Sunday, July 11, 2010

129 - Grumble, Grumble #6 - Irate Gamer Neo's WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 Revuew

UPDATE, September 24, 2011: Added some additional notes and comments regarding certain bits in the videos. I'm very tempted to do a video commentary on this "review" of SvR2008, if only because nobody has touched this one yet... for some odd reason. We'll see, though.

UPDATE, October 5th, 2012: Through some perverse sense of fate, I somehow got my hands on a copy of SvR2008 for the Wii... I guess I'll have to update this thing some day...

Today, we'll be looking at Irate Gamer Neo's "review" of WWE Smackdown Vs. RAW 2008. This is technically the first episode of Chris Bores' Irate Gamer Neo (though he has since retroactively referred to his review of the Simpsons game for PS2 as the first episode), a subseries of videos where he "reviews" video games for the modern systems. Unlike the IG series, this is less story-ridden and more on the game itself. Whether that tends to be a good thing or not depends on the viewer, but I personally find the NEO videos to be... let's just say "tolerable" than his regular offerings on YT. Then again... maybe not. So let's get on with this... after the break.

It should be noted that Bores is reviewing the Wii version of SvR2008; essentially a substantially scaled-down version of the other console versions with fewer match types and features. Yes, even the PSP and PS2 version have more features than what's on the Wii. Now I'm assuming the limited match types is due to the fact that the developers wanted to focus on the motion controls first, but regardless, SvR2008 on the Wii was poorly received. While they did try to add more meat to the 2009 iteration on the Wii version, THQ eventually abandoned the motion-control set-up in favor of a more traditional control set-up with SvR2010; a set-up that they stuck with in SvR2011.

So why is all this information relevant? Well, Bores is already bitching about the reduced features (I honestly can't say I blame him, but then again, I wouldn't have been surprised that the Wii version was stripped down.) and is tempted to toss it into his "game shredder", which is just a regular paper shredding machine. No clue how you're going to get that in there... not a good idea actually since it might break the machine.

In an attempt to be saavy with wrestling fans, he says "Don't think I won't do it, because I will. Oh yes, I will." I guess I'm sort of stretching it here, but it's supposed to be a clever play on former WWE/current TNA star Kurt Angle's catchphrase (when he was in WWF/WWE, it was "It's true, it's true.") But even during the time of this video's release, he hadn't used that phrase in ages. So there's outdated reference #1 right there. Let's see if we can find some more, shall we?

Bores admits that he hasn't watched wrestling in awhile and thus is pissed off that some of the talent he's familiar with are locked away. Based on the clips he added of WWF shows he attended, I'm going to assume that the last time he watched wrestling would be around 2000, during the height of the Attitude Era. So you mean to tell me, Bores, that you don't recognize Triple H or the Undertaker or Matt and Jeff Hardy or Edge or Christian or Shawn Michaels? Because they've been around forever (not so much Shawn, but still) and they're openly available. Lame.

So now he's praising the entrances and how amazing they are... and lays out some stupid note about how the wrestler intros are important elements to a wrestling game. He doesn't elaborate on why, however.

He also notes that it took THQ a long time to figure this out and comes to the conclusion that without cool wrestler intros, past wrestling games were shit. He must not have played the past several SvR games on PS2, because the entrances are similar in quality. Last time I checked, I play a wrestling game for the gameplay, not the intros. There have been wrestling games for ages without intros and they were still good. If a wrestling game had wrestler intros that were true to life, that's a bonus, but important? Nah...

And even without the cool intros, I base a wrestling game on its gameplay first and foremost. Nothing sucks more than a game you can't play properly... and nothing blows more than a wrestling game that plays nothing like a wrestling game.

Now Bores found the gameplay to be enjoyable (why?) and claims not have any issues after playing 20 hours. Based on his later NEO videos in which he complains about the constant usage of the Wii Remote motion controls as well as his admission to only play a couple hours into a game before making his review, I find that estimate to be pretty suspect. Again, he doesn't emphasize on why the gameplay is enjoyable - merely says that he hasn't found any issues and just glosses over it. Mind you, I tend to do the same thing at times with some of my reviews when I haven't noticed anything really noteworthy about a specific point of a game or whatever, but if I do notice something, I do try to point it out. Bores doesn't always (some would never) do that in his videos and oftentimes, his complaints tend to be more nitpicky than anything else.

