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Greetings. We’re into that time of the year where games are just about ready to hit the shelves. And the latest batch of wrestling games are no exception to that rule. With new games coming out soon for all the major systems, you’d be forgiven for dancing around in excitement. Anyway, enough of the dancing, let’s get to the news.
First of all, the entire video games industry has been shaken by the news that Acclaim, one of the most well known and successful companies in the market, have gone to the wall. Wrestling fans will know them best as making all the WWE games before the switch over to THQ, as well as their more recent endeavour, the Legends Of Wrestling series. Unfortunately, due to financial problems, the company has filed for bankruptcy, fired all of it’s staff and essentially ceased trading.
To be honest, I’m extremely disappointed with the news. As I mentioned in a past update, the more wrestling games on the market, the better for the consumer. With the Legends Of Wrestling series looking to be over, THQ seems to have a strong foothold in the US Wrestling Game market. Some people believe that a rival developer will take over the Acclaim brand, but there’s no guarantees that they’ll want to carry on creating wrestling games. It’s a sad time in the games market to see such a well known company end up like this, and I really do hope that this doesn’t become a trend.
On a more positive note, Gamecube owners will be delighted to hear that it finally looks like they have a wrestling game that’s actually very good. The initial reaction to WWE Day Of Reckoning is that it’s a very playable game. The game apparently plays a lot more like AKI’s old No Mercy game for the N64, which isn’t to shabby when you consider that many people consider it to be one of the best wrestling games ever. Most of the early reviews I’ve read all seem to agree that this is the best wrestling game available for Nintendo’s current console, and seems to be a major improvement over Wrestlemania XIX.
One of the most positive things I’ve heard about the game is that the career mode is extremely enjoyable. You aren’t actually able to play as a normal member of the WWE roster throughout this mode, you need to use a Created Wrestler. As mentioned before, you start off as a new guy, stuck at the bottom of the roster. With the help of Wrestling101 Video Game Staff favourite The Coach, you have to work your way to the top of the pile and become champion. One thing I haven’t heard about is the proposed idea where you start outside of WWE, before earning a contract with the McMahons. I’m disappointed that this feature never made it in, because it could have been quite interesting to see how WWE would like to have rival promotions portrayed.
Of course, the big news that even has non-gaming fans interested in Day Of Reckoning is the inclusion of Bret “The Hitman” Hart. I’m not going to sum up the entire Montreal incident here, I’ll leave that to my colleagues in the US Scene section of W101. Anyway, to cut a long story short, Bret was unhappy with the way he was treated when he left WWE, and held a major grudge for a long time. Some reports seem to be saying that Bret is closer than ever to letting that grudge go, and his involvement in an official WWE game certainly adds weight to that story. Day Of Reckoning will be out in the UK soon, as we’ll have the review for you right here.
As for PS2 owners, they’ll also be happy to know that Smackdown! Vs Raw is also becoming more interesting as each day goes on. It appears to be that online play IS confirmed, in one way or another. As of now, we don’t know whether you’ll be restricted to normal one on one matches, or if you’ll be allowed to partake in gimmick matches (eg. Hell In A Cell, Cage, Hardcore) or even play against more than one person. The idea of a properly done online mode is a very attractive prospect, and I’m looking forward to this game more and more every day.
Also on the PS2 front is Def Jam: Fight For New York. As we know, the game is going for a more realistic, street fighting (no, that doesn’t mean Ryu and Ken will be in the game) approach, making it more similar to a Mixed Martial Arts game like PRIDE FC, rather than a wrestling game. Anyway, the game has been put back a little bit until October. What’s the reason for this? It’s unknown, but hopefully EA are adding a few extra goodies to the game that will justify the delay.
On the Gameboy Advance front, there’s now a little bit more known about WWE Survivor Series. So far, 11 wrestlers have been confirmed, which are Undertaker, Triple H, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Rob Van Dam, Rey Mysterio and John Cena. The game will feature the usual handheld match modes, including one on one, tag, hardcore and cage matches, as well as featuring a triple threat match and a Royal Rumble mode, which could be interesting. I’ll be frank here, every THQ game for a handheld console has been terrible. Will this change things? I really do hope so, because when you look at a game like Fire Pro A, which came out years ago, being better than anything that WWE and THQ have to offer on their handheld system, it’s really not good enough.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much more news available for Rumble Roses, Wrestlemania 21 or the new WWE game for the N-Gage, Aftershock. Rest assured though, that I’ll bring you the 411 on these games as soon as news becomes available.
Now, if you’re wondering when the games I’ve discussed in this Update will be available to buy, get ready to wonder no more. Here’s the UK release dates for all the wrestling games confirmed right now.
- WWE Day Of Reckoning (Gamecube)- 17/09/04
- Def Jam Vendetta II: Fight For New York (PS2, Gamecube, Xbox)- 01/10/04
- WWE Smackdown! Vs Raw (PS2)- 26/11/04
- WWE Survivor Series (GBA)- 26/11/04
- WWE Aftershock (N-Gage)- Late 2004
- Rumble Roses (PS2)- January 05
- WWE Wrestlemania 21 (Xbox)- Early 2005
And if you want to pre-order any of these games, so that they arrive on your doorstop on the day of release, then take a look at the Wrestling 101 Video Games Store.
Well folks, that’s the news for September. Don’t forget to join me again in October for more hot gossip for the wrestling game scene, and keep an eye on Wrestling101 for the review of WWE Day Of Reckoning. We’ve heard that it’s good, but just how good is it? You’ll get the full breakdown of the game right here, in the near future. So until next time, have fun, stay safe and keep buying from the Wrestling 101 Video Games Store.