THQ presents the next WWF licensed wrestling game WWF RAW for X-Box. Developed by Anchor, this game is not all it is cracked up to be and is a huge disappointment
The graphics in this game are phenomenal. There has never been a wrestling game as good looking. Anchor obviously spent much time in creating the bodies and heads of every wrestler. They screwed up on some faces like Triple H much like the other wrestling games do with the same wrestlers. Anchor even went the extra mile to include exactly how the wrestlers come down to the ring after their entrances. For example the Rock comes down and stands on each turnbuckle and raises his fist as camera flashes go off. Triple H’s entrance has an awesome lightshow and it is duplicated well here.
The ring and area outside of the ring are done very well. There are no announcers at the RAW table but then again we can see what kind of travesty having announcers actually speak in a wrestling game can cause. The only minus in this game is the crowd. The crowd has different signs, but they still seem very static in how they move. There is no going out into the crowd and fighting as was promised and there is no fighting in the backstage area as was promised which would have showed more graphics than what is presented here.
The thing that brings the graphics down is the way the wrestlers walk. They walk as if something is stuck up their butt or it looks like they are having constipation problems. There should be a more smooth flow in the way they walk and this brings a lot of points down. I feel like I do not totally control the smooth movement of my wrestler.
Overall the graphics are great but there should have been more variety in them. There are no PPV rings or Titantrons that I saw. This just adds to the disappointment of this title.
The pluses: Every wrestler has his own theme music including the Undertaker’s song by Limp Bizkit and every wrestler has his entrance video just like in RAW.
The minus: Once you start your match the music is extremely boring to listen to. You might as well turn it off it is so bad, although this is a problem in all wrestling games in my opinion.
Other than that there are grunts and the fans cheer. This section only gets a high score because of the theme music and entrance videos.Control is manageable, but very loose.
I can explain this in one word: horrible. As you could see by now I am a big wrestling video game player. My interest in them has waned because my favorite ones of the past have yet to be duplicated on either the PS/PS2 line in Smackdown or this new X-Box line. Every developer has tried in some way to duplicate the Midas touch of AKI/Asmik’s line of wrestling games on the N64. In my opinion these are still the best wrestling games out there: WCW/nWo Revenge, Wrestlemania 2000 and No Mercy. The Smackdown line was too quick in the moves you pulled off and there was no true grappling system in place. You could easy do the major damage moves from a standing position and it did not have any sort of advantage-based gameplay like the N64 games.
Now we have WWF RAW. Anchor tried very hard to parallel what AKI/Asmik had done on the N64 but they failed in many key areas. The first area is that this game is based mostly on the stamina of your wrestler. This type of system certainly belongs in UFC but I do not think it belongs in a wrestling game. Since when does a wrestling game make you think? They should be fun first and foremost…and this game is not fun. As you do regular moves the bar on the bottom of the screen goes one way or the other depending on many things. If you slap your opponent the bar moves favorably in your direction but should you do 3+ slaps in a row the bar will move favorably for your opponent. The crowd is a factor in the lower bar as well. If they cheer your advantage goes up, but if they boo you go into disadvantage territory. You also have a stamina bar attached to your wrestler as well. Each move takes a piece of that bar away and when you actually connect your lower bar may favor your opponent. Now for some reason it always seemed like the computer opponent always had a full stamina bar no matter what they did while I was busy trying to catch my breath. Once you get the lower bar up high enough it begins flashing. This is when you can pull off your finisher. Problem is the finishers are so slow in how they look. I have never seen a Stone Cold Stunner take so long to animate through. Austin usually does the move very fast, not in this game though. This whole system is just wrong in my opinion and deviates from the AKI/Asmik blueprint.
Where WWF RAW somewhat stays on the blueprint is in the grappling system, but this even goes horribly wrong. You grapple your opponent by hitting the A button. If your grab is successful, and not many are, you then have many moves to choose from with the A and X button depending on your wrestler. The problem with this is that your opponent usually shrugs off the grab as you try to get him. You can block things with the Y button but you do not seem as adept at it as your opponent is. Without being able to grapple you are left with your usual punches and kicks and are doomed to be at a disadvantage with the computer opponent. Eventually after a while you will get used to the grappling system but the computer is still adept at shrugging it off and delivering their own move on you while you are weak.
I did get through all the titles and you do not get a chance to save the game while you are going for the title. You have to go through the whole gauntlet before you can shut the X-Box off. But you may get so frustrated that you will turn the game off anyway. Anchor tried to get to the AKI/Asmik level but they failed miserably in my opinion.
The value is redeemed only by the Create a Wrestler mode. You can create your own favorite wrestlers or even create a whole new one. I know a lot of people are big on CAW in wrestling games, but I am not one of them. I do not have the time to sit down and make new wrestlers, especially for a game as crappy as this.
Is this game worth playing again? No, unless you have friends that can play with you. The thing that hurts the game the most are having no career mode and no cool gimmick matches. Supposedly Anchor is going to put it in the next iteration of this game. I feel sorry for the people that paid $50 for this game and will have to pay another $50 for the upgrade and true version next year. This was supposed to be a launch game and even with the 3 extra months it looks like they did nothing to make this game better or more fun.