Wrestling games have always been a favorite with fans, a fact that is highlighted with the phenomenal success of the Smackdown! series on the PlayStation and PlayStation 2. Today we are going to check out a game that is really trying to make a mark on a platform that has yet to have a stand out wrestling title, and that is WWE Day of Reckoning 2 for the Nintendo Gamecube. So can this latest wrestler manage to win your hard earned money or is this another instance where Gamecube fans are going to be left empty handed? Read our full review to find out!
Last year I reviewed the original Day of Reckoning, which was really trying to get Gamecube fans excited about wrestling game again. I think people forget that it was only one generation ago in the N64 that we saw so many great wrestling games being released on Nintendo’s console. Now with the Gamecube we really have been struggling just to get a capable one, and Day of Reckoning was really the first to hit that mark. The game was however not without its own problems, as it had a lot of weird bugs in the game that made it a little awkward. But beyond that the game still was a solid wrestling game. So now we are in the second edition of this game and did THQ and Yukes manage to improve their game enough to become a great one?
One thing you will always hear me talk about is the absence of a decent story mode in any of the recent wrestling games. Sure they have started to put in voice acting (it’s about time), but even that is very ridiculous and has made the whole thing even less believable then before. I just don’t understand them all of these people on staff at the WWE and all of these ideas that keep going around, and yet the video games come up with you as an underdog who wants to win the title? Where is the originality in that? Luckily Day of Reckoning 2 has a bit deeper story then that in which the title is vacated after a draw decision and basically you go on a more interesting experience that actually has some twists and turns. I still felt like although the story is better then the previous game I still felt as though Day of Reckoning 2 had a lot of room left to fill as the game just still seemed like it was one match after another with nothing really in between.
What has been improved over last year is the character creation mode which was great last year but is even better this time around. WWE: Day of Reckoning 2 gives you so many options in terms of making your character that you will honestly take a great amount of time just trying to create your character. This tool was also made easier this time around and I must say that the amount of options that you have in this mode are really endless.
Last year what really held Day of Reckoning up was its gameplay, which although not perfect really did stand the test of time. In Day of Reckoning 2, things have gotten even better and a lot of the little issues that I had problems with last year have been fixed. For example, the hit detection in last year’s game was really quite lousy but this time around it has been worked on quite a bit and seems to be doing just fine! I must say that a lot of the little problems have been fixed but the overall gameplay system only has some minor changes. There is a new submission and stamina system that make things a bit more realistic. Basically when you take a wrestler down in submission a little mini-game appears and then you have to try and battle by trying to outsmart your opponent with one of four moves. The stamina system was a much more appreciated addition and this has a huge effect on how you wrestle because to pull off some of the bigger maneuvers, you are going to need enough stamina.
A lot of the improvements in this game aren’t huge improvements but are little things that help improve an already solid game. The thing is with Day of Reckoning 2; sure it’s a good game but for whatever reason it just does not seem to have enough in the tank in my opinion to be among the elite categories. Don’t get me wrong, this game is a very capable wrestling game. It’s just that you’d be hard-pressed to find anything that virtually stands out in this game.
You can see that by far this game had the most amount of work placed in the visual department, as this is where you can see the big difference from this game to the previous Day of Reckoning. First off the character models in Day of Reckoning 2 have been improved immensely from the previous game and this can be seen right away. I must say that the amount of detail and color that goes into the characters of this game was really something to be impressed by.
Day of Reckoning 2 also has a great sense of style and it really gets the WWE style down perfectly. There are still some minor graphical collision issues, but these have been improved immensely from the previous game. If you thought Day of Reckoning was a good looking game wait tell you see this game as it has beautiful textures and just a great overall look and feel.
WWE Day of Reckoning 2 is one of those games that I tossed and turned with and just couldn’t figure out where I wanted to put some of the scores. First off I had a lot of fun with Day of Reckoning 2, but this is another example of a game that I just felt was missing one element that would take this game from a solid game to a great. I would say though if you do like wrestling games then you are going to enjoy a lot of the new features in this game, especially the stamina bar, which really helps make this game feel a lot more realistic.
When it all boils down to, this was one of the hardest games I have had to score this year because of how close it was to being perfect. I must say that I went with my gut instinct and although Day of Reckoning 2 is a solid game I just felt like there was something that was needed in this game, maybe a better story mode that would take this game to the top. If you are a Gamecube owner and enjoy wrestling games then there is no reason why you wouldn’t want to pick up this game as not only is it one of your only choices but it’s a great choice at that!
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.