Review by Nega Elemental

"Best wrestling game to date."

After a pretty poor year with Smackdown vs RAW, Smackdown vs RAW 2006 is released. Does it deliver?

Graphics - 10/10
The graphics in this game are, simply put, amazing. In past Smackdown! games superstars looked good, but there was still something about them that seemed "cartoony", however now there is motion capture which adds to the realism look. CAWs don't seem to stand out in a crowd any more like they did in Smackdown! vs RAW. Blood actually looks real this year, it runs down the face and stains the mat. Main even matches(Ladder, cage etc.) have been re-animated to look the same as they do on TV. Excellent graphics.

Sound - 7/10
Sound effects are good this year, when a wrestler takes a bump, the mat sounds exactly the same as in real life. Voice-overs are a good improvement from last year, but they limit the season mode length. The downfall on sound is the menu music. There isn't many songs, and the ones that are in are just a plain annoying and repetitive.

Gameplay - 10/10
Awesome gameplay this year. The new major addition is the "stamina bar" which adds even more to the realism of matches. Superstars will get tired and show it if you are continually performing high flying attacks and running around the ring a lot, thus making them move slower. There is a new "GM Mode" which allows you to play as the Smackdown! or RAW GM and decide how to run your respective show, you decide the feuds, the champions, the matches among other things which adds an alternative to just playing match after match(not that this is a bad thing!). The old "fill up your finisher meter" has also been thrown out and replaced by a momentum meter, it works in a similar way, but adds more fun to a match as your momentum can shift. If you are laying into your opponent and he suddenly lands a high flying clothesline, expect your momentum to go down and his to rise.

Create mode - 9/10
An in-depth create mode this year round, Create a Wrestler mode has been majorly updated to make your CAWs look like actual wrestlers and not cardboard cut-outs. Create an Entrance has also been implemented, it allows you to decide what your superstar will do as he/she prepares to enter the ring, you can choose your pyro, camera effects and angles, music, lights and other things.
Create a Stable is in and is pretty much the same as last year except for the removal of that stupid "cant be in my stable cause your rating sucks" thing, which is a move for the best, and also a "teamwork rating" which determines how well your team works together.

Season - 9/10
Season mode is pretty darn good. It is only one year long for each superstar, but it has some good storylines, voice overs for your CAW are just awesome, they are however limited to only 5 different voices, but it's still a great addition. Rewards for winning matches are very good, you still have to gain experience points from season to improve your CAW, but it won't take very long at all if you play on Hard or Legend difficulty modes(2000+, 2500+ exp per show respectively).

A lot of effort has gone into this game and it shows, more new match types, create an entrance, and a GM mode are what the fans mainly wanted to see this year and they are all in. 9.6/10.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/16/05

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