Day of Reckoning 2 GameCube Review

WWE games are now a yearly update for each of the three main consoles,with each edition offering small updates on the last. Not many big changes have happened since the start of this gen, so we will have to wait until the move to next gen. So without getting your hopes up for something brand new, it is best to just focus on the small changes that Day of Reckoning 2 brings to the table this year and in what way it changes the gameplay. The real question should be is it worth buying?

Gameplay

The story mode in DOR2 is a direct continuation from the one seen in the original title (although you can’t import you character from the old game due the newly updated ‘Create a Wrestler’ aspect of DOR2). You begin at the top, but as you would expect the “stuff” is about to seriously hit the fan and it won’t be long till you are battling your way through story mode on a new quest. To say anymore about the story will ruin it for you if you decided to buy the title but suffice to say it is one of the best story modes seen on this generation of consoles.

So what’s new in DOR2? Well firstly it has an updated list of wrestlers from last year’s incarnation including Heidenreich, Chris Masters, Christy Hemme, and Carlito and a selection of “WWE Legends” including Bret “Hitman” Hart. The entrances are also much better than in the original with lots of little touches added to make the game feel more realistic. The pyros have also been updated and look better while you chosen wrestler is coming down to the ring. Even Carlito holds a apple in his hand as he walks down the ramp!

There are also loads of new additions to the gameplay that makes matches seem more exciting. The new stamina meter is a welcome feature as it adds some realism to the bout, meaning you can never go as wild during a beat down or you will all worn our after a few minutes. As a result of this stamina meter, matches now seem longer and more thought is needed to win matches against the better superstars. Another new feature this year is the use of the c-stick for submissions. Different directions on the stick do different selections of moves when you have you opponent in a hold. Submit (Up-C) puts pressure on a weakened part. Drain (Right-C) drains the opponent’s stamina. Taunt (Left-C) eats away at their crowd momentum and Rest Hold (Down-C) increases your stamina. This feature has more depth than would expect, as if an opponent guesses what move you are going to do by moving their c-stick before you, then you move will be reversed and you will receive damage. All in all I believe that Yukes have done all they can with the Cube’s hardware in this addition by adding lots of new features. But sadly this doesn’t make DOR2 a great wrestling game, although it is still a well above average title.

Graphics

DOR2 is easily the best looking wrestling game on the GameCube and arguably the best wrestling title on any machine to date. It looks like a lot of work went into each wrestler as they look eerily similar to their real-life counterparts. The cartoony look of the older games in the series is now gone and each wrestler now looks very lifelike. Not only do they look life like they also move in a life like manner, with the in-game animation being of a very high standard throughout the game. To coincide with the high quality graphics and near life like animation, Yukes have thrown in some new TV like camera angles to show off all the wrestlers moves and to make all moves seem that bit more brutal. Once you have hit a Pedigree or RKO on one of you opponents it will actually fell like it broke a few bones and will hurt like hell the next morning, which is always nice.

Sound

In terms of music, almost all of the WWE superstars have their correct theme music, with Stacy Keibler’s music been they only one missing, which of course means the once again THQ is having problem from Kid Rock. Maybe Kid Rock is asking too much money or maybe THQ can’t be bothered with them anymore. Who really cares anyway, Kid Rock are crap and overrated and one of their stupid songs won’t be missed. The in-ring music that plays during matches is now once gain back to instrumental metal, which is a step back (or forwards depending on how you feel) from last years vocal tracks. Sound effect are also nice and have a good “oomph” to them when you hid a big move. Finally, there is no voice talent form any of the superstars or announcers used at any point in the game, which is disappointing as both the PS2 and Xbox releases had voice talents in there latest outings.

Lifespan

With lots of different features, lots of different wrestlers to play as, lot of different match types and a extensive create a wrestler mode there is loads to do in DOR2. Match types such as such as Hell in a Cell, Iron Man, Last Man Standing, TLC, and Bra and Panties all make a return and can be loads of fun to play in, but undoubtedly the main draw of DOR2 is its multiplayer. If you have loads of wrestling loving friends then this game could end up lasting you ages. There are enough different things to do to literally last you months on end, but if your mates are lycraphobic then the single player aspect could end up getting boring after a few weeks, if not sooner.

Overall

All in all DOR2 is a nice step forward for the brawling genre but it still has a few drawbacks that stop it from being great. If you liked the original but thought there was a few problems, you will be happy to know most of these bugs are fixed. The graphics have also lost their slightly cartoony look, which adds hugely to the game’s look, making the whole game appear better overall. DOR2 is the is the closest we have seen to a game surpassing WWF No Mercy in this generation, but should we really be looking back to a 5 year old game to experience a good wrestling game? THQ need to bring more to the squared circle next time!

7.7 out of 10

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