The last installment, HCTP was dire. They changed the grapple system to an annoying double button pressing style that had ruined older WWE Titles such as Attitude (PS1) and Warzone (PS1). This game has the same grapple system, yet is infinitely better. The weight detection system mean't smaller guys couldn't lift bigger guys, which sounds good. Unfortunately it wasn't applied correctly and Shawn Michaels couldn't lift Kane, even for a suplex or power-slam. For an addictive, quick fix of WWE action, this is definitely a fantastic game. What a welcome addition the Challenge mode is. I suggest expanding this part of the game, and having up to 100 - 150 challenges to play. It definitely helps prolong the fun of the game. Also the create a PPV is a welcome return. I always was a fan of this option, and craved for its reintroduction since it disappeared after Smackdown 2.
The only complaint is, as ever, the roster. We all know todays WWE has an ever changing roster of talent, but the games always seem to throw up some mysterious questions over the roster. Chuck Palumbo and the A-Train, whilst they were drafted to RAW a few weeks before the roster cut-off point, had not featured on TV, and therefore shouldn't have been in the game. Others who were on TV for a few months before the cut
off, such as Eugene, Luther Reigns, Tyson Tomko, Kenzo Suzuki, even
Mr. Ass (Billy Gunn) could have been included. I also think the tag team belts should have been included, as it gives a bit more realism to the story mode. A build up throughout the year winning first tag team gold, then IC Gold/US Title Gold then finally your brands gold should be the way story mode is done. Plus there is always the old option of losing the belts due to your tag partner, then turning it into a feud. La Resistance should also have been included, even thought the characters would have been pretty generic.
I always think the way to ensure longevity is to include lots of different characters to play as, rather than allowing loads of create a wrestler places. I would suggest releasing an add on around march time for around £9.99, allowing you the option of using up space on your memory card to upload new characters from the WWE into the game. That way, Gene Snitsky, and any of the others who are playing a big part in proceedings could be added to your game.
If the developers keep the same mould, and ditch the poorly applied online play in favour of more game-play options, I believe 2005's installment should be great. Also, if the game wants to include true WWE Legends, give us who we want - Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, British Bulldog, Mr. Perfect, Jake "the Snake" Roberts, The demolition, The Natural Disasters and Razor Ramon. I appreciate the legal wrangles with guys currently under contract to other organisations/currently active wrestlers in the business, but for the sake of the game, could the developers/Vince not make an exception (if the price is right) to get them in the game.
Other than the usual few grumbles, a great game!
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