WWE Wrestlemania X8 Game Review

I was at Best Buy one day and I noticed a bunch of games on sale but one game stood out the most(maybe because it was the only one worth getting)and it was WrestleMania X8. I picked it up and went home and was expecting a below average game but boy was I wrong. After playing with it for about 5 hours I decided to read some reviews on the internet and try to understand why this game didn’t get good scores. Well after reading a couple I realized that many were comparing this game to No Mercy when they really should have been comparing it to Smackdown. THQ even announced that they would not be working with AKI and still people were expecting a No Mercy sequel when they knew they were going to get more of a Smackdown type game. No offense to my co-worker Ron Teeter but in my opinion his review did not do this game justice and I’m writing this review to set things straight.

Presentation

The game starts off with some highlights of Wrestlemania X8 and is really nice to watch but the background music is so borrrriiinnnngggg. Well I thought things would get better but not only did the opening music suck but so does the menu screen music. It kind of reminded me of Gameboy music. Well anyways the Menu layout is fairly simple, just pick what type of match you want and how many players are going to play yada-yada-yada. Overall really user friendly.

Graphics

When I played Smackdown on PS2 I wasn’t that impressed at all with the character models. For some strange reason they always looked like poster cut-outs and cartoony. I was really hoping Yukes would make the graphics appeal to me in WMX8 and boy did they. The character models now look “realer” and smooth and sometimes even show how well they designed their muscles. The character models are beautifully done. The arenas on the other hand are just plain AMAZING. The detail they put into the arenas really surprised me. The lighting effects in the game are used really well to give the arenas that special touch as well. Let me get one thing straight though, these arenas and character models still don’t compare to those in Raw, but really come close. REALLY CLOSE.

Sound

The entrance music as we all know is a big part of the experience and just gives you the atmosphere and Yukes did a wonderful job with the quality of the music they inserted in their game. On the downside though there still is no commentary, which at that point was inexcusable. Even if it was bad, they still should have put it in with an option to turn it off. I just simply cannot forgive Yukes for that. Another downside is the in-game music. Yes just like in the Smackdown series Yukes has yet again put in some techno beat and it just doesn’t flow with the game. ANOTHER downside is that Yukes DID NOT get licenses to all the superstars theme songs. So far I noticed Booker T, Tazz, NWO do not have their original songs. On the bright side though(finally a good thing)they did substitute them very well. The hits also sound real

Gameplay

I want to get things straight with you right now. I did enjoy the AKI games but always thought Yukes series was better. Maybe it was the speed of their games or how many more options their games had…..I don’t know. Well to say the least the gameplay in WMX8 is superior to that of Smackdown in many ways. First off, in my opinion, the controls are very simple. A is to grapple, B is to punch, Y is to go against the ropes and both L and R are used to reverse your opponents moves. I really don’t see what’s so awkward about the controls. They seem basic but play beautifully so what’s the problem I have no idea. What’s also great about the title is that it keeps things running at 60 fps no matter what you’re doing. So no more annoying slowdowns like in No Mercy. The game is also somewhat quick like Smackdown which is great because you want things to run fast in this type of game. On the downside though the game is glitchy but not glitchy as in your arm goes through your opponents, because that will hardly ever happen, but glitchy as in you kick out of the pin but the referee still counts. This can get annoying at times but I noticed it rarely happens. While it will cost you the WWE belt sometimes it’s not nearly as annoying as the A.I. It just seems the computer reverses your moves WAY to much even when their spirit is down (Yes there is a spirit meter now that indicates if your doing really good in the game or really bad.) What’s the most annoying part is that even after you hit your finisher and decide to hit them with a weapon just for good measure they get right back up as if you had never hit your finisher to begin with. While the A.I has its downsides, it doesn’t mean you can’t win and the game is still very, very playable and enjoyable. One of my biggest dislikes about this game is that it features absolutely no story mode. This is a major blow but then again the way Yukes incorporates their stories in their games suck(ie:Smackdown 3)but still either way they should have thrown one in there just to satisfy the hardcore fans. One really has to hope though that Yukes corrects this in the next installment of this franchise.

Features

This game like the wrestling games before it(except Royal Rumble on the DC and RAW on the Xbox) has loads of match types and options. Here’s a run down

Path of a Champion- Just pick the belt your aiming for and select your superstar and your ready to become the next big thing

Create a Superstar(CAW)- In my opinion this is not the best CAW but not the worst. It just gives you the basics but I was really hoping they would have gone a little deeper with such an important option.

Battle For The Belts- Select a custom belt and get ready to rumble for it(Note:this option requires 2 players)

Tag-Your basic tag match pitting you and a buddy against 2 computers

Handicap-Don’t feel you can take down The Rock by yourself well grab a partner and then you can both whoop him WWE style

Fatal 4-Way-Square off against 3 opponents and who ever gets the first pin wins the match

Battle Royal-Eliminate one opponent at a time to emerge victorious

Royal Rumble-Your basic Royal Rumble with the option of setting how many will participate and if they come at random but unlike the Smackdown Royal Rumbles, once your out your out for good.

Match Types

  • Normal Match-Just you against a buddy or the computer
  • Hardcore Match-Surround yourself in weapons and use them at all cost in order to win your match
  • Cage Match-Beat your opponent down to a pulp and then TRY to get out of the 10 foot squared cage.
  • Hell in the Cell– Same as a Cage match but with a roof and now you can break out of the cage climb on top and beat your opponent on top of the cage and throw him off.
  • Ladder Match-the title is hung high above you, the only way to get it, climb the ladder and reach for it. That’s if you can survive your opponent.
  • Table Match-Try to get your enemy on top of a table then smash him right through it to win
  • TLC Match- The most popular match in the WWE. Now you can experience Tables, Ladders and Chairs as you try to defeat your opponent so bad that it gives you enough time to climb up the ladder and reach for the belt.
  • Replay Value After you’ve gotten all the belts there isn’t really anything to unlock except a few characters and arenas but that’s it. But the multi-player is what keeps this game alive it’s just really fun and probably the best in a wrestling game.
  • Score Recap Presentation:The opening movie is ok but the background music is boring and the just seems Yukes didn’t put enough time into this area. Menu lay out is very user friendly though.
  • Graphics: Character models look better than Smackdown’s but not as good as Raw’s. The arenas are best I’ve seen yet.
  • Sound: Lame techno beats and no commentary sucks but the entrance theme songs are done perfectly and the sounds of the hits sound real.
  • Gameplay: Controls are easy and everything runs smooth but AI just counters moves way too much and lack of story mode doesn’t help. Still very enjoyable.
  • Features: A lot to do here but the CAW really should have been worked on more. But high number of matches helps the game a lot.
  • Replay Value:Well once your done getting the belts there’s nothing else to do but to unlock a couple of things but the multi-player is what will keep you coming back for more.

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