Gaming Flashback: WWE SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role
Going back to older wrestling games is always a hit or miss prospect. Much like any other sports title, controls can be clunky and the further back you go the more cloudy the presentation tends to become. Today's topic of Gaming Flashback is no exception, as we look at WWE SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role.
The Playstation had seen its fair share of WWE games by the time the second entry in the long running WWF SmackDown! series was released in the fall of 2000. The original WWE SmackDown! was revolutionary thanks to its introduction of season mode, which allowed players to guide a WWE Superstar through their career mode. This mode was highly criticized though, due to its difficulty and inability to train their fighter or forge alliances outside of the pre-season. Thankfully Yuke's saw the error of their ways and corrected the problem in the sequel.
SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role would further enhance the wrestling genre by giving it a feature that, by today's standards, seems like an afterthought; Create-A-Superstar. This mode may sound like something that should have been included in the first game, but its addition would help to shape the SmackDown series into what it is today. This was also the first game to allow you to create a taunt, which helped add a little bit of authenticity to your created superstar.
Despite these additions, which were great fifteen years ago, Know Your Role hasn't exactly aged the best. The menus are easy enough to navigate and the season mode is still a lot of fun, thanks to random events and stories that can see you start new alliances, gain new rivals, and even win WWE gold as you progress through your career. Other additions to career mode like game showing certain workers arriving in the arena during shows goes a long way to add to the authenticity of the production, but long loading times often cause frustration as you wait for the game to progress to the next segment.
This brings us to the wrestling. The entrances look fine for this era, but the blocky models and jerky animations tend to remind you its simply a video game more than help immerse you in the experience. The in-ring action is also fairly slow and many moves seem "off" when compared to their real life counterparts. Once again, the action is great for its time and is far better than anything else available on the Playstation, but they have been outdone by the later games in the SmackDown! Series.
It's hard for me to knock this game as I still love it even to this day, but looking at it without my nostalgia goggles on shows me just how dated it has become. The game may feature one of the best rosters in WWE history, but the slow gameplay, horribly long loading times, and dated presentation help bring it down quite a bit. Know Your Role may be one of the best wrestling games on the original Playstation, but if you're looking to play a wrestling game from this era, I think you'd be better off sticking with the Nintendo 64 outings.