WWF Smackdown! Just
System: Playstation 2
Developer: Yukes Interactive
Released: November 2001
Genre: Pro Wrestling
Capabilities: Memory Card, Dual Shock 2 Controller's Analog & Vibration, Multi-Tap
Review Written: December 9, 2001
WWF Smackdown! Just Bring It is the third licensed WWF game by Yukes on the Playstation consoles. It features many more modes of play and wrestlers than the first two did. I played the first Smackdown and though it was a great effort, I didnt find it as good as the wrestling games on the N64 that were developed by Asmik (World Tour, Revenge, Wrestlemania 2000, and No Mercy). I never played the second edition of Smackdown so Im hoping things have improved greatly for this installment. Did they? Lets get onto the review and find out.
At first glance, the character models for the wrestlers look like polished off versions of the earlier Smackdown games, which they are, but Yukes went the whole nine yards and added loads of detail to the wrestlers skin textures, ring attire, and even facial expressions. And you can really tell the difference as you start playing. While in a submission or after a powerful move has been done, you can see how the wrestlers squint their eyes and open their mouths as they howl in pain. Which is a really nice touch. The wrestlers themselves look much like the ones we see on television. All the detail is on them right down to the tattoos, like The Undertakers tattoo of the name of his wife, Sara, on his neck. The moves are animated perfectly and are performed much like the way we see them done on television. The collision detection is right on for the most part, though at some points, like attacks from the turnbuckle, it can get a little bit off. The entrances for this game are just the best Ive seen for any wrestling game to tell you the truth. I really hated the ones for the first Smackdown, but this one has great entrances. All the wrestlers come down to the ring they do in real life complete with pyrotechnics and their own titantron movie and theme music.
The game has added a new feature, the Picture-Inside-Picture (PIP), where you can see wrestlers coming down the ramp, off screen, to interfere. This is nice, but gets annoying right away because it tends to block your own view of the action. Also when people run out to interfere, at times, major slowdown occurs for several seconds, and the action gets horrendously slow for a little bit. Before in the Smackdown series, referees were never actually inside the ring, with the exception being Guest Referee mode. Now we get Official WWF referee, Earl Hebner in the ring for a majority of all game modes. Also the previous Smackdown games could only handle up to four players on screen at once, but now this version can handle a whopping eight with not much slowdown at all. The crowd is still ugly 2D animated sprites, but they work, and you really dont pay much attention to them any ways, except for the signs they hold up. Loading times are pretty fast for the most part with the exception of saving data to the memory card which takes about a good 30 to 40 seconds.
This is probably the only bad part about the game, and it is a major gripe unfortunately. But Ill start off mentioning the little bit that is all right with it. The sound effects are pretty good for the most part, all the slams on the mat, punches, and kicks sound just the way they do in real life. You get generic guitar music for your background music, which occasionally switches to rap riffs for a change. It doesnt get repetitive, but it isnt great either. Also, for the first time we get licensed music from Interscope records, which means we can hear Limp Bizcuits song, Rollin, for the Undertakers theme and Motorheads track, Play the Game for Triple H. All the other superstars themes are here also and are up to date for the most part, for example, The Rock and X-Pac & Albert got new themes this past summer and the game has them in here. Howard Finkel introduces the wrestlers and announces the winners and he actually comes off sounding pretty good in the game.
New to the Smackdown series in this edition is color commentary provided by Michael Cole & Tazz. Now that may sound like a good thing, but it isnt. Cole and Tazz just sound plain out horrible, and take really long pauses in there commentary. For example, Tazz will say, The Undertaker ..is the best ..Intercontanetal Champion ..we ever had With each phrase in his sentence having different tones of voice. That and the announcers throw in comments which sound like nothing they would say in actual telecasts, like youll hear Cole say, The .Cage Match .will be an important match and Steve Blackman .and .Jeff Hardy are fighting continually. Also Tazz will throw in comments that make no sense whatsoever like, What Thats not good? and out of nowhere hell yell Shut your mouth! So for the most part the commentary is plain out horrible and youd be best turning it off, heck even the commentary for games like WWF Attitude and WCW Backstage Assault (Which I believe has the best commentary than any other wrestling game out there) is better than this.
