Review: WWE: Day Of Reckoning

After THQs not quite critically acclaimed game Wrestlemania XIX, fans of wrestling and wrestling games alike seemed a bit disheartened by the fact that THQ couldn't quite figure it out. I for one wondered why THQ, the company behind the almost perfect N64 game 'No Mercy' couldn't reproduce the greatness. Something seemed off, there were far too many glitches and things missing. Although I couldn't put my finger on it, as I played Wrestlemania XIX, I knew something was wrong. There of course was the obviously horrendous career mode, dubbed "REVENGE." This career mode was easily the worst idea ever implemented in a wrestling game that I could think of. When the anticipated announcement of a next wrestling game in the series, fans secretly wondered if THQ could pull it off this time. Instead of being called Wrestlemania XX, the new game was named WWE Day of Reckoning, to try to shake off the bad associations with the series. It was clear that THQ was determined to start anew and to finally create a product reminiscent of the N64 days.



Never a big problem in the series of games produced by THQ this, they were never spectacular, but they always got the job done. The wrestlers looked more or less how they should and the arenas looked fine. This time, THQ has amped it up a bit by creating brand new models for every single wrestler in the game. HHH now looks like himself, unlike the Neanderthal imposter in the previous titles. Each wrestler is made up of many more pixels this time around, and it creates a much more realistic character model. You can even see the sweat on your character and it all looks very nice. The facial animations and animations themselves are done extremely well. The wrestlers don't walk like they have a stick up their butt as much and every move looks excellent. The specials look terrific, with special camera views, angles and effects when they are performed. Again, the arenas look excellent, almost every detail is there. There are new camera angles that take effect depending on what is happening in the ring, which is a nice touch. The entrances still look amazing; if not better this time around. The pyrotechnics, lighting and animations very closely mimic the real thing, and it just pulls you into the game even more.


This category hasn't always been a huge part in wrestling, and this time around it is more or less the same. You get some bad rap tunes while you wrestle, so I would generally just turn the music off. Every wrestler finally has their actual entrance themes, and the sounds of the ring are fine. The punches, grapples, chair shots, broken tables all sound on par, and shouldn't disappoint anyone. THQ got the job done, but they didn't go above and beyond.



Last year's Wrestlemania XIX boasted the REVENGE mode, that almost everyone and their grandmother hated with a passion. Since I am included in that list, I was very happy to learn they totally revamped the single player mode. This time around, you start off as a nobody "jobber" and must make your way to the top by winning matches. You start off wrestling other nobodies until you finally make it onto Heat, and from there, either Smackdown or Raw. Picking whether you want to go to Smackdown or Raw is the only decision you get to make in the story mode and that is a little angering and boring. It is a completely linear story and even picking Smackdown or Raw changes very little. The only differences being you get to wrestle different super stars. It is fun to play through it on the first go, but after that you really won't want to do it again.

As in last years game, there is the Shop Zone where you can purchase costumes, moves, arenas and other stuff using the money you gain through the story mode. Not much to say except there is quite a bit to unlock and it keeps the game alive having you want to get the money for that accessory that you absolutely must have.

Also included is the usual tutorial mode, where you can learn how to perform all the moves in the game. It helps for new people to the series, but it also provides you with a bit of money if you complete them.


While the gameplay itself is very similar to the two previous installments, I don't really feel that is a bad thing. They sped up the pace a little bit this time around, so the action is more intense. Just like the previous games, there are both the light and strong grapples, and the punch combinations. You still press A+B to go into your special state, and from there you can perform a special move. Reversals are still specific to either grapple or punch, so you press R to reverse a punch and L to reverse a grapple, or L+R to reverse a special move.


One thing added is if your wrestler is a small guy and they don't have a lot of strength, they can't pick up the larger wrestlers such as the big show. When you go to do a grapple that requires you to pick up the other wrestler, and you aren't quite strong enough, a bar will show up on the side of the screen. You must then tap A as fast as you can to try to get the bar to the top. If you are successful, then your wrestler will be able to pick the other up. Also added is the Momentum Shift, which happens when any wrestler gets down into Danger (when you get beat up a lot). When this happens, a little Momentum Shift icon will appear above your name, and then you have to get up and press A+B on an opponent to perform it. If successful, your Danger status will be transferred to the other wrestler and you will gain whatever status he had. They've also added a few unlockable "Legends" such as Bret Hart.

There are also a few tweaks here and there, weapons do more damage, but also break more quickly. You can now have more ladders in a Ladder Match, and the ladders also can be tipped over. Wrestlers can fall outside the ring from the tops of ladders, and you can also jump into and out of the ring from ladders. Special moves can also be performed from the top of ladders now.

The same sort of matches are present in this game: Single, Tag Team, 3 way, 4 way, Royal Rumble, Handicapped, Hell in the Cell, Ladder, Iron Man, Bra and Panties, TLC, Tables, and Hardcore. However, back stage areas are still non existent, which is a little discouraging.


Finally is the create-a-wrestler mode, and it is even more robust than last year. You can make pretty much anyone you could ever want because you can change basically anything. Then you can go to the upgraded entrance creator and personalize them even more. Since there is so much to get into, and I could write a review on just this mode, I'll just say that it's amazing and I don't have any complaints.

Glitches are still present in the game, and you can still knock everyone over with a single move, but it is not as unforgiving as the previous games. The collision of wrestlers into things around them has been fixed a little bit. Ladders and other items still do slide around, and it is still just as frustrating, but not as bad. Overall, the gameplay is better than the previous games, and that makes it an awesome experience. The single player may be a little bland, but the multiplayer will keep you going for hours.



If you have played either of THQs last two titles for Gamecube, you will be able to pick this up and play right off the bat, since the controls are almost completely unchanged. If you haven't played it before you will still pick it up very quickly, but it takes quite a while to perfect the timing or reversals to truly become an expert.


This game can last forever just as long as you can recruit some friends. With friends around, the multiplayer mode of this game will last you until the next game comes out. The one player mode will last you until you beat it, then you might force yourself through it again to get more money to unlock more stuff at the Shop Zone, but one play through was plenty enough for me.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Absurdly addictive multiplayer mode.

  • Gameplay5
  • Playability4
  • Visuals5
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Tons to unlock


Lackluster 1 player
Music selection
Still a lil glitchy

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