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WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW (PlayStation 2) artwork

WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW (PlayStation 2) review

"My previously stated annoyances about this review aside, Smackdown Vs. Raw reminds us that every yearly franchise is under constant scrutiny. As Triple H told Goldberg ďItís easy to get to the top. Itís hard to stay there.Ē While producing likeable, fresh sequels annually may seem like a daunting task, THQ does it with the poise and confidence befitting a pro. "

My previously stated annoyances about this review aside, Smackdown Vs. Raw reminds us that every yearly franchise is under constant scrutiny. As Triple H told Goldberg ďItís easy to get to the top. Itís hard to stay there.Ē While producing likeable, fresh sequels annually may seem like a daunting task, THQ does it with the poise and confidence befitting a pro.

First things first, the advancements made to this game are minimal and only a few new aspects have been added. While they arenít ground breaking, they are worth mentioning - the parking lot brawl, for one. Imagine trapped in a massive circle of automobiles, caged amongst glass and steel with headlights blaring in your eyes, your only way out is to put the other guy downófor good. Okay, so I was a bit dramatic but you get the idea. Cars, trucks, limousines and semis form a temporary ring, and every single one of them can be used as a weapon. You can slam your opponent onto the windshield, smash his face through the driver side window, even kick the door closed on his leg. This is by far the most brutal match in a smackdown to date. The only downside is that this human monster truck rally ends up devouring your opponent rather quickly and the matches donít tend to last long. Still itís always fun to toss someone into a car and use their own body to violently honk the horn.

FINALLY!! Create your own pay-per-view has come backÖ. Sorry, that was bad. But it is back. One of the most intriguing things smackdown has ever done has returned with a brand new aspect: Create your own Title. Itís pretty simple and I wonít go into detail about it, needless to say you can name it whatever you want, use a ton of options to customize it and even pick which weight class can compete for it. They are very, very expensive though, so prepare yourself for a lot of work if you want to buy one. I have a cheat for easy money, however, so you may want to check that out. Aside from the title aspect, create your own pay-per-view is exactly as it used to be, with up to eight matches on each card available and your choice of commentators it keeps the game fresh long after the season mode is over.

While the added content keeps me anticipating the new version every year, itís the solid game play that keeps me loyal. The graphics are mind gnashing again this year. Superstars are re-created in seamless detail, the titantrons are so vivid it makes me feel like Iím watching the real thing and tiny details have a startling quality. For example, Andre The Giants walk: Insignificant maybe, but the time was taken to recreate it perfectly. The sound is another proud owner of a new advancementóThe superstar voice over. Nearly every wrestler on the roster has one, and itís not a cheap monotone version that sounds like the person recording it got bored. It's crystal clear and it has a reasonable amount of emotion behind it to draw you in. Also, the soundtrack took a beefing up. While itís nowhere near Grand Theft Auto, a lot of the tracks were exclusive for the game so itís worth listening to at least once. The controls themselves remain taintless. No direction is mistaken so your wrestler never comes across as cloddy or offish unless heís supposed to be that way. Itís still quick and precise, although sometimes you can go to grab your opponent and miss entirely. The legends return, this time with their own entrance and some with their own music. They arenít coming out in aÖoh I donít know, miniature motorized ring. The online playófrom what Iíve heardóis dull. Iím sorry I donít go over it here, but I donít have the capabilities.

If I only had the option of shelling out fifty dollars a year for only one franchise, Smackdown Vs. Raw would be it. Year after year THQ continues to drive itís product into the future, maintaining its loyalty with eye blistering realism but adding enough new aspects to keep it up to date. Smackdown Vs. Raw doesnít entice you to buy it, but demands it. Its stellar quality is beyond compare, year in and year out leaving THQ and Sony able to sayówithout a flutter in their voiceóthe champ is here.

Graphics: No comparison, this game continues its trend of insane realism.

Game play: Controls are high quality and the loading time is pushed to a blazing speed.

Fun Factor: With the new create a pay-per-view and boundless roster, this game isnít going to get dull, even after the new one comes out.

Replay value: High. After beating the season mode several times, youíre still not going to get bored with it.

Sound: All new soundtrack and all new voice-overs make this the best sounding Smackdown to date.

Overall rating: 9/10

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Community review by True (May 05, 2005)

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