One of the most anticipated titles arrives on
Xbox - was it worth the wait, or should it have stayed in the oven some
Finally, WWF Raw has come to the Xbox. Okay, 1 tired,
overused wrestling cliché used now sit back because I have a million
If you are a Xbox owner and a Wrestling fan, it is pretty
much a given that you have already bought this game. In fact, you probably
sat in line with the other wrestling fans standing outside in the cold
bitter winter air at 7:00am waiting for your local software store to
open so you can be the first to post on WWFWrestlingGames.com message
boards that you "HAVE THE GAME, OMG." But for those of you, who have
decided to play a wait and see approach and see if WWF Raw is worth your
hard earned cash (well your parents hard earned cash), you have probably
read all of the reviews on those same message boards the varying degrees
of either loathing or love the game has received from fans and critics
alike. Your head begin hurting when you started to read some of your
friends comments on the message boards when they started talking about
how Raw sucked and that it was frustrating and that it was boring. So
right now, you're a quivering pile of goo looking for the truth and I
am the man to give it to you. I will show you the way, I will shed some
light on the murky depths of WWF Raw and why you should or should not
buy this game. What are my qualitifications? Because I am a man who truly
cares about each and every one of you and to quote the infamous Brother
Love, " I luuuuuuuuuuvvvvvvvvvvvvv yeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwww." 2 tired
and overused wrestling cliches ha ha ha ha (10,000 extra cool points
if you can name the reference.)
First I would like to gripe about what is not in the
game. That's right; lets get it all out in the open. Lets open the wounds
and expose it to the midnight mist. First, you wont find Rob Van Dam,
Booker T, Hulk Hogan, The Hurricane, DDP, Lance Storm, Billy Kidman,
Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Goldberg, Sting, George Bush, Madonna, Dennis
Rodman, Bill Clinton, or any of the other alliance/celebrity (well besides
Fred Durst but shhhh that's a big secret) The roster for the most part
is out of date. Some of the wrestlers have since been let go by the WWF(
Eddie Guerrero, K Kwik) and some are recovering from injuries(Rhyno,
Steve Blackman, Chris Benoit) so that may be a downer to some people.
On the other hand you do have over 50 wrestlers ready to play once you
turn the Xbox on. This title, I should remind everyone is only the first
game in the WWF Raw series. There is plenty of room for improvement in
Second of all you wont find many of the same match types
that you did in Smackdown Just Bring it. You wont find, Table Matches
(however the tables are fully interactive and you do other moves to put
your opponent through a table), Ladder Matches (ladders are there but
you cant climb them) Casket Matches, Hell in the Cell, Royal Rumble (the
Battle Royal is in but its more like a fatal four way then a real Battle
Royal) Panties on the Pole Match. This too can be disheartening but when
you compare it to other first time efforts on a new console it is easy
to forgive. Like I mentioned before, WWF Raw is only the first step in
the ultimate journey that Anchor is attempting to make. The first step
is to work on the animation (which they have done remarkably well), develop
a game play system that is intuitive (That still needs a bit more work
but hey, go play WCW World Tour and then play WWF No Mercy to see the
journey there - it is almost like a different game) and finally put the
grounding blocks on which they will build their WWF/Xbox franchise with.
The game play can be frustrating for first time players.
I would wager a bet that many of the people who posted that the game
sucks really didn't give the game a chance and based their opinion on
their initial experience with the game. WWF Raw is more of a simulation
then a arcade experience than WWF Smackdown. So if you're trying to play
WWF Raw like you would in Smackdown your going to lose and your going
to lose badly. The computer AI, even on the easiest setting can be a
bastard to overcome and to win consistently. Fans, for years have wanted
harder AI, and when THQ gives the fans what they want, they gripe that
it's too hard. Now, the AI is not perfect. It does have some peculiar
quirks. For example, it likes to roll in and out of the ring for no apparent
reason. And if it gets stuck on a table or something like that it will
continue walking into that table. Basically stuck there for all intents
The wrestlers do sell the moves unlike the recent Smackdown
JBI. One of the things that stuck out to me is the submissions. When
you lock a submission move, and your opponent finally breaks out of the
hold a huge shift of momentum goes to him. I really don't think that
is what happens in a real wrestling match. For example, if Jericho locks
in the walls of Jericho on the Rock and the Rock finally breaks out.
If Jericho up till that point is winning the match he will just reapply
The stamina bar is also very important to be aware of.
If you have a full stamina bar, you will be able to attack and grapple.
But if your stamina bar is used up, you're basically winded so it makes
it very important to pace your self and to know when to back off a bit.
