The WWF’s popularity has definitely been waning in the last couple of years, with tired story lines, overly aggressive matches that seem more Hollywood than hardcore, and the rise of the UFC, which although brutally realistic, is still not the mega-corporation that the WWF has become. Still, if you’re the kind of fan that buys Mick Foley’s books, or you still collect WWF Action figures, then Just Bring It is probably just what you’ve been waiting for – it’s obvious you don’t expect much out of your games.
Just Wing It
The action isn’t stifled much by the graphics, which are decent PS2-worthy 3D models, but it’s obvious some wrestlers got better care than others. There’s still a lot of blocky polygons, with square-muscled wrestlers and expressionless faces. Where the care was remiss on the detail, it was put into the style and presentation – watching the finishing moves from different angles is exciting and makes the spotty graphics more bearable. There’s also small details that don’t look right in the game, like the way the crowd parts like paper cutouts when the wrestlers jump in, or the way the hair on most of the wrestlers is flat and lifeless.
The sound is just bad all around. Some minor techno music at the title screen leads into full-blown intros (including video) for most of the wrestlers – but then it takes a turn for the worse. The commentary just doesn’t make sense. Michael Cole and Tazz sound like they’ve done one too many matches – they often shout incomprehensible nonsense that has nothing to do with the match your on – and they do it loudly, as if proud of the fact that they don’t know what’s going on. There are huge variances in the sound as well – they’ll talk normally, then shout out phrases to link their thoughts together. It’s as if Rainman was doing the color commentary for the match.
It’s Been Brought
The other factor hampering this entry into the wrestling hall of fame are the controls. Like Know Your Role, the game is based on high-flying, fast moves – lots of grapples, lots of showy suplexes and stunners and reversals – and finally a special move. Close attention needs to be paid to individual finishing moves, because certain conditions have to be met to perform them. In almost every move, the opponent needs to be groggy, which is extremely hard to do. We found a couple of moves on accident, by watching other wrestlers, that actually instantly make opponents groggy, but for the most part, it’s a trying experience. Once groggy, you can perform the special, and usually the pin follows, but getting to that point is sometimes more frustrating than it needs to be.
But if you have the patience, then the game has a lot more in store for you, including 70 different match types (including Cage/Hell in the Cell, Ladder, and Table matches), six-man tag, Royal Rumble (with little slow-down), Hardcore, and King of the Ring matches, along with an extensive create-a-wrestler mode and authentic entrances and wrestling styles. There’s also a story mode which is useless (but not as bad as the Know Your Roles useless story mode), since most of the fun involves playing against a friend. Just Bring It may satisfy the hardcore wrestling fans, but it leaves the rest of us out in the parking lot.