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WWE Day of Reckoning 2

Enhanced play mechanics, a deeper story mode, updated graphics and more wrestlers. Hands-on impressions, plus first screenshots and movies.

by Matt Casamassina

March 31, 2005 - Last year, publishing giant THQ made some changes. The company moved the WWE WrestleMania franchise, which had for years remained exclusive to Nintendo's console, to Microsoft's Xbox. GameCube owners barely had a chance to react before news hit that a fresh take on the entertainment of wrestling would debut on Nintendo's system in the other's place. WWE Day of Reckoning was born. The title, developed by Japanese studio Yuke's, responsible for all of GameCube's WrestleMania efforts, explored the medium from a new angle. In the title's simple, but enjoyable story mode, players created a wrestler from scratch and started at the very bottom, taking part in throwaway matches against no-talents, and gradually working their way through the ranks in the WWE, into the spotlight, and ultimately to the top of the food chain to become champion.

Day of Reckoning was well received by fans and critics alike, due in large to the title's pick-up-and-play control mechanics, a decent selection of superstars, divas, and venues, a fun story mode, and a deep create-a-wrestler feature. Without doubt, the fundamentals were in place, and they worked. But the title was not without shortcomings. As intuitive as the game's grappling system proved to be, the control configuration lent itself to button mashing, which turned some hardcore wrestling game fans off. Meanwhile, the story mode was positively shallow compared to some other wrestling projects on the market. And sure enough, some critics complained that the title looked less realistic than its counterparts.

The 20-something team at Yuke's and the creative gurus at THQ combed the message boards, compiled a list of what worked and what didn't, and ran with it. The result is WWE Day of Reckoning 2, the aptly named sequel to last year's game. DOR 2, which has been in development ever since the first shipped, is a true sequel in every sense. It doesn't dismiss the mechanics of its predecessor for all new ones, but rather builds on top of them, enabling a bigger, meatier product on all fronts.

If all goes as planned, Day of Reckoning will be, to use associate creative manager Matt Greig's own words, "the definitive GameCube product for WWE." He explains further: "What we mean by that is that it's a superset of everything that came before on GameCube. We're not taking anything out. We're using Day of Reckoning as a starting point and building in features from previous games, and adding new stuff that we prototyped and realized would work well. We're looking at it as a collector's edition. Obviously, GameCube is nearing the end of its lifecycle so we're trying to put something out there that will stand the test of time for several years to come."

No easy goal, to be sure, but the team at Yuke's believes it has the right priorities in mind and that it knows where to start, which, as it turns out, is exactly where the last game left off. By the time gamers bested the original title, they had advanced from the wrestling slums to superstardom. Day of Reckoning 2 continues from exactly that point. It's in the same universe. And it acknowledges all of the events that transpired in the first title. "It's not a sequel just in name," explains Greig. "It continues on with the story. There are actual ties in content. You're already a champion. You won the storyline in the first game, so you're starting out as a champion. This gives us a lot of opportunities to explore how we can advance the story when players are already starting as a successful WWE character. And this is actually something we haven't done before."

The Full Story

Aiding that goal is the first of what THQ identified as three major priorities when it sat down to develop this sequel: a more ambitious story mode. For the first time ever, the team enlisted the help of Smackdown's writers in order to craft a tale that would not only prove compelling enough to grab players from beginning to end, but also display a fair amount of foresight. "That is not something that previous games have the access to," explains Greig. "But [the Smackdown writers] are getting more and more involved with the authenticity, and also with being current -- not necessarily what's happening now, but what will be happening six months from now." The idea is to present a storyline that will be up-to-date and relevant when the game ships, which is a rare commodity for the wrestling genre.

In contrast to a copy and paste of the usual wrestling theme, which is simply to win the belt, THQ wanted to do something different with the storyline in Day of Reckoning 2, according to Greig. Obviously, belts will play a part in the tale. That's the way these games have always been set up, and it's what fans want. But Yuke's will also present players sub-stories with branching pathways. "There are other themes that we haven't explored. There are the storylines where there are the two superstars, the heel and the face, who are arguing over the diva. There are the storylines where one superstar has betrayed his former friend and one of them has become a heel and the other a face," says Greig. "It's not all about getting the belt. The belt may be in the background. There may be a belt contest throughout the story, but that isn't the focus. Players are actually focusing on interpersonal relationships between the superstars."

