Total Extreme Wrestling 2007 Review (PC)
Total Extreme Wrestling 2007 is one of the few text-based wrestling simulators available on the market, so you wouldn’t blame Grey Dog Software if they rested on their laurels. Some companies (I’m looking at you, EA) are slow to add new features and improvements to a game with no competition. Its impressive to see the number of changes to the new version of this series, but some of things that were changed I wished stayed the same.
The basic premise of Total Extreme Wrestling 2007 and most text-based simulators is that you are the owner and/or head booker of a wrestling company. As head booker, you control the staff, roster, announcers, schedule, production, merchandising and can sign wrestlers to development contracts. The user can choose to start his career in a made-up universe or can download one of the many user-created mods that lets you book a real-life company. The mods really open up the game, because many wrestling fans will enjoy being able to book WCW during the NWO era or the WWF during the Hogan years.
Before I get into the nuts and bolts of the game, let me make one thing clear. This game is not for the casual wrestling fan. If you find the GM mode in Smackdown vs. Raw too overwhelming, stay away from this game. This game is designed for the “smarts” who dream of running a wrestling promotion. The guys who know how many years Edge’s contract is with the WWE and have seen the newest wrestler TNA signed from one of the independents. Total Extreme Wrestling 2007 is deep and involved, and it's not something that can be easily picked up and played by novices.
With that said, Total Extreme Wrestling 2007 is a decent game if you are willing to commit the time to it. The new features included help add to this game’s appeal. One of the best additions to this game is the inclusion of user characters. User characters allow you to take part in shows as a wrestler or announcer. In previous versions of this game, you were restricted to playing the role of an TV booker or matchmaker. Now, you can run storylines that involve your character, and this helps immerse you in the wrestling universe you created.
Another new feature is the Create A Product mode. In this mode, you can specify the type of style that you want your company to have. If you prefer a mainstream approach like the WWE, with shorter matches, or longer classic wrestling-type matches as booker and/or owner, you make every decision regarding your promotion. Total Extreme Wrestling 2007 still features a player editor that helps you create your own wrestling databases and changes to current wrestlers in your promotion.
Like most text-based games, newcomers to this series may become a little frustrated navigating through the various menus. At times, Total Extreme Wrestling 2007 can be too menu-heavy, and I'm still not satisfied with the menu layout. Not only must you deal with a vertical menu that includes your email and tasks, but there is a horizontal menu that helps you navigate from section to section. I am a veteran when it comes to text-based sports games, and even I found myself confused at times when trying to advance in the game. For example, I tried to set up a storyline that included a eight-man tournament to determine who would get a shot at the world championship. Since I just became booker in my promotion, I wasn’t completely familiar with who my top wrestlers were. I found myself having to write down on a separate piece of paper who I wanted to be in the tournament, because the menu does not allow you to view your talents' attributes while in the storyline menu. Its little things like this that makes the game frustrating at times. This issue will not be a huge problem for people who use a real-world database, but it doesn’t change the fact that the menus need work.
Another suggestion for future versions of Total Extreme Wrestling would be to give users an option to play a streamlined version of the game. Most fans, including myself, just want to book matches, sign wrestlers and create storylines. I could care less about signing TV deals, the quality of my promotion’s video tapes or about an obscure wrestling company in Japan. The biggest problem facing this series and this version of the game is that it doesn’t have a pick-up-and-play capability, and that can be frustrating for most people interested in this game.
I can only suggest Total Extreme Wrestling 2007 for the hardest of hardcore wrestling fans. I consider myself a pretty big wrestling fan, and at times I found this game to be confusing, cumbersome and frustrating. However, if you are willing to work through the clunky menus and handling of minutiae, you could find yourself immersed in this game.