1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Can you dig it, Sucka?!,
This review is from: WWE SmackDown: Shut Your Mouth (PS2) (Video Game)
THQ seem to have finally sorted themselves out with their latest offering "Smackdown - Shut your mouth." After playing WWF Smackdown 2 - Know your role, I knew the franchise was one to watch. I waited with baited breath for the next incarnation to grace my PS2 and, sad to say, SD3 "Just Bring It" was a huge disappointment. With tail between my legs I retreated to my local store to trade it in for another title.
So when I heard of the follow up I was more than justified to keep one eye on other games as a potential replacement. But, much to my delight, it looks like I won't be doing so. THQ have by-and-large removed every gripe present in its predecessor. Yet, a small number of irritations remain, this goes to explain the 4 out of 5 star rating.
Firstly, the good points. The variety of wrestlers, moves and match types are improved on from SD3. Wrestlers are much more realistic to their characters. The Rock will wrestle in his distinct manic way, hitting you with fast punches keeping you down. Y2J will come across as a complete egomaniac, slapping you about, taunting you and showing off. It follows for all the wrestlers. They act as they should do. Furthermore, the interaction has taken a step up. You can steal opponents' finishing moves, counter finishing moves, look under the ring for weapons and utilise chairs, tables and ladders much more than in the last game.
There are more match types too. Elimination tag matches, lumberjack matches and more. Hell in a Cell is done properly this time too, with space between the ring and cage. Hardcore matches are more varied, with loads of weapons to use and areas to explore. The commentary too is a whole lot better. The frequency of commentary is low, but when they do speak it is generally relevant information. It helps having JR and the King behind the mics rather than Tazz and Cole, as the two seem to have much better chemistry, with Jerry Lawler drooling over the divas as JR questions his professionalism. Great stuff.
Season mode for SD3 was possibly the most rushed piece of garbage ever witnessed. In SD2 the interface was basic, but addictive. In SD4 they have taken the concept from SD3 and given it the addictiveness of SD2. In other words, the season mode here is what it should have been in SD3. You start off at the bottom, wrestling on Heat to try and gain some reputation, but soon you'll be plying your trade on Raw or Smackdown and all the various PPVs for a period of 2 years. The length of the story mode is a big plus for the game. Whereas on SD3 you could win the title in 30minutes, there is no such tripe in SD4. You are faced with tonnes of options throughout the season, determining whom you ally with and whom you don't. There are loads of career paths to take making for a great deal of potential replay value.
On top of this, you have a truly fantastic create mode, which has never wavered, even on SD3. There is an unbelievable amount of stuff to unlock, including outfits, arenas, moves and more. Start salivating.
However, there are a few factors that contributed to the imperfect rating. Of my more petty gripes, there is still no create-a-PPV mode, which I for one really enjoyed on SD2. The graphics are great 80% of the time, but can look rather shoddy at times. I still believe the PS2's graphic engine is not being utilised fully. This aside, the game is top-notch.
But, the main problems still exist in the season mode, despite it being a huge improvement on SD3. There is still no 2 player season option, which is a big irritation if you, like me, have an equally WWF loving mate. In SD2 there was no better joy than playing through the story together, but since then it seems programming limitations have eliminated the option to do so. Frustrating. Furthermore, the career paths in the season mode can tend to be very short term. Enemies you make are all but void within a month or so. One particular story I was involved in illustrated this perfectly. I found Stacy backstage and asked her to be my manager (as you do), which she said she would consider. The next show I found her again and she said she would love too - result. That night she accompanied me to my match. At the next show, which happened to be a PPV, she was nowhere to be seen. The RAW following that I found her again only for her to tell me to get lost. From then on I was manager-less. It seems that choices you make remain in effect for a couple of shows and then fall into irrelevance.
On top of this there is the irritation of having to play the same matches over and over. You won't just play Hardcore Holly in a one-off singles match, but rather in 3 consecutive matches. Dull. It's also weird to see yourself in a tag team with Al Snow against Kurt Angle with D-von Dudley. When would that match ever take place? It is all a bit random some times. Furthermore, regardless of whether you are on Heat, Raw, Smackdown or a PPV, there are only ever 3 matches per show. Kinda strange don't you think? Is it too much to ask for THQ to put a proper amount on the respective shows?
Yet, despite these problems the game is a good one. With my irritation surrounding SD3 I thought it best to warn any potential buyers as to the main issues concerning the new game. I hope you make the right decision....