So I bought this (and the original) recently and after playing it a good while, I figured I'd review it for people who either were unaware it existed or were wanting to read an in depth review of it.
First off, the game is an update of an update. The original TV Pro Wrestling was sold in the 70s and 80s and was the creation of a wrestler by the name of Jeff "Bruiser" Costa. The story goes that a few years back, he asked Jeff Downey (creator of the Ultra Quick Wrestling and oddly similar Vintage Pro Wrestling games) to update the game and in 2006, he did. Downey released his first version of TV Pro Wrestling in 2006 complete with 2006 yearbooks for RAW, ECW, SmackDown and iMPACT! as well as the AWA, Georgia and the Indianapolis Territory. He also went back and released an expansion from TV Pro Wrestling 2 for the first game.
Several fans gave input on what they thought could have been done better and Downey decided to upgrade his upgrade in every way, shape and form to create a truly great pro wrestling game in TV Pro Wrestling 2: Presented in Color.
First off, the presentation of the game lacks. As MT and I have discussed, this game was clearly designed with the Strat-o-Matic mindset that substance outweighs flash and while that's certainly a good mindset, it lacks when compared to Legends of Wrestling where you get a nice big picture of the wrestler. This doesn't really hinder the game as I've played some ugly ass games, but it might be off putting to someone used to Filsinger's fantastic presentation.
The roster is excellent. Much like Strat, Downey uses real life wrestlers (without permission) and hides the sets behind "Monday Night" and "Thursday Night". For TV Pro 2, MT and I have the 1st and 3rd expansions as well as the Thursday Night expansion. The wrestlers, largely, are statted well but in the Thursday Night set there's a bit of a dartboard scenario with the pin ratings.
The gameplay is what we're really here for, however. To my mind, this is one of the best games on the market. Each guy has one or two styles and a corresponding chart for that style. Everyone is rated with PIN and SUB ratings, as well as a modifier for the dice roll to determine who's on offense, to even a cut rating. Yes, there's an actual system for blood in this game as opposed to "oh well if there's this much damage the guy is bleeding". Matches can end via ref stoppage due to blood, too. There's a great Endurance system that directly impacts the PIN/SUB ratings.
There's referees in the game. Some are slated more towards heels than faces, and vice versa. Some also are impartial and don't impact the match in any real way shape or form outside of a DQ roll. This is really nice to have even if you sometimes forget they're there.
Endurance is great because each guy is rated with a number from 1 to 8. As each move happens, the wrestler targeted takes one damage. When a wrestler reaches 0 END, he has two + modifiers for PIN/SUB that are applied. When the wrestler reaches the negative value of whatever their endurance is, you add the modifiers again, if the wrestler reaches double what the negative value is, you add the modifiers again, etc.
Example, Kurt Angle has 8 END. When he reaches 0, you add +2 to his PIN and +4 to his SUB. When he reaches -8, you do this again. Again when he reaches -16 as well.
Another big thing with this game is each guy has attributes as well. Guys marked (HVY) can't be lifted by anyone other than someone who possesses (STR), (NON) marked characters are babyfaces who can use heel tactics and there's just a lot of little touches like this that help the guys play differently from one another.
The game uses three dice generally after assuming control. Two of the dice will be added together (1-6 on each dice, meaning results range from 11 to 66), while one dice will be used to see if the wrestler executes a high spot on a roll of 6. The High Spot charts are great because there's one you use normally and then one you use when the target character has reached 0 or lower on their endurance, meaning it'll be easier to end matches with your finishers.
Speaking of finishers, each wrestler card has a set of 2 PT moves. Each has a color that corresponds with a color that shows up on the style chart. When 2PT move is shown on the style chart, you check the color next to the move, and that's the move that your wrestler will use. These deduct two points from the opponent's END. If a move is in bold/italics, it's a set up move and you can directly do a finisher after hitting it.
Pins/Submissions are really good in this game. The same three dice system is used. You designate a dice to check for a rope break and on a roll of a 6, it is a rope break. If there's no break, the two dice are added together (as with the moves) and compared to the wrestler's PIN or SUB rating. If it's equal to or less than the rating, that wrestler loses. Simple stuff.
There's also things on the card like the SAVVY rating, which gives you the ability to automatically kick out or use a rope break and the FIN/CO rating which gives you a finisher counter, or even in some cases grants your opponent one!
As with the other Downey games like Ultra Quick and Vintage Pro Wrestling, there's Pre and Post Match charts as well as an In Match Event chart. Basically these are there for people who want to run feds, they help you set up storylines and they're cool for what they are. Think an expanded version of the Feud Chart from the Filsinger games.
The tag team system in the game is also really well done. There's dedicated cards for tag teams but also singles cards for the majority of the tag wrestlers in case you want to use them on their own. Tag matches work similar to singles matches, except there are tag team charts for each style as well as a Hot Tag feature. The Hot Tag is a cool addition that I don't think has worked well in any other game I've seen it used in.
For gimmick matches, the book mentions a Cage Match chart that's absent from this version of the game (the charts are in the black and white original TV Pro game), but you get a Falls Count Anywhere chart.
All in all, if you're used to the Filsinger games, you might be off put at first because of how different this is. The presentation is lacking and it's a bit unnerving not having all of one wrestler's moves on their card. However, this game is fantastic. There's a ton of depth, it's a blast to play and the roster is tremendous.
Unfortunately, matches can drag on a bit due to the 6 needed to roll on the high spot chart not coming up, but I've played several matches in this game and I think the matches tend to flow somewhat better than the Filsinger games. I played Rick Rude vs. Ultimate Warrior and got very different results using MT's Warrior bootleg for LOW vs. the official card for Rude than when I played it in this game. The match in TV Pro was far more back and forth and seemed much more like a match they would have had than the match I played in LOW.
The entry price is $17 or so if you buy one of the $10 expansions and the game parts. The rosters for each expansion are good and for the most part, accurate. Matches flow really well, the referees are cool if nothing else, the tag matches work well, this game does so much more well than it does bad. Simply put - This game is worth the money. It probably won't replace LOW for you, it certainly won't with me, but this is a damn good game that you should give a shot.