History of WWF/E Games Part 28
Time to look at the First WWF Game on Xbox.
OK so the background on this game is going to take a while so get comfortable. This console generation of Playstation 2, Xbox and GameCube was an awesome time to be a wrestling and video game fan because each console got a different wrestling game. These days WWE 13 is just ported to all the different systems, but during this time while they were all published by THQ, each one had different people developing the game. WWF/E RAW was the first game to be released for the Microsoft Xbox, and the last WWF/E game to be released for the PC.
The reason why I have written WWF/E is because in the USA this game was released in February of 2002 when the WWF was still called the WWF. However by the time it was released here in the UK in September, the WWF had become the WWE. Likewise the PC version of the game was also called WWE RAW. This was only on the box and manual, and no changes had actually been made in the game.
RAW was going to be a more mature wrestling game, and early previews had wrestlers covered in blood. Not only that, the blood would also stain the ring. However it seems like every couple of years there is some kind of accident where someone gets hurt trying to replicate the moves they see on TV. This happened at a time very late in the development of RAW, so THQ and the WWF freaked out big time over the bad press wrestling was getting in the media, and took out the blood effects.
As the game had such a long delay in being released, it has one of the most out dated rosters to ever be in a wrestling game at the time of its release. You may remember from a couple of weeks ago I mentioned how the WWF bought out there competition WCW. Well despite this game being released the better part of a year later there were no WCW wrestlers in the game. It was even worse for us UK gamers as we got the game in the September, and the roster was even more out of date by then. One really cool thing about the PC port of RAW is that some very talented people have managed to make some very impressive mods for the game that update the roster.
Graphics are RAW’s strongest point. The wrestlers look better than anything else I had ever seen before up to this point. I remember that very first advertisement I saw in the WWF Magazine, and I could not believe it. They really did look much better than what was on the Playstation 2 at the time. When standing still they wrestlers look great, and when they are executing various wrestling moves they still look amazing. The weird thing is the way they walk. It just looks stiff and really awkward. One thing I feel this game never gets the credit it deserves for is the facial animations. These really were quite ahead of there time for a wrestling game. The wrestler entrances are amazing and blow away anything else that had been released before. One thing I loved was how you could go in the options and watch all the entrance videos. One other thing you could do in relation to the wrestler entrances was attack a wrestler while they were making there entrance.
The arena looks amazing too, and it really looks very close to the RAW arena on TV. You better appreciate this arena as well because it is the only one in the game. How crazy is that? That a game released in 2002 had only one wrestling arena for you to play in. While there is only that one, the attention to detail really is impressive. I can’t get my head round the fact that they just did not bother to make another arena. Or at the very least slap a different ring apron on and put a few different logos in the arena.
RAW is a really tough game to love. The game play is really weird. I am not saying its bad, but it sure as heck will take you a while to get used to. You can see from the screenshots that big bar on the bottom of the screen. This is the voltage meter. It will swing in your favour when the crowd is behind you. Doing a variety of different moves will get the fans on your side, but if you just keep doing the same move over and over they will cheer the other guy. It is a very odd system that if I am honest is not that great. I get that they were going for something new, but I just never found it that interesting. Actually it is not even that new as WWF Warzone had a similar feature. It does not help that the AI is really stupid. There is really no challenge at all to beating the AI. More often than not they just stand there waiting to be hit.
There is no season mode which is very disappointing as well. All you do is pick a WWF Championship and wrestle a series of one on one matches to win it. There is no story lines, no cut scenes…there is nothing. It is just like playing a game that was released on the SNES or Mega Drive. What is even more weird is how you can win the WWF Woman’s Championship. What makes that particular championship weird is that you can pick a male wrestler. There is just something very wrong with the toughest SOB in the world Stone Cold Steve Austin trying to become the Woman’s Champion.
The selection of match types is also very poor for when this game was released. It is as bare bones as you could possibly get. There are no cage, ladder, table, or hell in a cell. All these modes have been in the majority of wrestling games for a few years now. All you get here are the basic single and tag matches and a few multi man matches as well.
RAW has a create a wrestler mode which was standard for wrestling games by this point, but it is very basic compared to what the Smackdown games offered on the Playstation. To be honest I think I would even go as far to say that the Nintendo 64 wrestling games had a better create a wrestler mode.
This is not a bad game, it is just so incredibly bland. Great graphics can only get you so far. With its really out dated roster, lack of a real single player mode and poor selection of game modes, RAW feels like a game that was made to just make a quick buck as it had the WWF logo on it. I never understood why they could not have added a few new wrestlers for the European launch. They could have even re-released the game in the USA with the new wrestlers. You can pick up this game really cheap for the Xbox, and if you are into the modding scene on PC its worth checking out to see the amazing work people do on there. I know there are some fans who will swear that this is a great wrestling game, but I just don’t see it.