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‘SVR 2008’ releases a mixed bag

December 06, 2007

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Andre The Giant, the legendary one true giant of professional wrestling. “The Ugandan Giant" Kamala, a deceptively quick goliath who is wild
and unpredictable. On paper, a steel cage match between the two behemoths looked promising so at 15 years-old, I, along with my buddies, bought tickets to the Sunday show at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Boy, were we wrong. At almost 20 minutes long, the match was pure agony. Not even the steel cage gimmick or Andre giving Kamala a “butt drop” from the top rope after slamming him could make up for the excruciating pace. What we thought would be a violent, bloody and unrestrained main event was just a boring dud. We went home disappointed hoping that next month’s line-up would be better.

Based on common sense, you would assume that ‘Smackdown versus Raw 2008’, the sequel to the greatest wrestling game ever made, would improve upon the high standards set by last year’s benchmark release. If you thought that, like my pals and I before the Maple Leaf Gardens card, you would be wrong. Dead wrong depending on the version you are referring to as some are surprisingly better than others. Below, we go through some of the instalments by platform and give you the lowdown on the good and bad of ‘SVR 2008’.

 

‘Smackdown versus Raw 2008’ - Xbox 360

WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw: X360How developer Yukes could goof things up in just a year’s time after the spectacular job they did on ‘2007’, is confusing.

The starting roster itself is downright disappointing considering Yuke’s could have easily ported over so many of grapplers from the ‘2007’ edition. This is perhaps because of the new control and wrestler styles but still, there are great gaps.The main selling point of ‘2008’ is that it is the first WWE game to spotlight ECW superstars, stadiums and matches. Right out of the box, you can be CM Punk, Elijah Burke, John Morrison, Tommy Dreamer and The Sandman. If you complete a special challenge, you can unlock the homicidal, genocidal, suicidal Sabu and the hardcore legend Terry Funk. Missing from the roster are Kevin Thorn, The Miz, The Boogeyman, Big Daddy V, Balls Mahoney, Matt Striker, Mike Knox, Nunzio and Stevie Richards. On the positive side, the ECW hardcore wrestlers have the ability to light tables, weapons on fire and we finally get to hear the commentary of kick ass announcer Joey ‘Oh, My Gawd!’ Styles.

WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw: X360As mentioned above, Yuke’s has tinkered with the ‘SVR’ format launching new wrestler styles, the reversal system and a ‘24/7’ career mode. All have hurt the game badly. If implemented correctly, the wrestler styles might have really done something to make each grappler really unique. Instead, the styles just give everyone some new abilities. The hardcore wrestlers can do some cool and dastardly moves with foreign objects, brawlers can unleash rapid-fire combination blows, dirty wrestlers can use officials as shields and on the list goes on. The technicians got the best of the deal though as coupled with the insurmountable new reversal system, the skill set ups their counter techniques into unheard of levels. Good luck even trying to slip a wristlock on them. The reversal rate alone in ‘SVRF 2008’ is so totally unbalanced that your internal frustration metre is sure to frequently overload.

WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw: X360The absolute worst change to ‘SVR 2008’ though is the combining of the Season and General Manager modes into ’24/7’. The blend results in stilted gameplay reminiscent of ‘Raw 2’ for the original Xbox. Instead of actually wrestling, most of the time you will be charged with following a calendar and completing such enthralling tasks as signing autographs, cutting pay-per-view promos and engaging in exercises to better your abilities. None of these responsibilities are any fun at all. Yuke’s seems to have forgotten that there is a reason there are no pro-wrestling RPGs on the market today. Fans want in-ring action. They don’t want a business simulator.

If you didn’t know better, you swear Yuke’s just called this one in based on the lack of updates or improvements in so many areas of the game. The commentary is exactly the same as last year’s. The entrances and the type of matches are too. If you don’t own ’2007’, then ’2008’ is a great gaming purchase. Otherwise, you would be best saving your cash and sticking with ‘2007’ until Yuke’s takes another kick at the can.