The game controls were a bit difficult for me to pick up at first, mostly in particular because I was so use to the slower engine in No Mercy and other N64 wrestling games. If there is one thing you need to know about this game it is that it moves at a very fast, consistent rate and if you dont manage to adapt to it right away, you may as well not even play this game. You move with the control pad, the X button is your main punch/kick button, and the Circle button is your main move button, and if you press the button and a direction on the control pad at the same time you do a different attack or move. Same goes for when you attack guys on the ground or in the turnbuckle. Finishing moves may seem a bit difficult to pull off at first, but once you do it the first time, itll seem like second nature to you. You build up this blue meter, and once you build it up, the digit next to it will change from 0 to 1, which indicates you can do a finishing move. To do it, you do a basic kick or punch to your foe which stuns him for a moment, than hit L1 to do your finisher. The computer reacts really fast and pulls off counters nearly half the time, which may be the games only downside to its engine.
The game has many modes of play, or as the back of the game case labels, Over 70 modes of play! All your basic single, tag team, and handicap matches are here. Your standard specialty matches are in here as well like Cage, Royal Rumble, King of the Ring tournaments, Iron Man, Street Fights, Table matches, and battle royals. The Ladder and Hell in a Cell matches that were introduced in Smackdown 2 make their return. There plenty of new specialty matches introduced in this years game like the TLC match, which is basically a Ladder match, but you get loads of tables, ladders, and chairs involved in the match. The Ultimate Submission match debuts, which is basically just like the Iron Man match with most falls in a time limit wins, but with submissions only. There are plenty of other modes of play like Slobberknocker, Guest Referee, and the Falls Count Anywhere matches where you can fight outside of the arena to many places like the locker room, VIP Room, operating a fork lift in the parking lot, and even WWF New York! The Story mode has received a complete overhaul where it is only 3 of 4 matches long on the average, but with lots of story line and interacting on your part. You choose your fate by deciding to form tag teams, talk trash to other superstars, and accepting/denying title matches by Commissioner Regal. By doing so you unlock Smackdown Cards which unlock wrestlers, arenas, modes of play, and parts to be used in the creation modes. I find this new Story mode to be very unique and appealing, but I prefer No Mercys story mode more because it involves a similar amount of story line, but more matches. Though it isnt as interactive as this one.
The game has 3 different type of creation modes. The first one is your standard create-a-wrestler, and up until now I thought nothing could beat Acclaims creation modes used in there WWF and ECW games. In here you can customize your wrestlers looks down to every little notch like eyes, nose, skin tones, hair types, and even add extra layers of hair and clothing. You can also add text on your ring attire, but by one letter at a time. You can create up to 12 wrestlers, which may seem like a lot, but compared to No Mercys 18, its not as much. The second thing you can create is taunts, where you can combine up to 4 taunts to form one huge taunt, which you can save, and name so you can use it when creating other wrestlers. The last thing you can create is stables, where you can have up to several wrestlers in your group and you can make it where they come to the ring together in tag team matches to their own special entrance, and so they can interfere in there partners matches to their advantage.
The game has just lots of modes for you to keep playing. Youll need to beat Story mode a good 20 times at least to unlock the 52 Smackdown cards. The game can be played with up to four players if you have a multi tap. And the fun can last for hours on end in the dozens of modes of play available to you. The one thing I dont like about this is that this games takes slightly over 4 megs of memory to save, (thats over half a memory card!), so you better make sure you have enough room for all your data.
+: The best entrances Ive seen in any wrestling game by far, In-Depth Create-a-Wrestler, Dozens of ways to play
-: The worst commentary to grace any wrestling game, Long Saving times, Needs over 4 Megs of empty space to save data
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 8.5
Replay Value: 7.8
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 7
WWF Smackdown: Just Bring It, has some major ups and downs which I discussed in this review, and even though it scored about the same of what I gave the original Smackdown, I like it much better, and if you have to own the first PS2 wrestling game in America, I give this game my recommendation. Just make sure to turn off the commentary, thats all I ask.
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