E3 2001 Hands-onWWF SmackDown! Just Bring It

WWF SmackDown! Just Bring It was playable at E3. We had a chance to check it out, and here are our impressions.

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WWF SmackDown! Just Bring It was playable at E3, with single and tag-team exhibition matches available during the demo. Kurt Angle, Lita, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and The Undertaker were available, as were a handful of other wrestlers, each with his or her own move set and finishers. The characters we did see had photo-quality portraits and were depicted in a manner that was faithful to their current storylines and most recent images. The finishing moves were flashy, accompanied by close-ups and panning camera shots, as well as highly detailed animations.

Not having seen anything but concept art and stills before E3, we were impressed with the improvements that have been made to the character models, faces, and skin textures since SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role. The character faces were highly detailed and the body structures were impressively accurate, without much of the blockiness that permeated previous versions of the series' character models. The graphics were still being smoothed out, but if what we've seen is any indication, they should be incredible. The gameplay so far was nearly identical that of to Smackdown! 2, although the game is still in the early stages of development and many planned changes haven't been implemented yet. It was pleasing, however, to see the excellent character models duking it out at a steady clip, with no apparent slowdown.

WWF Smackdown! Just Bring It approaches the polish and presentation of the televised broadcasts by implementing a number of stunning features. In the final release, the finishing moves will be accompanied by a cut to the Titantron for a panoramic view of the move's execution. Cutscenes, run-ins, and other unscripted events will be used to great effect during the story mode, which we're told will be deeper and more involved than before.

Finally, commentary has come back to the WWF, in the form of Sunday Night Heat announcers Michael Cole and Tazz. During matches, a pop-up screen will reveal their discussions and facial expressions, which add considerably to the televised feel that the game is going for. The commentators will give you a play-by-play of the action, and of course using the announcers' table during matches is fair game. So far, what we've seen has been very impressive. We'll be sure to bring you more on WWF SmackDown! Just Bring It as it approaches completion.

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