There will be certain points where the storyline will offer branching pathways based on the decisions of players. For instance, wrestlers may be asked to turn heel for a number of matches. Branches will be organized based on choices made both in the interface and during gameplay.

Sadly, there will not be a we

Edited by veg
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This will be my second gamecube wrestling game since WM X8 and lets hope I donn't get dissapointed. If its better then smackdwon vs. RAW then I'll be happy, and the roster better not include Hardcore Holly....a waste of space. Same for Mark Jindrak. Instead add La Resistance, maven, Paul London....you know wrestlers that actually appear and the fans sort of care about.

By the way I added wrestlers who have been shunned time and time again, not wrestlers who I know will be in the game( Triple H, Benoit, Undertaker, ect.)

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Guest Grapehead

Laice, you have played the first game right?

Anyways, this should be good, hopefully they add a lot more wrestlers, and perhaps give us something new to do with the non-created wrestlers(as I do quite like the story mode of playing only as created characters). I liked the create a championship they had with SD vs RAW, but I'd like it tons more if I could defend my title offline, and have a specific guy on my game hold it, instead of whomever I choose to fight the match as, that would be something they should go for in DoR.

Reading that, however, I get the chilling feeling that the story mode will be much like SD vs RAW, since they give you a choice of going heel or face(which you have the choice of going clean and dirty), you can argue over Divas... agh, I certainly hope it's not like that at all. The thing they need to give me is more things to do besides story mode, where in SD vs RAW you can do challenges, and so on, but I mean with the first DoR you beat the story mode... or you fight exhibition matches with Triple H.

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Yes, I played the first game which was great, but I didn't see any reason to get when my next door neighbor who happens to be my best friend has it(He sold his gamecube and all his games later though). Day of Reckoning was a vast improvement over the craptastic Wrestlmania series and I'm optimistic about the sequal.

Edited by Laice_
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I really just wish THQ would stop fucking around. One game every year, multi-platform. I don't see why they keep screwing the consumer like this. That way, developers can focus all their efforts on one game and making it the best game possible. And don't tell me they'd lose money because it certainly isn't hurting the Madden franchise. If they made a good wrestling game for all platforms, I think people would be more eager to buy it than three wrestling games that range from atrocious to mediocre. And stop cutting and pasting features every year too, people buy other sports games with the same features and minor improvements every year for pretty much a roster update. Agh this shit pisses me off to no end.

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Guest Grapehead

If the CAW from SD vs RAW was in DoR, but DoR retained the sweet entrance editor, that would be some sweet shit right there... Actually... DoR's CAW might've been better... shit now I gotta go rent it.

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DoR's CAW was in my opinion, the best WWE CAW. I didn't play SvsR but every other Smackdown game had most clothing items as textures and your CAW looked shit compared to the in game roster. DoR on the other hand had your CAW looking equally as detailed as the normal roster.

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I'll tell you what, while I was never interested in DoR due to my love/hate relationship with THQ, they do seem genuinely interested in making DoR2 a decent game. The new submission system sounds fantastic, good legends though since we're finally getting Hogan and Warrior. But Legends don't make a game, gameplay does. Let's hope that tweaking the submission system isn't the only thing they're fixing, which sounds like it isn't. You tire now and have to regain your stamina through restholds, so I can finally actually feel like I AM Randy Orton. Still, I think it's a great idea, sounds a lot like Fire Pro. Season mode sounds shitty though.

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Guest Grapehead

I'm hoping the season mode will come out better than it sounds, cause it does sound shitty so far, but it's very early to say. Also I'd like to point out that Randy Orton's stats will probably not accurately portray his true in ring ability, cause we all know Big Show isn't as fast as they say he is in SD vs RAW.

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  • 2 months later...

Here's the full roster minus Legends from IGN:

* Randy Orton

* Triple H

* Batista

* Chris Jericho

* Christian

* Edge

* Chris Benoit

* Shawn Michaels

* Shelton Benjamin

* Eugene

* Kane

* Tajiri

* Ric Flair

* William Regal

* Hurricane

* Muhammad Hassan

* Kurt Angle

* John Cena

* Undertaker


* Carlito Caribbean Cool

* Booker T

* Rey Mysterio

* Rob van Dam

* Eddie Guerrero

* Big Show

* Heidenreich

* Rene Dupree

* Kenzo Suzuki

* Chavo Guerrero

* Orlando Jordan

* Trish Stratus

* Stacy Kiebler

* Torrie Wilson

* Gene Snitsky

* Maven

* Chris Masters

* Paul London

* Christy Hemme

Damn near perfect roster line up, La Resistance and the Bashams just can't catch a break for shit though. And why no Rosey?! They have the Hurricane, they can squeeze in Chris Masters, but no Rosey?! Oh well, at least we got London. The game looks beautiful, I just hope THQ can prove me wrong. I haven't played a WWE game on the Cube since the atrocious WMX8, I'm curious if they can do enough with this game to make me throw down $50.

