WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role Review
I'll admit it, I've stopped watching wrestling, it could be for the fact that on Mondays and Thursdays there are better shows to watch, or maybe the fact that wrestling becomes repetitive and the dialogue soon becomes extremely corny. But on occasions I still like to catch a showing of Smackdown once or twice, and realize that not much has changed, although I must say... Vince and Linda McMahon, smelled that one years ago. Anyways, as I was saying, I would watch wrestling from time to time, but it is no secret that the sport is losing its publicity that it once had a year or two ago, and I feel that it is loosing some fans who are hitting their late teens, and yet gaining new ones as they approach the age of ten. Still either way you look at it, wrestling seems as popular as ever, and with the addition of Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, Chris Jericho and a few other WCW stars, it looks like the WWF franchise is getting better and better (although I wish that Kevin Nash (Diesel) and Scott Hall (Razor Ramon) would return, *sigh* you can't have everything). It seems too weird to be true but WWF Smackdown was released earlier in 2000, around February/March time, and already just 9 months later we get a sequel to what has been hailed as the greatest wrestling game ever. Read the review to the sequel of WWF Smackdown 2, and learn the improvements the sequel has over the original.
The graphics haven't really changed all that much, but that isn't by any means bad at all. Thankfully Yukes utilized the Smackdown engine and put a little more effort into the body detail for sharper and cleaner looking wrestlers. The wrestlers are big, their figures have been almost perfectly re-created, take Triple H for example, physically the man's huge, I once saw him up close on TV (I believe it was on Regis, back then when Satan... I mean Kathie Lee was still around), his arms were huge, probably as big as my waist, and I can say that, that kind of attention to detail was not over looked in Smackdown 2, the wrestlers look painfully real. With the power that a console such as the PSOne creates, it seems like creating a wrestling game to look as good as Smackdown 2 can almost seem impossible, but I have to give the folks at Yukes credit. The arena detail seems to have gotten better as well, the audience members look better, in their own pixilated way, but there are now more audience members surrounding the ring, and it looks pretty cool. Also the ring announcer tables have been placed to the south of the ring, the Spanish announcers table makes an appearance, so does JR's and King's, and you guessed it you can climb on top of it and then get piledrived to the bottom. Instead of having three backstage areas, you now have around 10. You can go to the entrance where the Titantron is, or go into lockers, kitchens, bathrooms, boiler rooms, garage and more. Overall the visuals are better than the first Smackdown, but not exactly drastically.
Whoa, talk about a change! First of all, we can all say that the first Smackdown had a very poor Create a Wrestler option that only let you tinker with the faces of real wrestlers. Customizing wasn't as deep as Acclaim's WWF games, but that has changed with Smackdown 2, the Create a Wrestler option lets you choose from the size of your wrestlers shnoze, to his mouth, eyes, hair style, physique, and pretty much everything else you can possibly think off, except height, which has yet to be added in a game. This time around a much wanted Ladder Match has been tossed into the game, it can be played in the game's Season mode, or can be played straight through the Special mode in the Exhibition menu. The original matches have returned, although the Royal Rumble mode is more annoying than ever, the constant loading times for wrestlers to get in the ring make you want to forget playing the mode altogether, I really can't wait for a PS2 WWF game to be released. The matches include One on One, Tornado, Three vs. One, Handicap, Hardcore, Cage Match, Casket Match, Hell in a Cell, and a good variety of others. Smackdown 2 is a big improvement over the original not only in depth, but the roster is also updated with new faces such as Lita, Trish Stratus, Kurt Angle, Grandmaster Sexay, Scotty too Hotty, Rikishi, and a few others appearing in the sequel to Smackdown.
I can tell that there were some new moves added to the wrestlers' move list, and instantly you'll notice a few maneuvers that you didn't see previously in the original. Not only does Smackdown 2 let you create wrestlers, but you can make a your own stable something along the lines of DX or Too Cool, gather up your gang and wrestle with them, a very smart feature. Then we are able to create our own taunt, after that we can head straight into setting up our own PPV matches, and to top off the cake, create your own manager, sweet! The season mode is a lot like the previous Smackdown, except with a few tweaks here and there, like previous game you will experience the RPG-esque dialogue that happens, or you can even get surprised attacked by an enemy, it's deep and good stuff. I highly recommend buying WWF Smackdown 2, if I listed the reasons why, I'm afraid that I may very well write forever. The new gameplay adjustments are so incredible that they bring a whole new life to the game, with over 50 superstars, far more than a dozen matches, tons of modes and a whole slew of "creating" modes, you owe it to yourself to pick up Smackdown 2.
Again? I understand that commentary takes awhile to do, but we could've at least had some play by play commentary where an announcer would scream out the name of a maneuver, and maybe add a comment or two, I'm not asking for WWF Warzone commentary, but something would have been nice. Once again the rock/techno soundtrack returns, this time its different, but still every bit as repetitive as the original, luckily the game allows you to turn the music sound off, and just leave sound effects, which by the way sound very good. The falls, punches and the audience sound great, it would have been nice to hear some commentary to complement the sound effects, oh well, there is always the PS2 version, right Yukes?
I'm kind of ticked off that Smackdown 2 doesn't support analog, it would've been cool to maneuver your wrestler via analog stick, but for some reason Yukes decided that it wasn't necessary. The Dual Shock is a powerhouse, every time you fall, get punched, piledrived or just plain beat down, you'll feel the controller rumble, very good effort by Yukes. Nothing really has changed from controls, everything remains pretty much the same, X is to make punch and kick combos, Circle is to grab and using the digital pad you can determine the move that comes out, and once again pressing L1 when the SMACKDOWN! logo appears will make the wrestler pull off his/her special move. Controls didn't really change, but that's all for the better.
After playing WWF Smackdown 2 excessively and almost forgetting about reviewing the game, I obviously found the second Smackdown an improvement over the original in more ways than one, in fact in more ways than one hundred, as corny as that sounds, it's pretty much true. WWF Smackdown 2's visuals look sweet, even better on the PS2, the gameplay is far more deeper than any other wrestling game on the market to date, with all of the modes, matches, wrestlers, and customizable options, Smackdown 2 just features a mind-boggling amount of features, just go out and purchase WWF Smackdown 2: Know Your Role for Playstation, and you absolutely must buy a multi-tap to fully experience the game 100%.