
game though Iíve played better. There are numerous new tag matches
in this version. There is a standard tag match, a
three-team-two-wrestler tag match, a four-team-two-wrestler tag
match, a two-team-three wrestler tag match, and a two-team-four
wrestler tag match. They included the signature moves of many teams.
Fans will be delighted to see the Road Warriors do their trademark
shoulder tackle off the top ropes and the Nasty Boys perform their
trademark face-into-the-armpit. Sadly, teams do not come out
together during the entrances. This really puzzles me since they
introduce them as "one half of (insert team name here)."
Battle Royal was added to this game. I am a huge fan of Battle
Royals and I was severely let down by this one. At first, the
feature seems great. An over-the-top Battle Royal is always fun to
play and this one is great once you get the control system down.
However, only four wrestlers can be in the ring at one time. Yes,
you read right...FOUR wrestlers. This game can obviously handle more
wrestlers than that on screen (they have run-ins in the other types
of matches). Regardless of that, having a minimum of six wrestlers
on screen during a Battle Royal should be an unspoken rule with
todayís consoles. This game doesnít exactly push the limits of
the Xbox and I find it impossible to believe that it was not
technically possible to fit more than four characters in a Battle
Royal. Shouldnít Acclaim remember the complaints about this
limited amount of wrestlers in Battle Royals from their old WWF
games? Come on guys...this is just careless.
game basically looks like the previous version. The wrestlers still
have a massive, larger than life look to them that really brings out
the massive (often steroid-induced) muscle-filled wrestlers seen in
years past. The one major gripe I have about body sizes is the lack
of any sort of physics. Take a body slam. If Iím wrestling Andre
the Giant or Big John Studd, shouldnít my wrestler have some
problems lifting them off of the mat? The REAL wrestlers did and it
was a HUGE deal when Hogan slammed Andre. Even minor things, like
the wrestlers struggling or just not being able to perform a move on
a large wrestler, would make the game much more realistic and
interesting. As it stands, Jimmy "The Mouth of the South"
Hart can lift up anyone and throw them across the ring.
are several different arenas ranging from the local high school gym
to world class arenas. Some of the exotic locations reflect their
name and you will find yourself fighting in Egypt, Rome and Moscow.
I did notice that many of the traditional arenas were poorly lit on
the outside. Dark lighting and dark mats do not mix. This makes it
really easy to lose weapons. A minor annoyance, but still something
that should have been fixed.
Career mode was reworked. The system seen in the original Legends
of Wrestling that featured local regions was dropped back in
place. However, there are multiple storylines in place. They are not
evolving storylines as seen in WWF: No Mercy for the N64, but
set storylines that you chose in the beginning by a random
selection. Each region has a promoter that advances the story after
so many matches. Basically, you go through some "jobbers"
until you are popular enough. Then you go through the superstars of
the region until you are popular enough for a title shot. Then you
are done with the region. Certain storylines give you certain
stipulation in your matches. Some may have people constantly jumping
you, while others may have you feuding with a certain wrestler. They
are interesting, but overall light on the story.
Create-a-Legend mode has been massively improved. The only thing I
feel needs some improvement is facial construction. They only give a
few broad models instead of the complex modes seen in other games
(where you choose everything from overall structure to eye, nose and
mouth shape). There are not enough options in this basic system to
make enough unique and original faces. However, the clothing,
tattoos, and the other parts of character construction seem to come
together. One annoying part is dealing with the entrance. You cannot
see what the actual entrance movement looks like and the music
selection is limited to what the real characters have. They took out
the use of custom soundtracks in the intro. Isnít that a step
in-game music is annoying. I think there are eight songs, but it
gets impossible to tell since they are the same, mindless nu-metal
crap. Thankfully, Legends of Wrestling II allows you to
import a custom soundtrack via the internal hard drive. If there is
one thing you remember from this review, it should be "turn off
the sound or import a massive soundtrack." If you do not, the
terrible music in this game will make you go completely insane.
biggest complaint I have with this title that, in my opinion, kills
the replay value is unlocking secrets. Instead of the standard
"beat-the-wrestler-to-unlock" style, this game employs a
coin system. You have to buy various arenas, wrestlers, textures,
and create-a-legend pieces. This would work fine except you have to
earn two types of coins through gambling. Yes, you heard right, you
have to gamble on what number the cursor will land on. This is not
only time consuming, but completely idiotic. Whoever thought of this
should be clubbed over the head repeatedly. Seriously, this is not
cute and it is not fun. This type of garbage makes this game
major bonus that most wrestling fans will really enjoy is the
interviews with many of the "Living Legends." If the
wrestler is alive and in the game, they have at least one interview
where they describe the industry. Some are really interesting and
some are funny (in a sick sort of way).
improvement over the original.
selection of wrestlers
Kaufman is in the game
interviews are really cool
people in a Battle Royal? Come on...
is the type of stuff swat teams play to drive people out of
physics present with body models (translation: little guys can
slam big guys)
learning curve with no interactive tutorial
some notable legends missing
really has made some ground with the latest installment in the Legends
of Wrestling series. The tweaked control system and massive
amounts of wrestlers really helps this game step beyond its
predecessor. However, there are a few major problems that really
keep this title back. The lack of a true Battle Royal really kills
one of the more entertaining and downright fun modes in wrestling
games. There always could be more wrestlers, but this is enough for
now. A realistic physics model really needs to be implemented in a
wrestling game some time soon. Come on, Iím tired of picking a
lightweight and tossing Andre the Giant around. The learning curve
is high and took me several days to get the controls down. The lack
of a training mode kills the ability to drop right into the game. Iím
not advocating the abandonment of this control style, but rather the
proper implementation. If there is one game that almost requires the
use of custom soundtracks it is this game.
short, Acclaim has made many improvements, but still has a little
ways to go to make a good wrestling game. Hopefully a third title
graces this series and fixes the problems in this installment. As
for this game, Iím not really sure what to recommend. On one hand,
this is close, if not the best wrestling title on the Xbox. However,
there are enough flaws that would turn off casual wrestling fans. I
would suggest renting before buying with this title.