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WWF Raw

Review By:  Nick Arvites

Developer:   Anchor
Publisher:   THQ
# of Players:   1-4
Genre:   Wrestling
ESRB:   Teen
Online:   No
Accessories:   Memory Card
Date Posted:  

4-3-02

In recent years, wrestling titles have been some of the most popular games released on any console. THQ established themselves at the top of the wrestling gaming world with such titles as the Smackdown series on the PSX, WCW/NWO Revenge & WWF No Mercy (and their predecessors) on the N64, and Royal Rumble on the DC. Now THQ is bringing the WWF license on the Xbox. We have been seeing screens and movies of this game as far back as a year before the launch of the Xbox. The game itself faced several delays in getting to the market. Normally, delays would mean the game was made better. This is sadly not the case with WWF Raw. Some now standard features of wrestling games are shockingly absent from this incarnation. What went wrong with the development of this game? We may never know.

What's K-Kwik doing in here?

Graphics are this gameís highest point. Out of all the Xbox games currently out, this one looks the best. Wrestlers, arenas, entrances, pyro, and the rest of the WWF experience is graphically beautifully with very few exceptions. One exception is the wrestler Triple H. Granted, he was injured for a while last year, but that is no excuse to have some chump that does not even bare a vague resemblance to him pose as Triple H in the game. It looks like they spent more time on lower card wrestlers that nobody cares about than they did with Triple H. He is one of the few exceptions to the characters, as the rest look fairly close to their real life counterparts.

There are two new features in this game. Entrances were first introduced a few years ago as a limited cinema style. This game not only has the best entrances that mimic their real life counterparts almost exactly, but it also gives the opportunity to jump the other wrestler as he enters the ring. The second new feature is the pure number of weapons available. Weapons have become a little more interactive. Chairs break, wrestlers can wear hats/dresses/whatever, and the entire weapon system has been tweaked.

The game plays completely different from anything else out. When playing the game, it really felt like the designers decided to combine the Smackdown control scheme with the N64 control scheme. What does this horrible experiment in cross breeding give you? Iíll spare the pain that thought will cause you. This combination gives a really awkward control and game style that allows things such as undamaging finishing moves and completely unrealistic things (like Molly Holly easily handling Kane). I find it hard to believe that anyone in the WWF could jump right back up from the wrong end of the Undertakerís Last Ride yet this game has things like that happening all the time. Absent from the N64 style is the player damages. No matter how many times you pull your opponentís arm out of the socket, he can still punch away with no problem. A stamina meter was introduced to the gameplay. A meter decreases with every move you do and you are not able to attack if it is completely drained. If it drains while using a weapon, the wrestler has to drop the weapon while the meter builds up. It requires players to pace themselves and saves this game from becoming the "run in a circle and closeline your opponent" disaster that Smackdown turned into. Also added was an audience approval meter. The meter basically shows which wrestler the audience wants to win and the meter swings from side to side based on moves. One thing I hated about the meter was a feature designed to stop cheap players. Basically, if only one move is used, the crowd pulls for the other guy. This is perfectly fine EXCEPT WHEN DEALING WITH WEAPONS! I doubt any wrestling fan gets bored if someone is beating his opponent with a chair until it breaks in 3 pieces. So basically, the stupid momentum meter destroys the hardcore matches.

While Iím touching on the subject of matches and features, this game took a 5 year step BACK in terms them. You get single, tag, 3-way, 4-way, and King of the Ring. No Royal Rumbles, no Cages or Hell in the Cells, no TLCís, no ladders, and basically no replay value. Sure, the game gives you tables and ladders in the hardcore matches, but they donít mean anything if you canít climb the ladders and you canít piledrive your opponent through a table. Come on, even the N64 and PSOne wrestlers had these!!! If you think you might get bored with just seeing the RAW ring, pass this title up. There is one other ring type, but you have to do something special to get it and it is not much of a change. The create-a-wrestler feature is average, but there is one thing that seems like an error. They have a faction field to fill out, yet there are no faction features in the game like Smackdown had.

The season mode is downright pitiful. The only thing I can compare it to is the championship mode in the original WCW/NWO N64 game. Yes, thatís right. You basically fight through a set number of people to win a belt. Thatís it. Oh wait, you do get the wonderful secret characters in this game...all four of them. Three McMahonís and Fred Durst make for a pitiful experience. The least they could do would be throw in a WCW guy or even Mick Foley or Shawn Michaels, but instead they give us four boring people that the game wouldnít miss at all.

Highs:

  • Entrances
  • Weapons
  • Graphics

Lows:

  • Triple H's face
  • No speciality matches
  • Fred Durst is in the game
  • Pitiful Season mode
  • Crowd meter needs tweaking
  • Unrealistic damage
  • Can't climb on ladders or stand on tables

Final Verdict: 

Anyone who says the tired old saying "If you arenít a wrestling fan, rent, but if you like wrestling, buy" should be put through a table by one of the Hardyz leaping off a ladder. I personally think this sloppy, obviously unfinished, piss-poor excuse for a game is a slap in the face of wrestling fans and says "these puppets will buy anything if it has WWF stamped on it." I think all wresting fans should be outside of THQís offices with pitchforks and torches for this horrible game. If you want a wrestling game, buy Smackdown on the PS2 or wait for the GC game this summer. WWF Raw is an overrated rental-at-best title that I would suggest that most people skip on. If you want a game that is this derived of features, go buy an N64 wrestler

Overall Score: 4.3

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