smackdown! takes a step back,
This review is from: WWE Smackdown Vs Raw (PS2) (Video Game)
the Smackdown! series for the PS2 has gone from strength to strength since its inception, but this title is an unfortunate step back with some slight additions but general reductions. gameplay-wise, THQ's in-game engine is essentially the same as that of the title before, Here Comes The Pain, but there are a couple of new additions.
firstly, you now fight as either a "clean" wrestler (plays to the crowd, does exciting moves etc) or a "dirty" one (uses weapons, doesnt release illegal holds etc). you can also play as a Neutral, but thats BORING. as soon as you've done enough clean/dirty moves your bar fills up and you dirty folks can do a super-illegal move and clean people become invincible. all told, its a nice touch but it doesnt change the way you approach the game. another new addition is the mini-game at the start of the match. these range from Stare-Down battles to shove matches.. essentially though they are over in an instant.
as well as the presence of Legendary characters in the game, you can take on some Legends in the Challenge mode. i won't go into it, but it does add depth which is more than can be said for the voiceovers which are laughable ("another victory for the wrestler with his hand raised.." etc.) and its a pity they sacrificed a lot of cool things for it.
first off, the backstage area is a lot smaller.. no longer can you take a hardcore match all round the building and outside into the street.. then, the roster has been cut to just 40 wrestlers plus 10 or so legends. similarly, they have also cut the number of belts you can win from 7 to 4, but they also have added a Create A Belt option so you can replace both sets of Tag Team Titles and the Cruiserweight title that are so strangely missing. similarly, you can use the Create A Wrestler mode to create all those wrestlers that should be in the game already and when you get bored of the practically unaltered Season Mode (which, for any of you who own the previous title, is almost immediately) then you can set up your own Pay Per View event.
if this is your first Smackdown! game then you will LOVE it - it's a good game, but in the face of Here Comes The Pain this is a massive letdown with a weak roster and reduced combat area taking much more away from the game than the little touches put back in.