"SD v.s. Raw has climbed the rung of entertainment! "
SD v.s. Raw has climbed the rung of entertainment!
THQ has laid the smackdown upon wrestling gamers once again, but this time, the game really feels like new! Of course, the graphics are vastly improved over the '06 game for the PS2, but it's not just fancy graphics that improve the game like Madden '06 for the 360. In fact, even without any new modes whatsoever, the layout and control scheme bring so much more to the game that it's a bit hard to believe.
First, of all, a number of buttons and functions have been remapped. Instead of simply pressing O (like on PS2) or B (360), you will move the right stick in any direction to grapple. Sometimes it pulls off an instant move, and other times, you will grapple for a while just like in the GameCube WWE series. You can press RB while grappling in order to pull off up to 8 moves. This really adds depth to the game, but it also totally changes the controls. A (or X on PS2) grabs items now and X (or Square) attacks. Y (or Triangle) pulls off runs, but you can't just run and leave the ring. You must press A near the ropes. The strange thing is that you can simply run to the turnbuckle. I don't know why Yukes can't just let you run through whatever you want. The A button really should just be for item grabs. The D-Pad is now for taunts, which I don't really like as the analog stick isn't as precise for movements and the D-Pad isn't in a good place for pressing while you're playing.
The game also feels revamped due to several things. First, of all, there are no pre-match minigames, which were pointless, considering it was still mainly about someone pressing buttons faster than another person. When you start a match anyway it's all about the person who attacks first. Also, Yukes decided to give some old school Here Comes the Pain type action by adding some areas you can access during a match. They're not very large, but it's nice to know you have a choice of where to fight now.
The backstage and bar brawl areas that you can pick for special matches are more limited than even the last game, but they do look beautiful and you can pretty much interact with every object. I noted that there is a lack of commentary, so they pretty much treat the match like a normal brawl where no one even knows it's going on.
The rest of the matches play just like they use to, but with tweaks. For example, you can now see through the Hell in a Cell cage while you are in it. There's also neat little touches of animations and actions. Say, you're standing near the Smackdown commentators. They don't just stand, but actually sit like commentators are supposed to. As you get closer to them, they stand up as if to get out of the way. Also, you can now perform special diving finishers through the commentator table. That's just icing on the cake on top of a 3 layer cake. It's not necessary, but it sure looks cool.
The layout of the game is also different now. The menus remind you of the GameCube series, but the Locker Room mode is a totally different story. It's like they hired Visual Concepts (NBA2K6, 2K7) to do the locker room which you can walk around in 3D and you can decorate. It's pointless much like most of the changes, but it sure makes the game feel snazzy!
Some welcome visual changes are the use of a suped up GameCube CAW mode and a Raw 2 Create-an-Entrance program. The clothes start out textured now and while there are less pieces, they can be customized easily if you don't like the pre-made design pieces. It admit, it takes me half the time to design with 2007 than it does with 2006 and I still get an awesome looking wrestler. As far as the Create-an-Entrance program goes, it's super easy to use because you can view the animations in real time while you're designing and you can view small portions of an entrance, so load times aren't the giant pain they use to be in 2006.
Creating CAWs don't matter so much anymore, because like 2006, they aren't involved in the story. The story isn't as well written as the one in the last game, but you don't have to play through two years because the main character fights for both Raw and Smackdown. I chose Edge as my starting wrestler and I certainly get an interesting storyline about having to defend my belt against thugs the entire season. Not as original as 2006, but much better than any other Smackdown story. Of course, it's still all about getting to Wrestlemania.
Once you rack up the dough you earn on your way to the title, you can use it to buy WWE Legends, but you MUST complete each PPV successfully in order to unlock the ability to buy your wrestler. Seems sort of lame, but you do get money pretty easily as the Easy mode A.I. is totally dumb. Only Undertaker seems to have a brain in this game. The wrestlers costs less than the old games, but seeing as there are probably more of them, it will still take about the same amount of time to unlock them all.
If the game didn't have sound, it would actually still be a good game, but wrestling isn't wrestling without classy entrance music and the now famous commentators, so Yukes hired every WWE superstar to do voices in the Story mode and they have lots of wrestling music including the newest entrances such as Edge's R Rated Superstar music. The fact that the game recognizes new groups such as DX is a treat, especially since the game will actually change tag teams to feature the new music and even move sets. And since you're asking, the game does have Mr................KENN-EDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! KENN-ED-AY!!!!!!!!!!!!! He has the longest and most annoying entrance in the game and unless you make a character than is also named Mr. Kennedy, you don't want to use his entrance for any CAW.
The commentators also have plenty to say, but if you've played 2006, then you'll want to shoot them all because they simply used all the old voice recordings for the game. More government mules, slobberknockers, and Jerry "The King" being a pervert. Whoo!!!!!!
Whether you should get this game depends on many things. If you don't have a Smackdown game, then get it for sure. If you have 2006, then you don't really need it. SD v.s. Raw 1? Well, this new game actually feels more like it, but honestly, the roster wasn't good enough in that game, so you are missing out on a lot. If you have anything older than the Smackdown v.s. Raw series, then you need to get up to date, but I admit, that Here Comes the Pain was the only recent game to have a giant backstage area and is well worth owning.
Article by: Philip Hanan
Community review by japanaman (May 23, 2007)
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