We go hands-on with this much-anticipated Xbox wrestling game.
THQ recently visited our offices and allowed us to go hands-on with its WWF Xbox game WWF Raw is War, which is being developed by the same team behind last year's highly regarded Ultimate Fighting Championship. We've been teased with screenshots and movie trailers for quite a while, and we were quite enthusiastic to see if the game looked as good in our hands as we'd hoped. While the version we played was early and could most assuredly use some work in some key areas, what we did see was most impressive.
If Raw is War has a single strongest quality, it would have to be its incredibly lifelike character models. Each character we saw was amazingly well done, with skin textures and muscle tone coming as close to the real thing as we could have hoped for from a next-generation game. Playing with Rikishi, we marveled at how closely the character model resembled the popular Samoan giant. His facial details were phenomenal--his facial hair and skin tone were absolutely dead-on. Many of the wrestlers, like the Big Show and Stone Cold Steve Austin, seemed larger than life, the character modelers apparently skewing their efforts on the side of incredibly muscular over lean body types. The overall look of the wrestlers was reminiscent of the most recent N64 efforts, albeit with a much greater level of quality.
The game's moves and holds are the foundation of what makes Raw is War so impressive. There is a dizzying array of techniques, and each one we attempted had numerous frames of animation, giving the action an incredibly fluid look. The transitional animations from standing to grappling were smooth, as were the stagger and pained expression that the superstars would go through the motions of after a particularly brutal series of slams and strikes. Conversely, the WWF superstars' walking animations struck us as early and on the unnatural end of the spectrum. We've seen what Anchor can do with character model animation in its previous exploits, and we have faith in its ability to better approach realism.
According to THQ, WWF Raw is War will support six characters in the ring at once, four of which can be human players. We got our hands on the game during a few four-way dances, and they looked very smooth. We can't wait to try out more of what could shape up to be an excellent multiplayer mode. During our matches, the game ran at a steady clip, and even during six-man brawls, it should run at 60 fps.
Anchor has taken a few liberties with what we've come to expect from wrestling games as far as visual style is concerned, giving us something entirely new. WWF Raw is War will feature double-feature instant replay sequences, which--in the same way as the television and pay-per-view broadcasts--will allow players to watch and control the continuing action while also being able to enjoy a particularly impressive move or sequence again. We saw an early version of what these split-screen briefs will look like, and we were pleasantly surprised by how smooth the transition from full screen to split screen was and by the overall effect in general. WWF Raw is War also surprised us with a full-screen blurring effect that served to emphasize a particularly devastating technique, but we weren't absolutely sold on how effective the blurring technique will be in the final version. We noticed that Raw is War will include blood in its matches, although the exact level of bloodiness that the game will reach is as of yet undetermined. We did see that once a superstar's face was bloodied, blood would splatter realistically across the mat as he continued through the match.
- Release Date: Feb 11, 2002 (US)
- ESRB: TTitles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older.
- Release Date: 1995 (US)
- ESRB: K-A
- Release Date: December 1994 (US)
- Release Date: 1994 (US)
- ESRB: K-A
- Release Date: November 1994 (US)
- ESRB: K-A