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ups: Graphics, Presentation, 45 Wrestlers, Lots of Modes, Customization
downs: Controls are Iffy, Button Mashing Still an Issue, No Voice Acting

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WWE Day of Reckoning Review
game: WWE Day of Reckoning 2
three star
posted by: Chris Martin
publisher: THQ
developer: Yuke's Media Creations
ESRB rating: T (Teen)
date posted: 09:52 AM Sun Oct 16th, 2005
last revision: 09:51 AM Sun Oct 16th, 2005

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Click to read.While most of my wrestling experience dwells during the heyday of the WWF, I still find the occasional submission hold or suplex quite satisfying. I\'ve seen the Rock here and there, hell, I even bought \"The Rundown\" (no letters, please) and watched \"Hogan Knows Best\" on VH1. But other than that, my experience with the wide world of wrastlin\' is limited. I know of Triple H, The Game, Chris Jericho, the Undertaker, Rick Flair, Christian, The Hurricane. But a few of the characters I don\'t remember from the aforementioned heyday. Despite my ignorance of wrestling culture, it doesn\'t take a fanatic to know that Day of Reckoning 2 is one of the best wrestling titles to come out for GameCube.

It\'s one thing to get be interested in a game beforehand, it\'s another thing entirely to find yourself cheering and rooting for your guy later on. I, for one, am not really a fan of wrestling; this soap-opera-on-steroids does little to tickle my fancy. But I constantly found myself cheering and yelling at the opponent, biting my lip, cursing that I\'d come back and force a 1-2-3. Simply, DoR2 does one of the best jobs of getting you into the game and keeping you there, mind, body, and pointed finger. That\'s impressive. Not only that, the feel of the game is just right. Somewhat cheesy and somewhat strange, but all compelling.

If you\'re a fan of wrestling, of the WWE, or of any of the characters I mentioned above (and even those who I found obscure) you owe it to yourself to stop reading this and go pick up Day of Reckoning 2 now. Not only does its multiplayer make it one of the most exciting fighting games out there, but it just does wrestling so well that you won\'t find it any better unless you were doing it yourself. On top of that, the single player is actually quite impressive. While the developers opted for written text instead of voice-overs (thank god), they also kept it an authentic wrestling experience. There are back-stabbings, thefts, unlikely alliances, and a whole lot of smack-talking. It\'s quite impressive that the writers came up with so many ways to call someone an \"asshole\" without actually repeating the word thirty-thousand times. Without giving anything away with the single player, let\'s just say there are enough plot twists in DoR2 for even the most hardcore fans.

There are 45 wrestlers in total, including unlockable characters and divas-The Rock and Hulk Hogan are two of the more notable unlockables. The range is relatively balanced featuring a number of lightweights, middleweights, and heavyweights. Each wrestler has his (or her) own special abilities (different, more flexible, attacks and counterattacks for the lighter fighters) however, I liked the heavier fighters (if you\'re 500lbs, you\'re much less likely to ever be thrown). Even then there are trade-offs such as being unable to jump farther, or draining much more stamina, or having trouble getting up-\'cause you\'re so damned heavy, you see.

And if you\'re not into playing any of the premade superstars, you can jump into DoR2\'s extensive build-your-own-superstar mode and make one of the prettiest-or most hideous-wrestlers ever to grace the ring, from your intro (all of which is able to be remade) right down to the tattoo you have on your left forearm. There are a whole lot of impressive customization options in DoR2, and you\'ll buy more as you play the single player game.

While the customization options are great, there are also dreadfully long load times, especially in the build-your-own-superstar mode. Each time you place a hat, a coat, change a color, or anything about your character, you have to wait about 10 seconds for it to load. You might end up eating your fingers from the wait time. But have some patience and you\'ll find one of the deeper customization options in Day of Reckoning 2.

The graphics are quite good and a dramatic improvement over the prequel. DoR2 has all the flash, the flair of watching WWE on TV, complete with each character\'s authentic intro. In addition, the detail on the wrestlers is very impressive, it\'s almost a shame that they don\'t talk.

The controls of a wrestling game are always iffy, and while there are fewer \"press A really fast\" moves than last year, you\'ll still find yourself jamming on the controller frequently enough to give you cramps. This happens every time you fall to the mat, and you have to press the A button fast just to get to your feet. Of course, if you don\'t, the opponent will likely knock you silly without breaking a sweat.

The gameplay is super-sweet, and matches often become battles of attrition and strategy. You have to monitor your stamina (which depletes when you run and attack) and your damage. On top of that, you can get your special meter up by taking damage and doing crowd-pleasing moves. Performing the specials are the more impressive of the games many moves.

On top of that, Yuke\'s has created an excellent counter system, where gamers can quickly press L or R to get out of either a grapple or block a punch respectively. And even more so, the game lets you reverse submission moves. The new submission system lets you choose from Submission, Taunt, Rest Hold, and Drain. If the opponent guesses which move you\'re using, they can toss you off and/or reverse it. On top of that, there are momentum shifts that can change the game entirely.

One of my biggest complaints is the targeting system. You tap the C-Stick in the direction of the opponent to target them, but it\'s difficult to tell if you\'re actually going to attack them. Sometimes I targeted the wrong person entirely, sometimes the ref. This could be easily remedied if the game kept the targeting arrow longer than a split-second. That way you\'d be able to see exactly who you\'re facing and where your punches will go.

Another problem is the tutorial. At first it gives easy moves to perform like \"put the opponent in a submission hold.\" But the later moves are often prerequisites for the earlier ones, causing a great deal of trial and error to remember the prerequisite moves. The game could easily remind you the combinations in-game instead of having to try all the combinations. Still, it could be worse; there could be no tutorial at all.

Sure, this stuff is as fake as Pam Anderson\'s breasts, but give it a minute or two and you\'ll be as hooked as I am. WWE Day of Reckoning 2 is a blast as a party game, 2 player, or even alone. The stuff is as addicting as sugar-frosted-chocolate-bombs and twice as sweet. Fans should have not problem with this purchase-go now, get to wrastlin\'.

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