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WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 (Xbox 360) artwork

WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 (Xbox 360) review

"WWE is laying the smackdown again, but not just on a few home consoles, but on every modern console. This is the second go around for a Smackdown game on the Xbox 360, so fans will definitely be expecting more action than ever and Yukes delivers with even better visuals and a more realistic experience. "

WWE is laying the smackdown again, but not just on a few home consoles, but on every modern console. This is the second go around for a Smackdown game on the Xbox 360, so fans will definitely be expecting more action than ever and Yukes delivers with even better visuals and a more realistic experience.

The 360 version delivers more realistic visuals than any other version of the game except the PS3 version, although I personally believe the lightning and color depth is better in the 360 version as compared to the PS3ís hardware. Every year the WWE roster looks more realistic and performs more believable moves. This carries over to the way the game is setup, especially in the CAW mode.

This yearís edition of Smackdown Vs Raw regulates move sets by forcing wrestlers to use only moves set up for their fighting styles. For example, only dirty style wrestlers attack the royal jewels while only high flyers can actually dive off turnbuckles and leap through ropes. Last yearís edition made weight a factor in performing certain moves, but now, every aspect of a wrestlerís body and/or personality matters.

A wrestler has two fighting styles, one being their primary style and one being secondary. Choosing two styles for a CAW however, doesnít mean that you can make a powerhouse perform a 619. The styles benefit each other and work well together. The only problem is that some fighting styles are more powerful than others and each style give a wrestler a unique ability that another may not have that may help them dominate a match. For example, the powerhouse style will allow a wrestler to bulk up with enhanced adrenaline which allows irreversible grapples and such making it difficult for a high flyer to ever win a match if the wrestler canít avoid grappling.

One new change to the grappling system is to the submission area of grappling. This year, instead of holding a button to keep a grapple on an opponent past the refís count, the submission will involve using the analog stick to hold a submission while the a human opponent will also have to use the analog stick to escape from the grapple.

The rest of the changes to the game play include some ECW styles of game play. There are new weapons for hardcore matches which can be created in the ring, such as flaming 2 x 4s and flaming tables. You can also use the right analog stick to choose one of four weapons underneath the ring so you donít have to run to all four sides of the ring to find the weapon you desire.

The more complete WWE roster helps add depth to the game as does the truly hardcore ECW matches, but the A.I. still behaves much like it has before. The CPU may stand around for no reason or use no logic at all when trying to pull a belt down from the ceiling. Iíve noticed in past Smackdown games the CPU primarily climbs ladders to reach the belt and barely tries to take out your energy before setting up ladders. This holds true once again as does graphic glitches including collisions, jerky movments, and teleporations. Yukes apparently is using the same game engine since SD1 as they do not want to make a new next-gen engine and leave the PS2 dry as it couldnít handle the modern animation, RAM, etc.

Aside from the animation issues and less than modern graphics, SD Vs 2008 maintains everything the prequels had including Story Mode. Unfortunately, Story Mode and General Manager Mode are combined into a new 24/7 mode which has you managing a wrestlerís life at the same time you play as the wrestler. It feels a bit strange as action is interrupted with simulation type game play. Overall, it delivers a fresh look to the series as the similar stories grew a bit stale in my opinion.

The CAW mode continues to deliver an entertaining experience, but some pieces were removed in order to add others. You may have enjoyed some shirts you liked in Ď07 just to see them replaced with more hair cuts, etc. You also might be sick of coming up with new creations or remaking your entire roster as I do. Still, I love having the option to recreate WWE Legends not featured in the game.

The only Xbox 360 exclusive feature on the disk I rather enjoyed was the use of custom soundtracks so you can create your own entrance music. Now you can scour the internet for or burn classic WWE soundtrack CDs on your hard drive to go with your re-created WWE Legends.

Different versions of the game do justice to each system. Purchasing the Xbox 360 version is a must if you want one of the most balanced and deep versions of the game, Achievement Points, or if you want the best CAW mode of all the versions. I donít recommend it if you are looking for a truly next-gen sports title or if you arenít a hardcore fan of the series. For example, if you have í07, unless you have to have the newest roster, this title doesnít improve anything. Itís just a different take on some of the game play. Or if you appreciated Ď06ís button controls and roster more, then thereís not much point in buying any games further into the series. For most fans, I recommend you rent the game first and then decide how much or little you like it. I did and like most of the SD games, I have to collect each one, but I wonít do spend more than $20-$30 for it.

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Community review by japanaman (November 26, 2007)

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