'WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2008'
(PlayStation2 / ASIN: B000SH3XEK / Rated: T / $49.99)
Features: The heart of the Smackdown! Series is the Season-Story mode with the addition of authentic Superstar VO and commentary.
For the first time ever in a WWE game, fans can compete online in head-to-head action. New storylines with bigger double-crosses and over-the-top surprises. Create a Championship Belt and then set up your own PPV to defend it. Be careful - lose a match and lose your Championship, as it will transfer to the other player's memory card! New WWE Legends, including one of the all-time greats, Andre the Giant!
Description: From the most successful wrestling game series of all time comes the next phenom in sports entertainment, WWE Smackdown! vs. Raw. Two worlds collide as the most elite Superstars square off on the Playstation 2. WWE programming comes to life with authentic Superstar Voice Over and commentary throughout the season mode An abundance of new gameplay mechanics give full control over all aspects of the game including new chop battles, submission reversals, match tactics and upgraded Royal Rumble controls. The Divas are hotter than ever with an enhanced Bra and Panties Match, and to polish off the robust roster, from the halls of immortality, come a handful of the most celebrated legens ever to lace up their boots. The influential Smackdown!
Verdict: When 'WWE Smackdown vs RAW 2007' came out we all had to deal with a complex, needlessly confusing new control style, on top of an awful GM Mode, and an even WORSE Technique-to-Weight system, that made playing the game needlessly bad, in favor of trying to reach a "realistic" level of play. Well, I am here to tell you that 'WWE Smackdown vs RAW 2008' is even WORSE than last year's game!
Their new styles limit your ENTIRE moveset now, not just your Grapples, like 2007's Weight Distribution system did. What this means is you can now only do a Super Dirty Move if you're playing as "Dirty." You can now only steal finishers and taunts if you're playing as "Showman." You can't even do a combo strike attack unless you're playing as "Brawler!" You can only use weapons if you're playing as "Hardcore!" You can only do rope, springboard, and diving moves if you're playing as "High-Flyer."
So, what this leaves you with is about 20% of what you used to be capable of doing on any given wrestler! Like I said, there's almost NO plausible explatation on why that dumb-ass Cory Ledesma and his monkeys at THQ have done this, but what we are left with is a severely limited moveset.
To make matters worse, THQ is now "forcing" you to play using their Godawful control stick system, now! Last year, at least you could switch it to the classic style with Control Type D. That is no longer the case as you now have no ability to switch your control style. And no matter how use you may get to using the new control system, you'll never like it!
So, we not only have less moves per wrestler, and less available moves to choose from, but we also have to use this needlessly complicated and never-fun control style, too. Saying it takes a while to get to would be an understatement. I am sure many players will NEVER adjust to this mess we have here!
As for the other games features, well, they aren't good, either. Of course, we have less match types now than ever before (Backstage Brawls is just one of them to be removed from the game). ECW Extreme Rules sucks. Bottom line. There, I said it. So, other than the basics, you can forget to find any new match types, here.
As most already know by now, the Roster blows, big time. This console version of the game literally has less wrestlers than the freaking PSP version! And although their entrance animations are present in the game (meaning at one point or another, they WERE planned to be in the game), Paul London, Brian Kendrick, Kevin Thorn, Ariel, Deuce, Domino, Sgt. Slaughter, Eddie Guerrero, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Balls Mahoney are NOT in this game!
Create-A-Superstar was extremely scaled back in 2007's game, but at least now, some of those missing elements have made a welcome return in this year's game after being removed from '07. At least now you are able to make your superstar almost as good, if not as good, as you were able to do in SvR 2006.
And if one good thing can be said out of this, that is THQ FINALLY fixed the Create-An-Entrance! Now, you can properly edit things with the help of a slider timer (my suggestion from last year). Also, you are now able to edit your Title Belt entrance, as well. Last year, certain superstars who were too big to wear belts (Umaga, Mark Henry, Viscera, Khali) had their own seperate belt entrances. This idea comes into 2008 as you can now have your own seperate belt entrance, amongst you regular one, just like John Cena, Johnny Nitro, and Khali have.
The music in this game is no better or worse than last year, which isn't necessarily a good thing. Just like 07, we get generic rock tracks from semi-famous bands, like Nonpoint and Project 86. And also just like last year, the quantity of songs we get are limited and few. About half an album's worth. The songs aren't bad as standalone tracks, but get EXTREMELY repetitive after less than a week of owning the game. You may wanna do what I did and just cut the background music off, altogether!
Reviewed by M. Powell