History of WWF/E Games Part 36
WWE Day of Reckoning
Time to look at the penultimate GameCube wrestling game.
In the early days when WWE Day of Reckoning was in its initial stages of development, the game was continuing the trend of being named after that year’s Wrestlemania. So Day of Reckoning was initially called WWE Wrestlemania XX after that years Wrestlemania pay-per-view.
WWE Day of Reckoning was the last game until 2012’s WWE 13 to have The Rock as a regular wrestler and not have him as a Legend. One thing that annoyed many gamers of release was the fact that John “Bradshaw” Layfield (JBL) the top heel (bad guy) wrestler in the company at the time was no where to be seen in this game.
WWE Day of Reckoning looks amazing. One thing that amazes me is just how much better this game that was released in 2004 looks than Smackdown vs Raw 2008 on the Nintendo Wii. I think that the majority of the character models look fantastic. I would go as far to say that until the more modern games, that WWE Day of Reckoning had the best character model of The Rock.
The arenas in the game also looked really good, and while there were not as many as there were in Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain on the Playstation 2 they all did look amazing. One thing that I and many other wrestling fans got a kick out of was the way they included a house show arena in the game. For those of you who do not know what a house show, it is a WWE show that is not televised. So the arena is much smaller and less flashy than what you see on TV.
WWE Day of Reckoning like the other Nintendo GameCube games before it did not have any commentary. What this game does have is licensed music for the fist time in a WWE game. There was tracks from bands like Public Enemy and many other popular mainstream bands. I for one hated this as I was not a fan of any of the songs that were used, but I am sure for many people out there the inclusion of these tracks was a huge plus.
WWE Day of Reckoning had a Legends roster that was really cool. I personally feel it had a better line up than what Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain had. The main reason for this was the inclusion of one of my boy hood heroes Bret Hart who had not been in a WWF/E game since WWF Warzone in 1998. The downside is that they did not have there entrance music, but instead they would just use one of the licensed tracks. There was just something wrong seeing Bret Hart making his entrance with Public Enemy playing in the background. Why on earth would they go to the trouble of making character models for these Legends and then making detailed entrances, but not bother to simply put a MP3 track of there entrance music in the game really blows my mind.
This is as close I feel as we have ever gotten to a game playing like WWF No Mercy on the Nintendo 64. The game has the same light and strong grapple mechanics that WWF No Mercy had, ubt at the same time the game never feels just like a rehash of WWF No Mercy. It still manages to feel likes its own game. One really cool game play feature was the momentum shift. I am sure you have seen in a pro wrestling match how a wrestler can be getting the beating of his life and then somehow get a second wind and kick some real ass. Well Day of Reckoning has this feature where if you are on the end of a severe beating you can do a momentum shift stealing some of your opponents momentum and giving you a last ditch attempt to turn the tide and grab victory when it looked like all hope was lost. And yes it sometimes is as dramatic as I just made it sound.
In multi player just like in WWF No Mercy is where the game from a game play point of view really shines. The matches can last ages and I do not mean that as a bad thing. I once had a match with a friend of mine that lasted for around an hour. Yet when you play the AI in single player mode you get a much different kind of match. Not a bad difference, but its different none the less. But I cannot stress enough how much fun this game is with a few buddies.
WWE Day of Reckoning continued the trend of not having a regular story mode in GameCube wrestling games. WWE Day of Reckoning had a great idea that would force you to create your own wrestler. There was no other way to play the story mode in this game. You could not pick a WWE wrestler you had to create your own. The idea was that you would take your created wrestler and take them to the top of the WWE.
I loved the idea of this and I felt the story was really cool, but for me there was one big problem. I hate being forced to play as a created wrestler. There are some people out there who can create great looking wrestlers, but I suck big time at this I tried to make a really good Marty Jannetty create a wrestler and instead he looked like Martha Stewart. So I am not saying the story mode here was bad; not at all, as a mater of fact I liked the story, I just hated having to play as a create a wrestler. Of course after the game was released there are many great create a wrestler formulas online, but no one wants to wait for these on the day they get the game do they?
Outside of the story mode Day of Reckoning had a great selection of game modes. Every game mode that you could possible want was included here. What was surprising for me was the cage matches. Cage matches have been in wrestling games for over a decade before this game came out, but the cage matches here I found to be a ton of fun. One downside though was that the game did have a very small roster when you compare it to Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain on the Playstation 2 and WWE Raw 2 on the Xbox.
WWE Day of Reckoning is a great arcade style wrestling game. For me it comes as close as anything ever has to the great WWF No Mercy. This is the best multi player wrestling game on the GameCube. I am just not a fan of the story mode or the small roster. Still though if you are looking for a multi player wrestling game to play on your GameCube or hell even your Wii, then this this the game for you.
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