With Wrestlemania just released for the Cube, it’s time for the Xbox to get their next installment of the Raw series. WWF Raw for the Xbox was the first wrestling title available for the console; therefore you either take it or leave it. The game was pretty good, had most of the basics down, and was just basically a preview of what was to come for the series. Well now it’s time for #2, which would hopefully bring things together and come out to be a solid wrestling title. Instead, it doesn’t fix much, and still remains in need of help.
When WWF Raw came onto the Xbox, all people wanted was to have a wrestling game, so therefore it wasn’t really criticized (as much) for lacking game modes and other key ingredients that go into creating a good wrestling game. Well WWE Raw 2 has all the game modes you would expect, but the gameplay lacks that high-flying effect that you are used to having in WWE games.
The game modes like I said are all there, like I mentioned earlier. In Raw 2 you have the Quick Start mode, Exhibition, Season, King of the Ring, Tournament, Royal Rumble, Create a Superstar, Create a Team, Theater, and Hall of Fame. The game types are now also here with the Normal, Hardcore, Street Fight, Ladder, Table, TLC, Battle Royal, Cage, and Hell in the Cell. So as you can most likely see all of the game modes appear up in Raw 2, which is a big plus compared to the first.
If you ever have read one of my reviews about a wrestling title, I am still searching for a great season/career mode, and this one just doesn’t do the trick. Basically the "season" in which you take part in starts right after Wrestlemania, and ends with you at Wrestlemania. The road to the big show is pretty wide open, but when it comes down to it, there is not much to the season mode. There are some side plots, and some events that take place, but for the most part there is not much to it. The one bonus feature for the mode is the ability to play through the mode with friends.
Creating a superstar is always one of the joys of a wrestling title. I am not exactly sure why we all have so much fun with this mode, but in Raw 2 it ends up being a very solid mode. There are plenty of options, and customizing your character actually takes quite a bit of time, due to the amount of options provided for you. Creating a team or stable of wrestlers is also fun, allowing you to experiment with various wrestler combinations and is a blast to play.
When it gets right down to it, the one thing that separates the good from the bad is the gameplay itself. In Raw 2, the gameplay in my eyes just is too slow, and is not where it should be at this point in time. One of the biggest issues I had with Raw 2 were the controls, which for the most part were mirrored off of the first title, but with one adjustment I did not enjoy. The D-Pad is now used for walking around normally, and the left analog stick is used to spring across the ring. When I finally get 100% comfortable with the analog sticks you throw me back to the old D-Pad. There were plenty of times where I jumped for the left analog stick just trying to move around, but instead of walking, I am sprinting all over the place.
Along with the controls comes one key issue, and that is the pace of the game. If you look at the Smackdown series or even the Wrestlemania series, you will find they move at a much quicker pace. Now Raw 2 has been sped up a tad from the first, but it is still just so sluggish, that it starts to become boring. This is largely due to the grappling system, which just eliminates all sense of speed, and makes it feel like the game is moving like a snail.
My final complaint with the game is the Computer AI is just plain dumb. One of the key things I saw wrong with the AI, is the interference by wrestlers. They always go after the wrong guy, so if The Rock runs in to attack you most of the time he will attack your opponent. Also another huge issue is the pinning, where the computer AI just keeps pinning you because you cannot get up fast enough to avoid it.
With this being said, some of you are probably thinking, "Well Hey, I can get over this or that", but when it call comes down to it, these things add up, and become one big annoyance to the game, and unfortunately really hurt the game in the long run.
If one thing is done well in Raw 2 it is definitely the graphics, which are probably one of the best looking wrestling titles on the market. WWF Raw was a pretty good-looking game, but the character models were generic, and there wasn’t a whole lot of detail placed onto anything of the game. Well, times have changed, and things are done much better the second time around.
In WWE Raw 2 you will find that there is really nothing you can complain about when you talk about the graphics. One of the first things that are apparent about Raw 2 is the amount of detail placed on each of the wrestlers. It is quite remarkable the look of all the wrestlers, and really sets the bar higher for all the future wrestling games to come.
Everything else is in the game is done with a very solid appearance. The arenas have some very nice detail placed into it, one of the key things being the crowd which is actually quite animated, when you look out in the crowd you will find a lot of signs out in the crowd, having to do with the particular fight that is going on in the ring. The animation of the game is quite good, and is thankfully much improved from the pervious version.
Overall WWE Raw 2 is probably the best "looking" wrestling game around. Solid all across the board, there is really nothing to complain about.
Like I mentioned earlier, WWE Raw 2 moves like a snail, and in the end that is what holds the game back from being a solid wrestling game. The gameplay in the ring just isn’t as fluid or as fun as it is in the other WWE games on the other consoles. Even with all the game modes, with the ’create a player and team’, the gameplay just fails to be fun, and with the bad controls, this is just not a very fun wrestling title.
WWE Raw 2 has a lot going for it, but the gameplay fails to do anything fast or fun. With that being said if you are stuck with the Xbox and looking for a wrestling game, you will probably be able to deal with Raw 2 until the next edition comes out, for everyone else; the game is probably worth a rental at the most.
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.