WWE SmackDown! Vs Raw is a title that should of just quit while it was ahead. The title, which was developed by YUKE’s Future Media Creators and published by THQ, can easily be called the worst game in the series.
The game is the first WWE game to be available for all currently selling game consoles and in turn, probably proved to be the downfall of the game. The developers should have focused on one or two specific consoles to release the game on so that they would be able to streamline development for said specific consoles, therefore creating a title worthy of playing.
To call SmackDown! Vs Raw a next generation game is a misunderstanding. Sure, it has the PlayStation 3 brand slapped on the side of the case, but the fact is that the game was developed using the same engine that the developers used to create the past titles in the Smackdown series.
After playing the title for about three days off and on, we noticed that the physical aspects of the game were completely inaccurate. You will no doubt notice (if you play this game) that a wrestler takes up a good chunk of space in the wrestling ring. In real wrestling, a fighter only takes a small portion of a ring, allowing them to have an all out brawl, but in the video game, you’ll be lucky if you can maneuver a wrestler around three other players without getting caught up in the ropes. Plainly put, the wresting ring is entirely too small and doesn’t necessarily fit the accommodations that a real life ring would.
Throughout your time trying to maneuver around, you may notice that your wrestlers move quite differently as well. They seem to want to take baby steps when they are walking around the ring. Obviously, when on their guard it’s not that big of a deal because that is a norm in not only wrestling, but boxing as well; however, if we want to run across the ring, you’d expect to see some larger steps and although the steps are larger, they just don’t seem to be proportional to natural running steps.
As you run, you may notice that your arm, or in rare cases, your whole body, will flat out go through your opponents. This isn’t a once in a while thing like the Assassin’s Creed freezing issue, no, you will notice the horrible collision detection every five minutes whilst playing. If you don’t notice, go play a match where there are tons of weapons because you will not only witness your weapons going through objects, but you may even notice another opponent simply ‘teleporting’ their way across the ring. They’re not actually teleporting, but some of the animations are done so poorly that that is something you may notice throughout your virtual wrestling career.
The voice acting and numerous loading screens get annoying quite quickly. It was much more pleasant to mute the game entirely and allow the loading screens to pop up like a computer infected with spyware. Also, you might think that you are about to start playing the game, but instead must watch three more videos, each with their own loading screen.
WWE SmackDown! Vs Raw had so much potential to be a great game. Its plethora of modes can easily assure hours and hours of gaming with a high replay value. Playing online was really fun for us as well, but like stated above, the horrible aspects of the game eventually promoted us to drop the remote. Even the graphics, while not superb, were decent looking but the negative effects we encountered throughout the game were too much for us to bear.
The game really has no forward motion development-wise. It’s another title that developers seemed to say, "Hey, lets use our previous version, add some things and update the graphics.” Moving forward is crucial to game development and putting out a successful game. If you need an example, look at the Burnout series. We found the original Burnout game in a five dollar bin at our local game store, but now it’s one of the most hyped racing games available because it continues to improve not only with gameplay, but with all aspects of the game. If the developers of SvR want to see sales skyrocket, then they are going to need more than just updated graphics.
The only significant improvements in SvR 2008 from the previous versions is the addition of Superstar Fighting Styles and the new struggle submissions system. However, they’re not that big of an innovation over what was already offered. They’re more comparable to added accessories than anything else. Superstar fighting styles give wrestlers of a certain type different abilities and exclusive moves, where as the struggle submission implement only lets you control the amount of pressure that you are applying to your opponent.
With the potential to be the best wrestling game to date, WWE SmackDown! Vs Raw fails to deliver an enticing experience worthy of a purchase. You are better off playing last year’s title, as this year’s game features little-to-no improvement from that iteration, and an army of noticeable faults. This series truly needs to head back to the drawing board.