He also compliments the loading time, which he claims to be quick. Of course, this is just a set-up for a skit in which the video pauses while a "Now Loading"  block appears... videos don't work that way, man. They call it "buffering" or something. Besides, that bit's been done to death.

One of the things that pissed Bores off is the lack of matches at your disposal. I remember rolling my eyes in disbelief when I saw the menu and the meager number of matches that were available. Mind you, I could understand the reasoning - it's the first release on the Wii and the first attempt at motion-controls in the SvR series. Maybe it was problematic at best to program additional cage matches and things of that nature, but in the end, the final product was far below what it could have been. 2009 seemed like an improvement, but 2010 did revert to a traditional wrestling game and ended up with about as many features as the PS2 version, at least. So in this regard, I can sort of sympathize with Bores somewhat, but somehow I have a feeling there's more to it than just this one screen of matches.

On a side note, SvR2008 is the last game in the series to feature Buried Alive matches.

Bores is also pissed off because the Hardcore matches aren't hardcore enough, with only a couple chairs laying around for good measure. Hey, Bores actually made a legitimate observation. According to a couple reviews I've read online, the Wii Version of SvR2008 only has chairs available as a weapon in hardcore matches, which is obviously fifty stories down from the other console versions of the same game. Even on the PS2 version, you can uncover more weapons under in the ring during a Hardcore match or the Extreme Rules match where you can brandish flaming 2x4s.

Oh look, Bores created a CAW of himself... and despite what he says about looking in a mirror, I don't even think it looks like him. I would venture to say that the CAW model of Bores that I tossed together in SvR2011 looks more like Bores than this one does, but then again, this is coming from someone who tossed together a generic orange-haired wrestler model and called Daniel Bryan Danielson, so whatever, I guess.

Anyway, all he really does here is gloss over the options, show off his models, and then complain about how you can't preview the intro sequences during the creation process. You know what? That's actually a legit point, because all the other versions allow you to preview your superstar's entrance theme before you finalize it.

He talks about Career Mode and says nothing. He talks about Divas and says nothing. I'm actually... dozing off as I watch this thing. Really, I'm falling asleep here.

Despite a few issues, Bores enjoyed the game and keeps it around. He then apologizes to his game shredder and feeds it Bad Dudes for NES... because it's not as good as the arcade version. I have to guess that this was a completely random choice he made here, because... really? Because if I had a game shredder - a concept about as insipidly stupid as the Nerdy Turd - I probably would go for a wrestling-related game that sucked major ass... like WWF Wrestlemania for the NES.

The follow-up footage - Bores shows clips from a couple WWE shows that he attended. The first clip is from a Smackdown show, where he's holding an Al Snow sign. The second is from a RAW show where he's chanting for good ol' HBK... who just so happens to be in the game he's reviewing. And he's accessible from the start... and Bores isn't familiar with him? What a bunch of she--- no, I'm not going there.

So, what's the relevance of showing this footage off? It seems rather strange that you're showing off clips of yourself attending shows from ages ago? This could have been its own little side-video or something... make a couple bucks off that.

Honestly, I've really got no opinion on this video that could be really substantial. Partly because I haven't played the Wii version he's reviewing and thus have no first-hand experience with the game - all of the above points I've made is accounted from various sources - but also because out of all the IG videos in general, this one actually doesn't do a whole lot. What passes as a review in this video is really nothing more than a overview of the game, along with some nitpicks, a needless spiel about wrestler intros, and in what some would consider a rare instance with Bores, actual legitimate observations that could be considered weaknesses in the overall package. The usual sketch humor, such as it is, is kept to a minimum. And there isn't really anything here that would offend anybody for whatever ridiculous reason they could come up with... and believe me; these people will come up with a shitload of ridiculous reasons to be offended by Bores, whether they're valid reasons or not.

So really, I can't really say a whole lot about this one... maybe I'll find a copy of the game when I can and see for myself.

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