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That is a fucking awesome roster (pitty about the Bashams not being on, and what do La Resistance have to do to get included in video games?) they actually seem to have made an effort with the roster there, which is more than can be said for most WWE games, that seem to have had their roster picked out of a hat at random.

The last game was a damn good game, and the roster was possibly its weakest aspect, so this should be very good.

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This game looks gold, I always buy the GC games and it (along with a bit at X-Mas) is the only time I bring my Game Cube out of the closet to play.

I'm looking forward to it, i'm guessing a summer release as always?

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Charlie Haas and Hardcore Holly aren't included either. I never got DoR for fear it would suck as much as the WM games, despite the great-sounding features. I may give this one a go, I haven't bought a GC game in over a year. Maybe even two years. :mellow:

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Great new videos. Of course it's still in early production, so you have things like Hassan as being announced from LA as Hardcore Holly :s, and Carlito from Toronto etc. There's a lot of mistakes but that doesn't change the fact that the entrances at least, and the new characters look awesome.

I don't have a GC, but this definitely makes me look forward to SDvsRAW2 as last year they had the same characters pretty much.

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Guest Iron Mary

Shit yeah, that roster rules. Plus, the legends are Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Mankind, Steve Austin and The Rock (not 100% sure yet).

Sweet as, we've got Hassan, Carlito, Heidenreich, Snitsky and Masters to all job out to the almighty male model Paul London :P

This roster is the best I've seen for a wrestling game. I'm so confident that this game will bring the awesome because DoR was a great game itself. Do yourself a favour Kraig and at least hire it for a night (if you haven't done already).

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The release is 8/29 I think...good to see it's in the summer still.

Here is the preview I found at Gamespot


LOS ANGELES--The first Day of Reckoning game was, simply put, the best WWE wrestling game GameCube owners had ever seen, combining an impressive visual style with a familiar control system, as well as including new touches, such as a weight system and momentum shifts. THQ is back, less than a year later, to announce the sequel, the aptly titled Day of Reckoning 2, which is also being developed by Japanese grappling-game specialists, Yuke's. The game was unveiled at a press conference held today in Los Angeles, which let us get our hands on a work-in-progress demo version of the game.

THQ and Yukes' follow-up to Day of Reckoning is a stunner.

While Day of Reckoning 2 is the second game in the series, it isn't just a sequel in name only. This is most obvious in the game's story mode, which acts as a direct continuation of some of the storylines found in the first DoR game. As the producers put it, both DoR and DoR2 take place in the same "universe," and, as such, some of the storyline threads that were woven in the first game will definitely have an effect on the action this go-around.

One interesting thing to note about DoR2's story mode is that unlike other titles, you won't be working your way up from the bottom. In DoR2, you start out with championship gold around your waist and will be forced to not only defend your title from all comers, but also safely navigate your champ through the finicky backstage relationships that make WWE programming so unique. Rivalries will be a centerpiece in DoR2's storylines, but other motivations will also creep into the drama, like greed, betrayal, revenge, and even lust; all these soap opera-like elements will find their ways into the game.

Graphically, DoR2 is looking sharp so far, with WWE superstar models that are more detailed than ever. By bumping up the amount of polygons per wrestler, the Yuke's crew has been able to build player models that move away from the slightly cartoony look of the grapplers in the previous game and move toward a more chiseled and realistic appearance. Many of these new polygons have been focused directly into the faces of the player models. No longer do ring entrance movies find a WWE superstar with a pat grimace as he lumbers down the entrance ramp. Player expressions are more varied to feature a wider palette of emotions required by the game's more complex storyline. During the Booker T introduction, for example, Booker talks to himself for practically his entire walk toward the ring, pausing only briefly to execute his trademark "look at the hand, shake the head" routine.

