|System: PS3, PS2, X360, Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Yukes||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Q4 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4 (+ Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Philip Hanan
WWE is laying the smackdown on more consoles than ever with Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 for the PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, and DS. The PS2, PS3, and Xbox 360 will all have the following in common: Instead of multiple, distinctive fighting styles, the game will focus on eight main realistic wrestling styles, including hardcore, high flyer, submission artist, powerhouse, brawler, showman, dirty, and technical.
Each wrestler will move more realistically not only from their default setup, but through their moveset layout. For example, you can't edit Kane so he can leap from tightropes or edit Rey Mysterio so he can chokeslam Batista. The game's movesets seem more limited now, but I suppose that's good, because way back in 06, I fought a large, Arabian wrestler online who had some pretty fast kicking moves which pounded me into next week. It just didn't make sense. I was practically a cruiserweight who should have been able to outmaneuver him.
Each moveset will give a wrestler an advantage in the ring as not only are the moves unique, but the special moves are unique. One example is Randy Orton. His special move is to hide behind the referee in order to avoid attacks. I'd easily rate Ric Flair as dirty, and estimate that he'll most likely be able to low blow you without referee consequences. Hopefully, Edge won't be able to cheat 24/7 during a match though.
Button mashing mini-games will no longer be a part of the gameplay, but there will still be lots of realistic mini-games during matches, such as using the analog stick to pull on a player's neck during a submission. It is not yet known if the opponent can play a mini-game to escape a hold, but it is very likely as a player used to be able to mash buttons to escape holds in older games.
The controls for the Wii and DS versions will be quite different, as they will focus on using the consoles' exclusive gameplay. The DS will allow a player to control his wrestler's moves through use of the touch screen, while the Wii will actually force you to mimic a wrestler using the Wii-mote. For example, you'll probably lift and choke the Wii-mote to perform a choke slam and you will crotch chop the Wii-mote to make Triple H taunt. It isn't known if the Wii version will contain as many wrestlers or moves as in the PS2, PS3, and Xbox 360 versions. Most likely, the mini-games will be replaced by some type of Wii-mote motion sensing. The action will also be sped up, and stamina meters will be gone to allow wrestlers to keep going. Think of it as an arcade style experience. The WWE hasn't had one since 1995 or so when Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game was released.
So far, all the old modes of the Smackdown series are coming back, but the General Manager mode is being replaced with a similar mode called 24/7 mode, which allows a manager to take care of both storylines along with a wrestler of his/her choice. Not only can you become a top manager, you can help your wrestler work from being a jobber, all the way to the WWE Hall of Fame. Your wrestler can be either a WWE superstar or a CAW. Perhaps you'll pick from one of the new ECW superstars within the game.
Every mode will be tweaked, like with the previous games, but everything should seem familiar to Smackdown fans. One pleasant tweak will be to the online mode, which will now feature around 50 types of matches. The CAW mode will also continue to be improved upon.
If you have all the consoles, I recommend getting the 360 version, due to its great online program and better animations, but if you're not a fan of the Smackdown series ever since it started going from arcade style and into simulation, try the Wii version. It's going to feel like a highly interactive arcade game in your house.
Look for all the versions of Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 this fall. And remember.....kids may enjoy the Wii version more, but if any game will cause broken T.V.s, it's going to be this game, so monitor your children's imitation wrestling carefully. Let's just hope that you don't have to leap off a couch with a Wii-mote to imitate Chris Benoit.
CCC Freelance Writer
With eight Superstar Fighting Styles to choose from, playing WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 will never be the same. Each fighting style has its own unique strategy with exclusive moves, abilities, attributes, and more. Take the fight into your own hands and feel the power of the Superstars.
The new Struggle Submission System gives players intuitive and natural control over their WWE Superstars using the analog sticks. Realism and strategy are at the forefront, as players can now control the amount of pressure they apply.
The life of a WWE Superstar isn't always pretty. ECW invades WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 with a variety of Superstars, arenas, and weapons.
Combining the popular Season and General Manager Modes from previous SmackDown vs. Raw games, WWE 24/7 Mode embraces the intensity of the Superstar lifestyle. Multiple character development options, stat tracking, and career goals will guide players towards the ultimate achievement of becoming a Legend.
WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 offers numerous updates, including new rosters, more environmental hotspots, improved out-of-ring action, and much more!