History of WWF/E Games Part 34
WWE RAW 2
Time to look at the second WWE game on Xbox.
WWE RAW 2 was the sequel to RAW that was released on the Xbox and PC a year earlier. Unlike the first game however this one would not see a release on the PC and would remain as an Xbox exclusive. There was never any kind of official reason given for why there was not a PC port.
Originally the game was going to be called WWE RAW 2: Ruthless Aggression, but THQ/Anchor decided to drop the Ruthless Aggression sub title. Ruthless Aggression was what this particular era of the WWE is most commonly referred to. This would be the last game THQ would let Anchor develop. After this Studio Gigante would take over development and make the next WWE game on Xbox.
WWE RAW 2 looked amazing back then and I think it still holds up incredibly well today. One thing I really love is the way that there is full motion video playing in the background of all the menus. A little off topic here, but I always felt that FMV on the Xbox looked so much sharper than it did on the Playstation 2 and GameCube.
The roster is absolutely huge. It’s crazy the amount of wrestlers that were included. While the first RAW had a terribly outdated roster, RAW 2’s was bang up to date. Goldberg, Scott Steiner, Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan, Brock Lesnar and a ton more were all included. Not only was the roster huge, the characters were all as smooth as could be. Animation though was kind of a let down. Well maybe that’s a little harsh actually. The animation is fine, but for some reason the game looks and feels like it’s in slow motion. The arenas look amazing as well, and all the arenas you could possibly want are included. I think that at the time this game was released, it by a mile had the best looking arenas of any wrestling game.
While the first RAW game had no season mode. RAW 2 did, but its presentation is really a mixed bag. On one hand it looks fantastic and it is full of various cut scenes, but there is no voice overs, and there is no text telling you what is happening. It is very weird to see a wrestler standing in the middle of the ring with a microphone and there be no voice acting or text on the screen.
You cannot talk about RAW 2 and not bring up the insane level of customisation that you could do. Every single wrestler in the game could have there attire edited. It would take the better part of a decade for this feature to be put back into wrestling games after this. In addition you could rip a song to the hard drive and use that as a create a wrestlers entrance music. If that was not enough you had complete control over your create a wrestlers entrance. You could arrange the pyro and even make a new entrance video that would play on the screens in the arena. As far as customization goes RAW 2 was way ahead of its time.
The first RAW game had a pathetic amount of game modes. RAW 2 more than makes up for this by having every game mode that you could possibly want. Cage, ladder and table are all included, as well as a ton of others. As far as game modes go RAW 2 has more than enough to keep you happy.
Sadly the core game play of RAW 2 is terrible. I have heard people try and defend it, but I am having none of it. This game is zero fun to play. The collision detection is atrocious for a start. Not to mention the weird floaty slow motion feel the wrestlers all have, but if that is not bad enough, RAW 2 has so many little annoying game play…I guess you could say features, but I think “bugs me” is a better term.
The AI in this game is brutal as well. Any match with more than two wrestlers in it turns into one of the most frustrating experiences you will have in a wrestling game. Let’s say you are in a four way battle royal match and you have one guy in a move, the other wrestlers can break up the move by attacking you. Don’t get me wrong, on paper this sounds like a great idea as this is something that happens all the time in actual WWE matches, but they really screwed it up big time to the point when I would dread the thought of having more than two wrestlers in any match. If in a four way match you are fighting one guy and the other two are fighting in another area of the ring, 99/100 when you try a grapple move, the AI will stop what it’s doing to come and disrupt your move. Even if they run or walk into it your move can be stopped. Like I said this was a great idea, but it was poorly executed.
Another brutal thing that happens is when the AI tries to pin you. If you kick out they will juts keep trying to pin you over and over again. One of two things will then happen; you will luckily manage to get to your feet before they can do it for the 87th time, or you will quit the match followed by a lot of profanities at your TV. Speaking of pinning, what genius at Anchor thought it was a good idea to use the same button to pin your opponent and exit the ring? I am sure you can guess what happens when you try and pin someone near the ropes. Your wrestler will jump out of the ring. RAW 2 is filled with loads of annoying little things like this. I know as I am writing this sound trivial at best, but when you add up all these little pains in the asses things, it really does make the game no fun to play.
The season mode was such a great idea and I can really appreciate what they were going for, but they went and screwed that up as well. You can do a ton of stuff in the RAW 2 season mode. You can attack people back stage, be nice to people, call people out in the ring, set traps and do many other things as well. However like I mentioned before there is no text or anything like that to move the story along. I played through the RAW 2 season mode on a few occasions, and each and every time one of the WWE Divas would become either the WWE or World Heavyweight Champion.
I love everything about RAW 2 except the actual game. It really does look amazing, and I know that many people will defend this game until they are blue in the face mainly due to the amazing level of customization available. I agree with that the customization aspect is great and it is a ton of fun playing it, but at the end of the day the game has to still be fun to play from a wrestling point of view; and sadly it is not. I spent countless hours with this game trying to force myself to like it because of how great it looked and how much fun it was customizing stuff, but I just could not do it. I would say that since this game can be picked up on the cheap it is worth buying just to mess around and customize stuff.