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WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role on PlayStation
WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role was released in November of 2000 for the Sony PlayStation. It is the direct sequel to WWF SmackDown!, which came out eight months earlier.
Once you head into the main menu, you are given a variety of options, like Exhibition, where you and up to three other friends can choose a plethora of match types, ranging from singles to the Royal Rumble to Hell in a Cell. There's plenty of match types in the game so you can never get bored.
Then we have the season mode in the game, which is fairly good. Anything that happens in it is completely random, and you can go on for as many years as you like. You can also select whoever you want to be your allies, choose whether to insert created wrestlers or not, or just simply choose the wrestler you like the most. But, there is a major downside. For every show you do, there's an entire list of all the matches for that night. If you want to skip the match, you would have to select "skip" and you end up seeing these battling meters to determine the winner of the match. It's a chore to get through every time if you want to get to your match. The season mode would have been great if not for the tedium of going through the entire match card.
We also have Create-A-Wrestler, where you can make alternate attires for the existing wrestlers, or make your own superstar, detail by detail. There is a ton of depth in the Create-A-Wrestler. You can choose a myriad of clothing options, and you can also choose what details you want to go on your wrestler's body. You can even create a taunt, which can lead up to pretty hilarious results. You can even choose what entrance animations you want. This was a pretty deep Create-A-Wrestler for its time, and it still is.
Then we have Create-A-Stable, which means you can create whichever team you like. For example, if you wanted to create the Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker and Kane), you can go to this mode. If you wanted to create D-Generation X with Shawn Michaels and Triple H, you can.
In addition to those, we also have Create-A-PPV, or Pay Per View. You can put any wrestler you want on the card, but the wrestlers can only be on one match on the card. Even though it wasn't the first game to do it, it's still a nice addition to the game.
Now, onto the game play, the heart of the game. Compared to other wrestling games at the time such as WWF No Mercy, the SmackDown! games were very arcadey and fast-paced, which is not a bad thing. You use X to do strikes, circle for grapples, triangle for running, and square for reversals. Also, you use R1 to leave/enter the ring or pick up weapons. With a combination of the D-Pad and X, you can do different strikes, and with a combination of the D-Pad and circle, you can do different moves to build up the SmackDown meter, which means you can store a finisher, up to five max. With a press of L1 once your opponent is groggy, you can do your finisher and go for the three-count. There's a few flaws within the game play, like no-selling. For example, if you do a slam on your opponent, they can get right back up. In the Casket match, you can hit your opponent with the casket, but it won't do much damage. Another flaw is that there is no true submission system, so the chances of you or your opponent tapping out is random. Fortunately, that was rectified in WWE SmackDown!: Here Comes the Pain. Overall, the gameplay is very fast, fun, and easy to pick up.
The graphics of WWF SmackDown! 2 look pretty great on the PlayStation. Each wrestler looks like themselves and they are pretty detailed. For example, The Rock actually has the People's Eyebrow and he even takes off his elbow pad for the People's Elbow. The animation in the game is pretty great, and the wrestlers can sell the moves pretty well. The entrances in the game are decent. For some reason, the wrestlers come down to the ring, but with their titantron in the background. Why they used such a style is beyond me.
The biggest drawback to WWF SmackDown! 2 is the loading times. As soon as you start the game, there's a loading screen. It's tolerable for the most part, but it is at its worst when you're doing the Royal Rumble or the Anywhere Fall match. For the rumble, the game has to take a brief loading time to put in a new participant after another one has been eliminated. For the Anywhere Fall match, the game has to load every time you go to a different arena. It can be a real pain. Luckily, your favorite wrestlers are featured on the loading screens in the game.
Despite the flaws, WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role is an excellent wrestling game, not only for those that want to play the classics, but for those that want to experience one of the PlayStation's best wrestling games. I highly recommend it.