Having played Raw is War at TGS, we were excited about seeing how far the game has progressed in the short time since our last meeting with THQ. There were several Xboxes on hand, each running a four-player demonstration match between The Rock, Stone Cold, the Undertaker and Triple H. Although only your wrestler was active, the four players in the ring allowed you to see how the game would handle matches with several opponents.
Controlling the wrestler is deliberate at all times, without any of the frantic rush found in the Smackdown! series. Tapping the digital pad twice in any direction initiates a run, which can be controlled, unlike the traditional wrestling game one-way charge. Running in circles, as minor a feature as it may seem, adds much to the possibilities as far as control goes. Being able to pull of running moves like clotheslines and dropkicks with last-minute control allows you to compensate for opponents that leave the ring or start running themselves. One of the newer features of Raw is War is an energy bar of sorts that one of the presenters introduced as a rage meter. We noticed that as your wrestler executed moves and threw punches, the meter would decrease, indicating that it represented stamina. The meter would replenish quickly, and would only seem to limit players who rely on throwing endless streams of punches.
The graphics on Raw is War looked polished and superbly detailed. Shading and textures on the wrestlers themselves were first-rate, although the crowds and ring weren't particularly as impressive as those in the movie clips we've seen. The wrestlers we were able to play with had one of their finishers available, which in execution were fun to use and watch. According to the representatives on hand, many more moves needed to be implemented, as well as a lot of the bells and whistles that would add substantially to the game's presentation. The audio capabilities of Raw is War still weren't revealed, although the prospect of having commentary or wrestler voice clips seemed slim. We still weren't able to lock down any concrete information on use of the Xbox networking or storage capabilities, but the possibility of downloadable add-ons, wrestlers and federation information remains. After playing a few games, we left with the impression that the visuals in Raw is War were top-notch, the frame rate and gameplay were excellent, and overall, the game left you hoping for more.
As WWF Raw is War approaches completion, we'll provide updated looks at the game's progress in our continued coverage of this exciting Xbox title.