WWF Smackdown: Just Bring It
Sony Playstation 2
Time to look at the First WWF Game on PS2.
This game could not have been in development at a more awkward time for THQ. In April 2001 the WWF bought out there main rival World Championship Wrestling (WCW), which lead to a huge story line on TV where WCW wrestlers along with wrestlers from Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) would try and take over the WWF.
As this game was the first WWF game to be released on the Playstation 2, it was already deep in development by the time this happened. So despite this game not being released until November, there were no WCW or ECW wrestlers in the game. For example Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Diamond Dallas Page and Torrie Wilson were not in the game. Now many older gamers I think understood why. There was no way THQ could have predicted that the WWF would buy WCW. However I bet there was a lot of disappointed kids when they fired this up and they could not play as Rob Van Dam who went on to become a huge deal in the WWF at the time this game was released.
As the WWF now owned all of WCW and ECW they really had a monopoly on the wrestling industry. It also meant that Electronic Arts who made games based on the WCW license no longer could. Likewise Acclaim could no longer make games based on the ECW license. Electronic Arts would make a wrestling game called Def Jam Vendetta which in the instalments after would go on to be a full on beat em up. Acclaim also made a new series of games called Legends of Wrestling which ran for three instalments before Acclaim closed there doors. Like Smackdown 2 on the original Playstation, WWF changed to WWE. The platinum release of this game also had WWE logos on the packaging.
Just Bring It looked amazing at the time and I think that it still holds up fairly well to this day. Some of the facial features of the wrestlers look phenomenal. Stone Cold Steve Austin in particular I think is incredibly well done. The wrestlers all just have a smoother and less jagged look to them than they did on the Smackdown games on the original Playstation. While the character models look amazing, some of the animations are a bit odd. Not really the wrestling moves, but the way the wrestlers walk looks robotic. I think because everything else looks so great you notice it even more. One thing I have to bring up is the amazing looking CGI intro to this game. If that does not get you pumped up, then I do not know what will.
The arenas look amazing, and easily the best we had in a wrestling game up to this point. There is also a pretty decent selection of arenas to choose from. I love the way that the developer managed to recreate the Wrestlemania XVII arena. The story mode……. I like it. This is a bit of a debate amongst wrestling fans as there are some who like it and others who hate it with a passion. You have far more control over what you do in the season mode, but sometime because of the choices you make it can be over after just three matches. I can honestly say that at the time I played this game I had no complaints over the season mode at all. It was cool how you could unlock stuff in season mode and in “slobber knocker” mode such as Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst as an unlockable character. Also this was the last WWF game to let you have over six wrestlers in the ring at once.
One huge feature about Smackdown Just Bring It was the fact that it was the first game in the series that had full commentary. However I swear to god that this game had the absolute worst commentary I have ever heard in a wrestling game. You will hear such gems as “Chris Jericho is……. a nice person”. There are all these weird pauses between what they say. It is something you really have to listen to in order to appreciate just how bad it is.
The core game play really has not changed at all from the original Smackdown games on the Playstation. For me that really is not a bad thing, as the game play is still fast and fun. Even someone who plays this for the first time will be hitting Rock Bottom’s and Stone Cold Stunners in no time at all. With that being said, if you played Smackdown on the Playstation 1 and were not a fan, then really there is nothing here from a game play point of view to win you over.
One criticism of the Smackdown games on the original Playstation is how fast the wrestlers could get up after you hit them with a move. For example it was not uncommon to hit someone with the Tombstone pile drive and have then get up within two seconds. This has been toned down a little bit here, and the wrestlers will stay down a little longer. So while it is still pure arcade action it has been pulled back a little.
I already talked about the season mode and that t I felt had a ton of replay value as you needed to play through it in order to unlock stuff, but you could take different paths and go for different WWF championships. In addition there are a ton of different match types for you to play through in exhibition mode. One thing that is really annoying is the load times; they can be really brutal. Also for some weird reason this game takes up a ton of space on your memory card. I am not sure why this is the case, but I have heard that many people have thought it was due to the improved create a wrestler mode. Whatever it was, future Smackdown games did not require as much storage space.
Despite the lack of WCW and ECW wrestlers this game to me was everything I could have possibly wanted from a debut WWF game on the Playstation 2. In truth it was just a better looking version of what we had on the Playstation 1, but it still had a great deal of fun. I get that many people were not impressed by the lack of changes to the core game play and I can understand where they were coming from, but I really enjoyed this game, and I still play it every now and again
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