PS3 Reviews: WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009 Review

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WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009 Review

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Graphics:

 

8.0

Gameplay:

 

8.5

Sound:

 

6.0

Control:

 

8.0

Replay Value:

 

9.0

Online Gameplay:

 

8.0

Overall Rating:       8.2

 

 

Publisher:

THQ

Developer:

Yukes

Number Of Players:

1-6 (1-4 Online)

Genre:

Sports

Release Date:

The WWE SmackDown franchise has become a staple for THQ ever since they've gained the WWE license from the, now defunct, Acclaim. From the start, the series has been a smash hit and a financial success for THQ. So it's no surprise that nearly every single year following the first release has been a new SmackDown game (the first two SmackDowns both came out in 2000, in fact). So now, we're at the tenth game, a follow-up to last year's absurdly flawed and poor effort. But things have changed for SvR2009...THQ and Yukes have listened to our complaints.

The reigning champ of wrestling games lost its belt by default. It didn't matter if WWE2008 was the only wrestler available last year, it simply doesn't deserve any accolades. But this game, it's a different story. Last year my biggest complaint with SvR2008 was that it was slow...dreadfully slow, in fact. Wrestlers walked and ran at a snail's pace, and it was infuriating. The lack of excitement absolutely demolished a game full of potential. Clunkiness was another issue, the controls just didn't seem tight, and the poor collision detection didn't help make matters any better.

As you can guess, all of that's been cleared up. Now the speed is intact, allowing for a much more exciting game of wrestling that represents the actual sport a whole lot more than last year's game. The controls have been tightened up considerably, feeling a lot more intuitive and responsive. Hand in hand with the new controls comes collision detection that doesn't have your flying wrestler fly right past your opponent and face first into the mat. With all of these issues fixed, the fluidity of the game improves ten fold; I was pulling off maneuvers left and right, keeping the action alive in all of my matches. It's amazing how much just a few minor tweaks can change the entire experience of the game, isn't it?

Mechanics remain largely the same over last year's game, as you'll use the right analog stick to pull off a variety of moves, and a modifier button coupled with the analog stick to pull off an additional set of moves. Once your player's power gauge reaches the top, you can choose to either use a finisher, or store half of your power gauge and pull off a signature move. The great thing about the improvements of SvR2009 is that it also makes the game feel a lot more powerful; every attack you land feels just as solid as the last.

The great thing about SmackDown games has always been its bevy of features, and once again, SvR2009 proves to be no different. Boasting nearly every match type the WWE has to offer, SvR2009 even gains the Inferno Match. In total, 56 match types exist, spread across seven categories, including One on One, Two on Two, Triple Threat, Fatal-4-Way, 6-Man, Handicap, and Royal Rumble. If that's not enough for you, you can enter the game's all new Road to Wrestlemania mode, where now a Co-op storyline exists for tag-team gamers, as do a variety of unique storylines and cutscenes.

Create a Finisher returns for this year's iteration, but now with changes made to the interface to make it more user friendly and intuitive. If you're feeling extra creative, go on create your own WWE superstar, an entrance, and a move-set. With a game that's actually playable this time around, all of these modes are actually quite a lot of fun to explore. It must be said that the amount of depth in the Create a Superstar mode is utterly incredible. And hey, once your done with the Road to Wrestlemania mode and want more, enter the Career and Tournament modes. Believe me, there's a good amount of things to do here, it'll take a while to get it all done. Of course, don't forget the online gameplay, which has been enhanced for SvR2009, and gives you even more stuff to do.

For the most part, the visuals look identical to that of the previous game, but that's not a bad thing. This means you still have very detailed wrestlers who look practically identical to their real-life counterparts. The picture is silky smooth, and the image quality isn't marred by poor image issues such as aliasing or flickering. Additionally, the frame rate kept everything moving along well. Fixed are also all of the crippling visual issues, such as the wrestlers warping all around the screen, falling through the mat, among other collision detection errors. That is not to say that the collision detection is perfect, but a lot of its problems have been addressed. On top of that, my complaint about the crowds from E3 have been addressed. Back in July, the crowd past the fourth row were just blotchy pixels, and that's been fixed with some more detail -- it's not super great, but it certainly isn't as ugly as the early version of the game. I still think it's time for the franchise to stop tuning up the PlayStation 2 engine and work on a proper overhaul for the franchise, though.

Unfortunately, while nearly everything else has changed, the audio hasn't received the same love and care. Commentary, while boasting some more lines, is largely bland and boring much like last year's game. Michael Cole/Tazz and Jerry "The King" Lawler/J.R tend to repeat themselves often, and they rarely mention the wrestler's in the ring by name, it's often a generic reference such as "superstar" or "athlete". So yeah, not much change here and that's a shame. But you do get to use your own songs from your PS3's HDD when creating an entrance and its theme music.

WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 is a major improvement over last year's terribly flawed game. Yukes have tightening nearly everything up for this year's game, and it goes to show how just a few minor things can ball up into something big. SvR2009 is a return to form for the franchise, and fans of both the WWE and SmackDown games should really love this. Even though Midway's TNA Impact showed some potential, THQ has returned to smash it.

11/20/2008 Arnold Katayev

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Comments (9 posts)

Bugzbunny109
Thursday, November 20, 2008 @ 4:57:50 PM
Reply

The demo sucked....... bad, really bad

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schillah
Thursday, November 20, 2008 @ 5:30:41 PM
Reply

the demo shows that the game is faster

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MetalHead09
Thursday, November 20, 2008 @ 5:48:45 PM
Reply

i havent played a wrestling game since WCW on my ps1

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Fabi
Thursday, November 20, 2008 @ 8:12:47 PM
Reply

@Metal - That game was horrible...

Nothing beats No Mercy on the N64.

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Geobaldi
Friday, November 21, 2008 @ 2:28:56 AM

I agree. No Mercy was hella fun lol.

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ImBack
Thursday, November 20, 2008 @ 8:33:12 PM
Reply

this game is terrible. believe me, i know

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coverton341
Friday, November 21, 2008 @ 12:38:07 AM
Reply

Personally I hate wrestling games. I guess that is why I could never be a critic. I have too much biased opinion on certain game genres.

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, November 21, 2008 @ 4:09:31 AM
Reply

I used to love wreslting games, but the controls are ruplusive now, It was far better when you pressed cricle asnd a directional button to do a move, now you have to f*** around with the analouge sticks and your specials can be reversed even when they dont have a special bar. its just irritating. i understand its slightly more relaistic, but its not fun to play.

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Nerull
Sunday, November 23, 2008 @ 3:33:48 PM
Reply

Glad to hear the HD is available for entrance music but I'm still going to wait for next years game. There's not enough improvement to warrant purchasing it every year, for example the create a finisher is only half done, it only has front grapples. The graphics, especially the create a superstar (I hate how much they overuse that phrase in all their games), don't improve much, neither does the season, almost all the moves are the exact same animation, and on top of all that most years they end up REMOVING FEATURES. This year they took away the buried alive match, witch needed major tweaking not removal, and I'm still waiting for them to bring back the damn bra and panties match from years back, as is the divas are as close to pointless as you can get. It's ridiculous how many games they've made for how little they've actually improved.

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