‘Smackdown versus Raw 2008’
Publisher: THQ.
Developer: Yuke’s.
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Official Site: http://www.smackdownvsraw.com/

Rating: 6 / 10

 

 

‘Smackdown versus Raw 2008’ – Nintendo Wii

WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw: WiiAn anaemic release that’s missing most of the options available on the bigger and better 360 and PS3 versions. It should tell you something that the game manual is only four pages long. There is not much to describe or talk about. The only matches you will have to choose from are single, hardcore, tag, triple threat, and K.O. matches. No cage matches or battle royals? That’s just scandalous.

Also absent are the new wrestling styles, the 24/7 mode, online play and every “create” option except for “create-a-wrestler”. So, you can
generate your own grappler but you will have to use one of the entrances provided in the game. Makes sense, right?

Replacing the ‘24/7’ gameplay selection is something called “Main Event”. The storyline of this stripped down career mode is told via pithy cell phone messages. Between getting massages to restore health and training to boost your stats, you wrestle and are challenged by the same three
or four wrestlers until you beat them all individually and then another division of three or four competitors opens up. Because of its cyclical nature and no cut scenes to move the story along, “Main Event” is slow going. The “Tournament” or what I like to call the “King of the Ring” option has some variety to it with the “Beat The Clock” type challenge bouts.

WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw: WiiFor the Wii, the entire grappling system has been dumbed down to the point that all you can do is press A or B for strong or quick grappling moves and wave the Wiimote around frantically to throw punches and kicks. During the strong grapples, you will have to flick the Wiimote up, down, left or right to execute an airplane spin, piledrive them into the mat, chokeslam them or whatever moves have been assigned to your chosen wrestler. Making the player point the Wiimote in the direction of the particular move or taunt is oddly amusing. Parents may not be smiling too broadly though when they witness their children doing the old DX crotch chop over and over again. You have been warned.

‘Smackdown versus Raw 2008’
Publisher: THQ.
Developer: Yukes.
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Official Site: http://www.smackdownvsraw.com/

Rating: 4 / 10

 

 

‘Smackdown versus Raw 2008’ – Nintendo DS

WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw: DSOf all the different versions of this year’s WWE game, it is the DS adaption that really shows some originality. As an alternative to the tried and true button-mashing approach, Amaze has made ‘SVR 2008’ into a strategic game that exclusively employs the DS touch screen to play.

As you square off in the ring, hotspots appear on the screen indicating level 1, level 2 or level 3 type moves. After one of the attacks is chosen, the player must follow the onscreen actions with their stylus to complete the move. The actions themselves consist of tapping a hot spot over and over, etching spirals, sliding the stylus back and forth or dragging it along a meter or arrow. If you take too long to make your choice or complete the action, your rival will go on the attack instead.

It is quite mind-blowing that the developers crammed so many gameplay choices into one DS cartridge. There are 18 arenas available, six match types (regular, hardcore, last man standing, submission, iron man and 3 stages of hell) and in Season Mode the Smackdown, Raw and ECW paths all have their own unique storylines to play through. This may be the first and maybe the last circumstance in which a DS version puts the smackdown on the Wii edition of a game. It’s true. It’s damn true.

Not everything about ‘SVR 2008’ for the DS is as smooth as a Ric Flair strut however. The multiplayer is only multi-card play and you cannot create your own wrestlers, entrances or title belts.

 

 

‘Smackdown versus Raw 2008’
Publisher: THQ.
Developer: Amaze.
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Official Site: http://www.smackdownvsraw.com/

Rating: 7.5 / 10

 

 

‘Smackdown versus Raw 2008’ – Sony PSP

WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw: PSPAlthough the PS3 console version shares the same flaws as the 360 version, something can be said for such an in-depth port making its way to a
handheld system. There is no commentary and there are no ECW playable wrestlers at the start but other than that, the game is the same in all
respects as the one found on its bigger, more powerful brother. As Scott Hall used to say, to have such a powerful portable release is just too sweeeeet!

‘Smackdown versus Raw 2008’
Publisher: THQ.
Developer: Yuke‘s.
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Official Site: http://www.smackdownvsraw.com/

Rating: 7 / 10



 
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