|System: Wii, PS2, X360, PS3, 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|
As far as control is concerned, Smackdown vs. Raw 2008 does pretty well at nailing the basics, but an oversimplified control scheme based almost exclusively on motion control really hinders this one. Control essentially involves swinging the Wii-mote in different directions to perform fairly basic foot stomping and hand hitting moves. You can also perform a grapple move by holding down the A button and swinging the Wii-mote. Reversals are executed through timed movement of the Wii-mote, and special moves are performed by holding A and B and swinging the Wii-mote. And that's about as complex as it gets. It's really a great foundation as far as Wii controls are concerned for wrestling and other fighting-type games, but these controls just don't provide the complex experience that this type of game needs. You'll end up just madly swinging your Wii-mote to try to score a victory, and unfortunately, that's not really a great experience when it comes to a game that's all about pulling off the best wrestling moves
But for its pretty obvious flaws, Smackdown vs. Raw 2008 on the Wii does have its strengths. One such strength lies in its different modes. You have the generic Quick Play mode, which functions as more of an arcade-style game. You also have Tournament mode where you can either participate in pre-existing WWE tournaments (such as the Royal Rumble) or you can create your own tournament. But the main mode of Smackdown vs. Raw 2008, which was undoubtedly the most fun to play, was the Main Event mode. What this mode essentially entails is you pick a superstar and build their career from the ground up. You can choose their brand and even whether they are a clean or dirty fighter. This mode is pretty cool because it lets you exert a considerable amount of control over your character. You're basically in charge of keeping them trained, healthy, and setting up new and challenging matches for them. Although it's not the deepest experience available on a sports game,it's entertaining enough for this title and proves to be pretty fun in the long run.
Sound in Smackdown vs. Raw 2008 is also passable. The menu songs are absolutely awesome and channel the rockin' spirit of the WWE franchise. However, the sound department falls short when it comes to the actual gameplay. Although none of the wrestlers really speak while you're playing, there is a commentary track featuring WWE wrestling commentators JR and JBL. And while it's great that these legends lent their voices to this title, their commentary track leaves much to be desired. It ends up being very repetitive and sometimes what they say does not match up at all with what's going on in the ring.
Overall, I really wish I could give this game a better ranking. The idea behind this game is absolutely solid, and Smackdown vs. Raw 2008 shows that there can be legitimate uses for the Wii-mote in fighting or wrestling type games. Its diverse modes also help it become a fairly interesting and re-playable game. However, its too-simplistic controls and marred visuals really ruin any shot it had at being a great game for the Wii. But I have hope for the Smackdown vs. Raw series, and perhaps this mediocre attempt will spawn a more refined and reworked WWE experience for the Wii in the future.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer