Ever heard of Ohio Valley Wrestling? As most grapple-fans know, it's a sort of proving ground for the WWE - new wrestlers practice there, and old hands who've lost it a bit go back there to hone their skills.
Ohio Valley Wrestling matches are still good - usually much better than the stuff you'll see in rival federations - but they just aren't as good as the real WWE.
And that's a bit what Day of Reckoning 2's like. Its place in the release schedule makes it a sort of testing ground for ideas that Yuke's are thinking of using in the next Smackdown.
So it's here that you'll first see ideas like the stamina bar and varied submissions, as well as several grapplers unavailable anywhere else.
The momentum system's still present, reflecting the ebb and flow of matches better than Smackdown's current system. Although, again, we're expecting the PS2 game to rectify this in the upcoming 2006 edition.
Unfortunately, in other areas, it's yet to catch up, lacking the variety and precision that Smackdown fans take as standard.
The controls are muddier, with the 'taunt then chase them' Special system proving especially frustrating against human opponents. The Create-a-Wrestler mode isn't as good.
The Story mode is interesting, but totally linear. There isn't the same variety of moves with a ladder or a table. And Joy Giovanni still isn't in it.
If you've just got a Gamecube and you're hankering for some spankering (and, um, quality chain-wrestling, natch) - this is your only option. But if you're after a decent beat-'em-up or you've got a PS2, you're better catered for elsewhere.
WWE Day of Reckoning 2 will be out for Gamecube on 9 September