View Full Version : WWF Sim Shows 'Raw' Power of Xbox

03-10-2002, 08:42 PM
Pretty good article about Raw.



On a Monday night in the old Providence Convention Center, Kurt Angle, World Wrestling Federation superstar and Olympic gold medalist, is pummeling a guy named Jericho for the WWF championship.

Suddenly, Angle backs into a 7-foot-tall masked warrior named Kane who has appeared out of nowhere. A look of stunned surprise crosses Angle's face. The crowd witnessing the February 25 live event roars with delight. Kane bashes Angle and lets Jericho pin him. Rock music blares. Fans scream.

Trying to emulate this type of comedy, campy pathos and showmanship are two new computer games -- "WWF Smackdown! Just Bring It" for the PlayStation 2 (news - web sites) ($50) and, most recently, "WWF Raw" for Xbox (news - web sites) ($50). I can tell you from a first-hand comparison with the real thing in Providence that neither game even comes close.

For the record, "Raw" is, by far, the better looking of the two console games -- which gives Xbox owners bragging rights. Its graphics are a big improvement over "Smackdown," the previous champion of wrestling sims.

Yet in some ways, "Smackdown" remains a better game because the Xbox version lacks some of "Smackdown's" features and versatility. Why THQ, the developer, didn't simply take "Smackdown" and improve on it is a mystery.

I tested both games by, among other things, trying to replicate the Angle-Jericho match. On the Xbox, I was stymied because "Raw's" initial 43 characters didn't include WWF diva Stephanie McMahon, who was managing for Jericho.

"Smackdown" has even fewer wrestlers to start -- 36 -- and, again, no Steph.

I thought I might have better luck with the main event, a battle between Stone Cold Steve Austin and the ever-not-so-humble Mr. Perfect. In both the PS-2 and Xbox games, Mr. Perfect was nowhere to be found.

The visual superiority of "Raw" is obvious right away. In "Smackdown," audience members look like jumping cardboard cutouts. In "Raw," they're three dimensional figures and the wrestlers themselves have smoother outlines.

When you hit the ring ropes in "Raw," they vibrate. Except for some specific moves in "Smackdown," the ropes show little flexibility -- an issue that's more important than you might think. In "Smackdown," wrestlers' bodies are always passing through the rope strands, detracting from the realism. The vibrating robes in "Raw" help hide that flaw.

An unfortunate feature of both products is the ineptitude of the game when it controls the wrestlers. "Raw" and "Smackdown" make wrestlers repeatedly grab at thin air or dive onto an opponent when there's nobody on the canvas to hurt. Neither game knows how to make the wrestlers walk realistically and if you look closely when a smaller wrestler is put in a Boston Crab hold in "Raw," the body of the wrestler on the mat is suspended several inches off the ground.

"Smackdown's" strength is that it offers many more types of matches than "Raw" and a better system for selecting them. "Smackdown" also seems to encourage more wrestling moves, which I prefer, while "Raw" wants to make the computer-controlled opponents do little more than punch, slap and stomp.

"Smackdown's" system for creating a custom wrestler is far more versatile, but in some ways it's too complex. For each new wrestler, selecting a hairstyle is unbelievably complicated. "Raw" has streamlined the system considerably, to the benefit of players. It also has a nice tutorial mode.

Pro wrestling simulations have evolved nicely over the years, but they're still a long way from matching fighting games like "DOA3," where hair and costumes flow, and body outlines are smooth.

And if the day ever comes when programmers can add dramatic and comedic timing to these games, Austin, Kane, Angle and the rest of the WWF crew could be out of a job.

03-10-2002, 11:51 PM
who is a game supposed to follow a storyline that occurs 3 weeks after release? Also stephanie mcmahon is in the game :)

03-11-2002, 12:15 AM
Originally posted by Wreckless

The visual superiority of "Raw" is obvious right away. In "Smackdown," audience members look like jumping cardboard cutouts. In "Raw," they're three dimensional figures and the wrestlers themselves have smoother outlines.

umm... this guy who wrote the article you linked to thinks the crowd in WWF RAW for XBox looks 3 dimensional? the crowd is a bunch of cardboard cutouts in WWF RAW.

J Dub
03-11-2002, 12:19 AM
No they aren't. They are 3D. Watch the entrances with the camera pans. You can really see it there.