|System: PS3, PS2, X360, Wii, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Yuke's Media||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 13, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The other thing I noticed about Smackdown vs. Raw '08 is a lot more detail in the audience. Where Smackdown games of yesteryear saw two-dimensional figures standing in the crowd with only a few different-looking audience members making the exact same motions, '08 features a more detailed audience with full three-dimensional figures to make things a lot more realistic. There is actually a level of interaction that you as a wrestler can have with various members of the crowd as well. As you walk along the barricade, some audience members outstretch weapons such as crutches or guitars that you can either grab from them and use on your opponent or throw your opponent into as your fan holds the weapon firmly in place. If you perform a taunt close enough to the barricade, you can sometimes perform a special interactive taunt with the audience.
It seems WWE has perhaps taken a page from the Def Jam book and made the game more interactive not only with the spectators but also with its environments. In a Parking Lot match, you can Irish whip your opponent into a parked vehicle, and as he lays unconscious against it you can grapple him and bash his head into the windshield to KO him instantly. Or, if you throw your opponent against the back of the parked hearse, you can perform a special finisher where your character pulls a coffin out the back and throws your opponent in to watch him get hauled off.
What I really miss about the Hardcore matches in the WWE games is the ability to roam freely throughout the entire arena, traveling room-to-room with your opponent from the parking lot to the lobby o the dressing rooms. The Pin Falls Anywhere mode is completely gone, which was one of my favorite things about the older Smackdown games.
It is, however, nice to see WWE has done more voiceover and commentating work this time around. Where often commentating got repetitive and annoying after hours of gaming, the franchise has made sure to include lots of different hilarious bantering between JR and King, JBL and Michael Cole, and Joey Styles and Taz. It still gets repetitive after a while, but Smackdown vs. Raw 2008 has made a step in the right direction here - let's hope they continue it with future installments. Some superstars such as Kane have their own grunts and groans voiced over while they're wrestling as well, which is a nice touch.
There are a lot of nice improvements here. It just seems WWE could exceed fans' expectations, but they never really do. They continually add a few new interesting features each year knowing their loyal fans will probably purchase each edition regardless. Don't misinterpret me; Smackdown vs. Raw 2008 is good - but it's not great. Perhaps the franchise will start working harder in the future to give fans enough reason to purchase each installment year after year.
CCC Freelance Writer