WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009 Review: 5 Reasons to Buy

WWE 2K22 Vader trailer screenshot

WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009 Review: 5 Reasons to Buy

With the SmackDown series now in its ninth year. Released in 2009 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Wii, and Xbox the WWE game franchise has never shown any signs of slowing down. It’s not only the rabid wrestling fan who runs out to purchase the new copy each year. Even the casual gamer feels the urge to lay the smackdown every now and again, as WWE and THQ have carved their own niche in gaming history. 

It has been around so long that new features become a main focus each year, and developers try to ensure the game and its mechanics never feel worn out. They may not always succeed, but they’ve given players the sharpest-looking, hardest-hitting WWE title to date.

Storyline Like Nothing Before Seen in the WWE Series

WWE 2K 22 Hurricane from trailer screenshot
Hurricane showing off his prowess as he enters the ring.

WWE Smackdown! Vs. Raw 2009 features the most involved storyline yet and voiceover work from the biggest names in wrestling. Creating a Finisher indulges the imaginative side with thousands of possible ways to lay someone out. Graphics, sound, and fluidity of motion is as slick as it gets for older systems.

There are six different modes, each starring a different superstar: John Cena, Undertaker, Triple H, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, and a tag team co-op storyline starring Rey Mysterio Jr. and Batista. Players have the ability to save their progress in each storyline in a different slot. So, they can jump to play in different stories whenever they choose. This setup offers a lot of variety when playing Road to WrestleMania with several hours to complete each, making it undoubtedly the best story mode in any wrestling game ever.

Impressive Visuals of WWE Smackdown! Vs. Raw 2009

WWE Smackdown Screenshot
Cool, calm, and collected opponent ready for the next round.

WWE Smackdown! Vs. Raw 2009 boasts an impressive presentation from the get-go, with attractive menus and aggressive ring entrance music to get gamers in the mood to wreak havoc. In all, WWE Smackdown! Vs. Raw 2009 feels as though it is the one most connected with the actual television programs, with the inclusion of deeply involved voiceover work in the Road to WrestleMania story mode and the incredible likenesses of all 50+ wrestlers on the roster. This game feels much more real than any other WWE title released to date. New heroes, villains, and legends in the sport are all on the list, including personal favorites and old ECW and WCW alumni Tommy Dreamer, Rey Mysterio Jr., and some of the greats who still grace WWE. Scrolling through them all is fast with no time wasted to load their images, and in the ring, their movements mimic their real-life actions.

WWE Smackdown! Vs. Raw 2009 Highlights 

An in-game screenshot from WWF Wrestlemania 2000.
The WWF / WWE series has seen some turbulent times.

©Screenshot from WWF Wrestlemania 2000.

The most notable highlight of WWE Smackdown! Vs. Raw 2009 is its graphics. All the athletes look glossy and move fluidly about the ring, with a cartoonish likeness of their real-life counterparts. There is no obvious dulling down of graphics in the transition of a next-gen game to the PSP, which can often happen in games resulting in ugly pixelation, foggy hazes in the background, or framerate problems. 

The crowd looks three-dimensional and active, as they wave signs with humorous slogans that read “I’m Special”. The transitioning between regular in-ring action and grapple and finishing animations is incredibly smooth, and the amount of moves to perform on your opponent are as full of variety as ever. Each brutal animation of Kane smashing someone’s knee or a beat-down from Umaga is graphically realistic with a very natural-looking interaction between characters.

Buttery Smooth Controls

The buttons are still pretty much the same as last year, using the directional pad to move around, Circle to initiate a grapple and the Analog nub to pull off a grappling move. What’s different is the finishing system, which uses a meter that fills up incredibly fast as the player builds momentum by beating the hell out of the opponent. Players can choose to store your finisher or perform it before momentum runs down. 

They can only store one finisher and hitting Triangle in the appropriate position pulls it off. There are definitely more indications flashing on screen to help out with a strong arcade feel. There are also lots of features that let.

players change how the game is played with the option to turn off the HUD, display counts, and vibrations. Before a game, players also have the ability to change the power of finishing moves, momentum rates, and how often the CPU will perform reversal moves.

In With the Old and In with the New

WWE John Cena screenshot
WWE fans don’t need to worry John Cena is still one of the main fighters on the WWE Smackdown! vs. Raw 2009 roster.

Another new feature in WWE Smackdown! Vs. Raw 2009 is the Inferno Match. It may not add much in the way of gameplay, but it does make for a nice visual, as the squared circle is literally turned into a ring of fire with the ropes ablaze. Even with the amount of movement amongst the crowd, the fighters, and the searing flames, there is no slowdown or clipping whatsoever. For those unfamiliar with an Inferno match, the idea of the match is to heave your opponent over the top rope resulting in a non-life-threatening fire on the buttocks of the loser.

It is this sort of variety that makes WWE Smackdown! Vs. Raw 2009 enjoyable and the little things you can do while in the midst of battle add to the fun. The options to bash your own head in with a steel chair or get in an argument with a mouthy crowd member give the game some diversity. The commentating is natural, full of variety, and undoubtedly the best I have ever heard for any wrestling game.

Final Thoughts

This is an amazing game released for the PSP, offering a good time for anyone looking to smack someone around wherever they roam. Additional narration from all the commentators from Raw and Smackdown can be hilarious at times, and the story mode is as entertaining to play as it is to watch. Gone are the days of reading along to the text as characters mouth the words silently. The amount of time put into making the Road to WrestleMania is obvious, and the hands-on involvement of each superstar is an innovative feature that makes WWE Smackdown! Vs. Raw 2009 incredibly fun.

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