Review by KFantasy017

"I expected a lot more from this game."

I have re-sent this review, after completing season mode. So, the review score is a bit higher now.


Smackdown! vs. Raw is the latest PS2 wrestling game from THQ. After coming off the success that was Here Comes the Pain, I was really expecting quite a bit from this game. Did it deliver all that I wanted? No, not exactly. Did it deliver enough to make the game fun? Somewhat.


Perhaps the most important part of a wrestling game is the game play. I mean, if the game isn't fun, why bother playing it? Thankfully, SvR still has the solid game play that Here Comes the Pain did.

The grappling system is the same as HCtP. You have 20 or so front grapples, and 8 back grapples. The striking system is the same as well, so if you hit X plus a directional button, you'll perform a different move then just pressing X.

All of the game modes that I remember are back. Matches like Hell in a Cell, Elimination Chamber, and the ever so popular Bra and Panties are back. Plus, during matches, there are "mini-games" to play. Things like a shoving contest at the start to see which wrestler makes the first move, or a chopping contest in the corner give this game a better sense of realism then past entries in the series.

The Legends, while costing 18000 or so dollars in the shopzone, can only be used in exhibition. My question to THQ is, why bother buying the legends, other then for the sake of completion, if they can only be used in random exhibitions?

Several titles have also vanished from the game. There is no longer a Cruserweight title or even tag titles for that matter. To make up for this, THQ added a Create a Belt mode, where you use money earned from Season mode or the challenges to create your own belt that you can defend and win, just like any other title.

A new feature is the Challenges mode, where you are told instructions on what to do in single player exhibition matches. Some challenges include Stealing the opponents finisher, or winning an elimination chamber match. Of course, what would a challenge be without a reward? If you complete a challenge, you will be rewarded with money to be used for creating belts or the shopzone.

Now, some may be disappointed in the sense that nearly everything about the game play is the same as HCtP. I can see what you mean. Why bother paying the extra money to get an updated version of the same game? There are new features like the voice acting or online mode that could keep you entertained for a while.


Good Points:

-If you have played previous entries, you don't have to worry about getting used to controls, they are pretty much the same.
-The game play is still fun and easy to play.
-New features, such as the challenge mode, along with old favorites are back.

Bad Points:

-Just an improvement over HCtP, sometimes being exactly the same as it.
-Legends can only be used in Exhibition.
-Does get a bit tedious after a while.

Create a Wrestler

The create a wrestler, while going into a bit more detail then HCtP, felt a bit watered down. In past entries, there were several hair styles, shirts, and pants that I thought would be cool to have, but in here, I only found two that were even somewhat interesting for each category.

Sadly, the entrance customization that was in Day of Reckoning is gone. I thought this was supposed to be an improvement, not two steps forward and one step back. I guess I thought wrong.

Creating a move set is pretty much the same as HCtP as well. Most of the old moves are back, along with some new ones. You can choose to be a brawler character, and fight with punches or kicks and such, or you can be a grappler, and fight with multiple grapple techniques. The customization is still here, and is still just as good as ever.

By the way, the Goku hair along with other DBZ things are in the game. =)


Good Points:

-Still has the many choices to pick for your character.
-Old moves return, along with some newly added ones.
-DBZ things are back.

Bad Points:

-Not enough choices to have many interesting options.
-Entrance Customization is gone
-Very limited amount of items are aloud on your CAW.

Season Mode

The season mode is similar to Day of Reckoning, and similar to Here Comes the Pain as well.

Now, since I have only gone through the season mode once, I'm not 100% sure about one thing I will say, but the rest I am sure of.

After playing through the game once, and talking about it with my brothers, I noticed that the storylines were exactly the same (with the exception of which superstars said what, since we were on different shows).

I know that it would cost more money to get voice acting for multiple storylines, but if it means losing the voices for mutliple storylines, I say go ahead and do so.

Though, unlike Day of Reckoning, where you could only enter Story Mode once, and it was the same everytime, if you re-enter the Season Mode as the champion, you will get a new set of storylines, thankfully.

Also, I noticed that most of the storylines were the same; You get into a fight with someone, they don't like you, you don't like them, and you have to go through pointless matches until the next PPV where you finally face them. Then the storyline just ends and you repeat with a new opponent.

Disappointing. Very disappointing.


Voice Acting/Commentary

Note: I won't be giving good points/bad points for this, as there aren't enough for both sides.

The voice acting, while a major improvement over previous attempts, still falls short. Some lines, mostly by superstars who barely get any mic time in real life, were pretty damned good. An example of this would be Garrison Cade, in my opinion.

Then, there are the lines that don't do so well. Mainly Eric Bischoff. It seems that he didn't even bother to put ANY effort into the lines.

The commentary is a bit laggy at times. An example is, if I play as Randy Orton, and I hit the RKO, it could take a minute afterwards for the commentary to say that I hit the move.

During the entrance, it goes something like this:

"Making [his/her/their] way to the ring ...PAUSE... weighing in at..." you get the point...

I understand that the system needs to recognize and find the data for the superstar, but c'mon. You could at least try and cut down the pause a bit more.

A nice attempt at voice acting, but in the end, it still falls short.


Rent or Buy?

I'd say rent it first. It's possible to create a wrestler, play through story mode, and have enough fun within the five days. If you want to keep playing it, either rent it again, or buy it. (Though I recommend keeping it at a rent, since it's much cheaper in the long run.)

Final Score: 7/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 12/20/04, Updated 08/31/07

Game Release: WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw (US, 11/02/04)

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