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'SVR 2009': The champ is here

Nov 25, 2008

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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Smackdown Versus Raw 2009Like a grappler arguing with a WWE official over a slow count, we have accused THQ and developer Yuke’s of being skimpy when it comes to the new changes to the ‘Smackdown Versus Raw’ game over the years. Not so in 2009. It seems that both parties have listened intently to both fans and critics, and instituted some long-awaited modifications to not only the gameplay but to everything from the characters themselves to the modes that are available.

How deep are the edits and changes? For the first time I recall, Yuke's has even updated and altered the moves of many of the wrestlers who have appeared in past editions. Take someone like Canadian superstar, Edge. They have added in his Edge-o-matic DDT, a big boot to the face and several other mauling moves he never had before to compliment his current style. Adding someone like Chris Jericho and writing in the return of `Nature Boy`Ric Flair (in cut scenes only) shows what a handle Yuke’s has on the series.

Smackdown Versus Raw 2009Ditching the hideous and lame training and wrestler categories from 2008 which put distressing sleeper holds on the in-ring action, the Career and Road to WrestleMania modes in 2009 are the strategies that have always worked best in the franchise…and I am not talking about Shane Douglas or Sting either. In Career, players wrestle through a gauntlet of contenders before challenging for various championship belts. There is no storyline to follow, just match after match to compete in. Road to WrestleMania is the opposite. Depending on which wrestler you pick, you will experience a different path to the ultimate prize: a match at WrestleMania.

The narratives themselves will bring a smile to the face of any wrestling fan as the writers at Yuke`s have really done their homework. During Triple H`s Road to Wrestlemania, The Game is caught between reforming Evolution with Randy Orton and Batista or teaming with Shawn Michaels to reunite D-Generation X. Chris Jericho`s story features him being pestered by a masked man and no, it isn`t Brutus Beefcake or Ric Flair, folks. As the mystery grows, you decide which wrestlers Lionheart will interrogate to get to the truth. Whomever you pick, the stories and cut scenes in Road to Wrestlemania are great fun to watch as they unfold.

Smackdown Versus Raw 2009`Smackdown Versus Raw 2009`is packed with so many choices. Beyond creating your own characters, for the first time you can edit federation rosters to mimic the current state of the WWE, design your own finishing moves and edit together your own match highlight reels so you can save them and share them with friends.

Yuke`s has finally addressed some of the shortcomings of the series as well. No longer will you be defenceless when you are knocked on your butt or get caught taking blow after blow just because you fell to the mat. The new-fangled `defensive stance` allows you to protect yourself as you get back to your feet thereby putting an end to that unfair strategy of putting the boots to someone so they cannot recover. The annoying targeting system seems to have worked itself out too with the default being you attack whomever you are closest to. Makes perfect sense, no?

Smackdown Versus Raw 2009The only new bout in 2009 is the frail Inferno Match. You know, the one in which fire rages all around the ring and the goal is to barbecue your foe? All in all, being stuck inside the ring with no place to go ain’t all it is cracked up to be. Sabu and Terry Funk agree. They should have done a Barbed Wire Match instead.

‘Smackdown Versus Raw 2009’ is a winning back to basics approach that combines new content with many refinements that were long overdue. Yuke`s really did tear the game apart this time and put it all back together so that it is better than it ever was before. ‘Smackdown Versus Raw 2009’ is the best there is, best there was and quite possibly the best there ever will be as far as wrestling video games go.

 

Smackdown Versus Raw 2009
Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Yuke’s
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Official Site: http://www.smackdownvsraw.com/

Rating: 9.5 / 10

Format notes

Smackdown Versus Raw 2009
Format: PSP
Developer: Yuke’s
A perfect handheld version of the console title. The level of detail will absolutely astound you.

Smackdown Versus Raw 2009
Format: DS
Developer: Tose Software
The combat system from 2008 that required you to draw circles and lines on the touch screen has been totally scrapped in favour of a more traditional gameplay mechanic. To be honest, it works a heck of a lot better. Again, the back to basics approach scores highly.

Smackdown Versus Raw 2009
Format: PS2, Wii
Developer: Yuke’s Software
Both are comparable in the sense that the graphics suffer because of the low horsepower of both systems. We are talking old PC style graphics here. The Wii`s innovative controls make for a unique gameplay experience but your character`s arsenal will be limited.


 
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