NOTE from Michel Buffa (author of the html translation of the WOTW pages and maintainer of this site): Andrew changed his mind a few days later. Read this document until the end!
The zoom-in/zoom-out is annoying and useless - a cute effect to show off the rendered backgrounds that serves only as an annoynace during the game. The bouncy jumping of the characters is also just ridiculous - it seems like I am fighting on a trampoline and really takes away from any sense of realism the designers were trying to build into the game. This, coupled with the choppy animations, produces a game that looks and in many cases plays more poorly than the worst SNES/Genesis fighters.
In short, I agree 100% with EGM's assessment. From what I read the version they had to review may have been better than the dog that finally got released.
This is too bad as I was looking forward to this title but it is to be expected that occasionally an over-hyped title is going to fall flat on its behind. What shocks me is how far some 3DO owners will go to enjoy a game just because it is a big overhyped title. If this had been released on the SNES we would all be mocking it and talking about how much better Street Fighter or Samuri Showdown on the 3DO would be.
Does look like Naughty Dog has potential though. For a first effort I suppose this isn't so bad - a larger play test base would have helped. Mr Liu clearly missed a whole freight train load of problems with this game! (sorry David but in general I don't think it is appropriate for someone on the payroll of a game company to run around hyping a title before it is released under the cover of "beta tester". Your defensiveness after the release is also a bit disturbing. If large portions of your audience dislike a game it i not the fault of the public for being stupid. One should not have to play a game for weeks to enjoy it - great games like many of the more popular arcade fighters suck you in immediately and don't let you go.
Fortunately this doesn't detract much from 3DO's momentum. There is still a ton of awesome stuff coming out before Christmas and Road Rash is just awesome!
After dragging the SNES out of the closet and playing its various poor excuses for a fighting game I'm really vastly more impressed with what Naughty Dog has accomplished.
And even the arcade machines don't have White Zombie :)
PS: If you want to see a lousy number of frames of animation play Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter on the SNES. WOTW looks smooth as freshly blown glass after those dogs and plays a heck of a lot nicer as well.
Now if I could just figure out why I rated WOTW so poorly. (sigh) I suppose the greater sense of realism suspends one's disbelief so much more than the average fighter that one's expectations are raised to the point where everything in Way must be perfect whereas it is much easier to accept the continous and gross limitations of the cartooney SFII or graphically handicapped Mortal Kombat.
Regardless I apologize to the ND team for my low marks. I've now found the Way to some extent and think the game deserves at least a 75/100 rating.. perhaps a tad bit higher.
<Those shadows are amazing! If only the characters were mapped polygons...>