As far as other improvements go, Day of Reckoning 2's crowds will eventually be fully 3D (thought they weren't so in the version of the game we played), and the camera angles during dramatic slams and aerial maneuvers sport a nice upgrade. Luckily, this graphical detail doesn't seem to come at the expense of in-game speed. However, during our demo time with the game, only one-on-one matches between Kane and Booker T were playable. The in-ring animations were quick and felt true to the overall quick pace of the sport. Whether this has anything to do with the fact that all animations were 100 percent motion-captured this time around isn't clear, but the fact remains that the game runs at a speedy clip, and the action is always lively.

The gorgeous visuals are complemented by rock-solid gameplay that refines what was seen in the original Day of Reckoning.

Of course, storylines and graphics can only take a wrestling game so far...especially if the actual gameplay isn't worth a darn. Luckily, the quick pace of the game is bolstered by a responsive control system that has a few tweaks thrown in for good measure. Of primary importance are the stamina system and the new submission controls, which often work hand in hand with each other. First of all, in addition to the standard health and location-specific damage indicator, your grappler will also have a stamina meter associated with him or her. As you might expect, this meter will have an overarching effect on how your wrestler performs in the ring, which will, in turn, affect the choices you make. The more tired your wrestler gets, the less effective he'll be at pulling off moves, counters, or even getting around the ring. Indeed, in one demo match, we intentionally wore down our Booker T character to minimum stamina and then watched as he slowly lumbered around the ring, shoulders slumped and chest heaving from exhaustion. At times, he was completely unresponsive to controller input.

When it comes to submissions, you'll have four different types to perform on your opponent, and all are executed with the C stick on the GameCube controller. Push the stick up to pull off a power submission move, which is one that inflicts maximum damage on your opponent; push the stick down for a rest hold, which lets you keep your opponent pinned to the mat but also lets you regain some much-needed stamina late in a match. To pull of a humiliation submission, press the C stick left; here you're looking to make your opponent look silly in front of the crowd by, in effect, reducing his ability to gain back momentum. Finally, the converse type of hold--the show-off--is designed to pump up the crowd in your favor by building up your momentum and allowing you to pull off special moves later in the match.

Although all the details on the game's roster are being kept quiet, we can confirm that Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, and Mankind will be on hand.

In practice, the onscreen interface for these four submission types is still undergoing some tweaking, and for good reason. It's not always clear, for example, what you need to do to break out of a submission...or if you can do so at all. Still, these two gameplay additions will have strategic consequences on your approach to the game. Do you try to beat your opponent early with high-risk stamina-draining moves (while risking a possible early burnout)? Do you conserve your strength, hoping your rival takes himself out of the game? These are the kinds of choices the developers at Yuke's are trying to ingrain into the gameplay. With a few more months to go before release, there are still some adjustments to be made. But what we've seen so far is promising.

While only the singles match style was available for play in our demo, a quick peek at the game menus revealed the kinds of match types (tag team, bra and panties, and hell in a cell, among others) and WWE venues (RAW, SmackDown!, and a host of pay-per-view events) you've come to expect from a WWE game. While there's still no definitive word on the roster yet, we have confirmed that new WWE Legends will be playable in the game, including Hulk Hogan, Mankind, and the Ultimate Warrior.

Day of Reckoning 2 finds itself in the enviable and difficult position of following up a well-received GameCube title that was a huge hit for many wrestling gamers. The game's attractive visuals, sequel-minded storyline, and gameplay features (that reward strategic thinking) all add up to a game that looks to be progressing on solid ground. Day of Reckoning 2 is currently scheduled for a late summer or early fall release. We'll have more coverage on the game in the coming months.

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So I picked up Day of Reckoning 1 today for five bucks, and I gotta say I'm pretty impressed. The CAW is great (although I HATE having to take CAWs through a whole fucking story mode to build stats), and the gameplay is the best I've seen in a wrestling game since No Mercy. THQ/Yukes need to seriously consider using the gameplay from DoR for the Smackdown games. In Smackdown you can't even do apron moves and suicide dives are too difficult despite six games in the series now. DoR still has its flaws, the collision detection sucks and it moves a bit too slow for my liking, but it's definitely better than Smackdown vs. RAW which came out almost six months later.

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I agree. Collision detection is iffy, and sometimes, It does dis-intergrate into mindless button bashing, but I was always bored with Smackdown games, and haven't gone near one since I got this about two months ago. It is a very good game, and easily the best wrestler on the current consoles IMO.

I can get over the season mode, so my two other gripes were with the roster (which seems sorted) and with the lack of match types (remains to be seen). If they correct these, and add to the darn good gameplay, it should be a winner. Even better if they add some other gameplay options in there, and add to the CAW.

Looking very good.

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