3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Not quite perfect....but near enough!,
This review is from: WWE Smackdown Vs Raw (PS2) (Video Game)
Ok, what can I say that hasn't been covered here already? Firstly, the main game mechanics, controls and grappling system haven't changed from last year's Smackdown: HCTP but this is by no means a bad thing, because as the saying goes, 'if it aint broke, don't fix it'. However, new additions and improvements are numerous, including a power bar meter that appears when you pull off some moves, allowing you to inflict more damage with well timed button presses. Even before the match has started, you often get 'staring' matches with your opponent, where the first player to quickly press the buttons displayed on screen gets a sly attack in before the bell has sounded. The 'Clean/Dirty tactics' meters are a fabulous idea, and now a 'heel' can be rewarded for arguing with the ref after a long 2-count and continuing to hold submission moves on an opponent even after a rope break (though too long and you get disqualified), whereas a 'face' can benefit from the likes of not using weapons and performing his signature moves. The commentary and ring announcers are back, with both shows each having their own commentators (in Smackdown: SYM, JR and Jerry Lawler did the Smackdown commentary too), although like the older games, it's a bit hit-and-miss (I personally think it's vital to have it in anyway, just to recreate the atmosphere of the TV, shows if nothing else). You also now get full speech on the cut scenes...a very welcome addition. Coupled with an online mode (though I think this only allows Singles or Bra/Panty matches) and the addition of yet another couple of new match types (for the Smackdown series) like First Blood, and you'd think this was the perfect WWE game.
Unfortunately, it falls foul of the constantly changing TV show. It's impossible to include every Superstar on the roster and THQ/Yukes have wisely gone for mainly the most popular and well known wrestlers, (be honest, nobody would ever pick somebody like Nunzio as their character anyway) but it's bad luck that they would include the likes of Chuck Palumbo and A-Train rather than La-Resistance, and both Chuck and A-Train get fired before the game hits the shelves...and the same can be said with the decision to include Sable rather than Lita, Dawn Marie or Jackie Gayda. Mind you, it scores bonus points for keeping the Dudleys instead of replacing them with the awful Basham Bros. like Day Of Reckoning on Gamecube did. Then there's the entrances. Whilst nearly all of them are spot on, they've replaced Ric Flair's music with a poor copy, and Batista's has gone altogether (he only has the main Evolutuion theme music now)...odd, considering that they're 2 of the most prominent characters on RAW at the moment. And whilst they've included Eddie Guerrero's Lowrider, unfortunately JBL's stretch limo (complete with bull horns) is nowhere to be seen, again strange seeing as he's been the WWE Champion on Smackdown for months now, although he still shakes the fans hands and has his cheesy grin. There also seems to be no option to edit the rosters this time around and swap Superstars between Smackdown and RAW...another shame, considering that every now and then on TV, some characters defect from one show to the other, and it was something that you could do even in last year's Smackdown: HCTP. Then there's that fact that they're still using Kurt Angle as the GM of Smackdown...again surprising, considering that it's been Teddy Long for long enough for them to have got him to record his voice for the game, and almost everything else, like Randy Orton's theme music and Triple H's entrance video are bang up to date.
However, none of the bad points actually ruin the game as such, and with the new addition of a Challenge Mode too (with a list of challenges to complete, such as using 2 'finishers' in one match, or pinning 3 out of 5 opponents in the Elimination Chamber), and legends such as Mick Foley (as Mankind), Bret 'The Hitman' Hart & The Legion Of Doom to unlock, you're left with a fun and innovative wrestling game that will keep fans entertained for months (at least until next year's replacement arrives), and along with it's extremely interactive backstage arenas, I have to score the game a perfect 5 out of 5 stars simply because within it's genre, there's nothing else that can touch it at the moment, and as it is, due to the variety of matches and sheer playability, it's more fun than most other beat 'em ups anyway.