The momentum meter, I am personally torn on this. In some ways, it does
make the matches more engaging, especially when you're playing with another
human player and in other ways as in the example I gave you it does not
accurately help with the pacing of the match as a real match would flow.
If this sound complicated, it really is not. I highly recommend for all
players to watch the tutorial located in the option mode before you actually
start playing the game. I think it will save you some frustration and
make the game more enjoyable.
Anchor did a good job with the game play. Sure, it is
not perfect but it does give them plenty of legroom to improve and grow
upon in future games in the series. If they can continue on adding innovations
like the interference in the wrestlers entrances this series definitely
has some legs to go the distance.
The only problem that I have with WWF Raw Title challenge
mode is this: the lack of the option to save during it. That means, that
a player will have to sit and play through the entire 12 match WWF World
title set of opponents. Which can be a somewhat lengthy project especially
considering that the shortest match I have ever had in this game was
over 8 minutes. There are no story lines and it's just a series of matches
with the top contenders before you challenge for the belt.
One of the best parts of this game is definitely the
option where you can tweak your wrestlers entrance. You can choose from
several variations of pyro to the lighting, to the spot light to even
the amount of camera flashes that go off during the entrance. I think
another cool aspect is that during the course of playing the game you
will find and be able to use several different items that you can use
with your create-a-wrestler. It's almost like a scavenger hunt and one
that never fails to entertain. I had a hootenanny putting all of the
different hats and chains and what ever else I could find and try to
put it on my created star. While only having 16 faces to tweak with may
prove it difficult to build other superstars that were not in the game
but those who are more creative than I could do a reasonable job of doing
Unfortunately there is not very much incentive to play
the game again after you unlock the 5 secret wrestlers. The lack of modes,
really hurts the game in the depth department. However, having a large
roster of WWF Superstars each with their own unique style and move list
does help. The ability to find over 150 weapons also helps somewhat,
but after you find all of them the funs pretty much over.
Presentation wise, WWF Raw is very nice. The menu setup
is very clean looking and is very easy to get from point A to point B.
The game opens up to an absolutely breath taking rendition of the pyro
opening that greets wrestling fans every week on TNN. I have been to
a Raw live, and the Xbox does a tremendous job of capturing the sheer
intensity of all of the pyro going off.
The music has a hard rock flavor to it. It's not bad,
and it is certainly better then some of THQ's previous efforts. The grunts
and groans are also done pretty well as well. As to be expected with
the THQ's games the wrestlers entrances are remarkably done. THQ really
spent some time and effort to capture every nuance of the intros. All
of your favorite wrestlers theme songs are in the game, from "I am the
Game" by Motorhead, to "Here Comes the Money" by Naughty by Nature, its
all in the game.
WWF Raw has some of the most realistic graphics yet seen
on the Xbox. The wrestlers for the most part all look like their real
life counterpart. There are some exceptions, HHH looks like he has a
really bad head cold and is all swollen up in the face. The opening movie
is a accurate enactment of the fireworks that open up every Monday Night
Raw on TV. The camera angles change and the WWF Raw engine does a great
job of capturing the intensity of all of the fire works in the wrestlers
entrances. Particularly impressive is Triple H entrance and the Dudleys.
There will be times, where certain camera angles will make you wonder
if your watching a live WWF event rather then playing a video game. If
that does not speak volumes on the over all graphical quality of WWF
Raw then I don't know what will.
Another cool aspect of the entrances is that for certain
wrestlers each time you view their entrance you may witness the same
entrance in a different camera angle. The animation for all of the moves
is also done very well. It's simply amazing to me how Anchor and THQ
captured some of the small details so well. Another nice detail is the
way the wrestlers hold their stomach or knee as there selling the beating
you just gave them. The only problem I see, with the animation is the
way the wrestlers walk. Its almost like they're walking on there haunches
and it looks like they have a load in their pants.
Loves using tired overused wrestling clichés.
Overall, WWF Raw is the best wrestling game on the Xbox…..
Grrr, well that doesn't tell you much being the fact
that WWF Raw is the ONLY wrestling game on the Xbox.
Okay, WWF Raw is with out a doubt one of the visually
impressive games on the Xbox. The lack of modes does
hurt it, but considering that this is the first title
in the series and that area will obviously be improved
on the next game in the series. Gameplay, can frustrate
some, but for all that spend the time to learn the nuances
and to learn the feel of the game will not be disappointed.
The sometimes-questionable AI can also be very tough
so players who frustrate easily may want to avoid this
game. But for all others who want to play a solid wrestling
game look no further.