Review by Agnostic420

Reviewed: 11/17/05

Greatest WWE game ever? Possibly. Perfect? Not quite.

The wait is finally over. Smackdown vs Raw 2006 is out and it's a great game. With that being said however, there are some flaws. Some of them minor, some of them annoying, and some of them that makes you question what the heck they were thinking. Enough talk, lets get to the review.

Graphics - 9/10

The graphics in this game are great. The wrestlers, for the most part, look dead on. Really great work. The crowd even looks half-way realistic. Only downfall, IMO, is some of the graphics during the season mode don't look too realistic, but other then that, the graphics are pretty spot-on in terms of wrestler appearances etc.

Sound 6/10

The entrance music is pretty good. However, at times you may feel as if the entrance music is too slow, or distorted. For some, most of this won't be a problem seeing as , eventually, most people turn the entrances off.

The menu music on the other hand, is... really bad. I guess you could turn it off in the options or mute the TV, but it gets really boring, really annoying, really fast. This is my personal opinion though. Although from what I have seen, the music is terrible. And thankfully, no more music during matches. However, the commentary is repetitive and boring.

Modes - 10

This game has so many modes of play, it's almost unreal. With the all new implements, such as GM Mode, 2 years (roughly) of story mode (Raw/Smackdown) , and a greatly updated on-line play, this game seems to be a game that will keep you entertained for a great deal of time. Just to give a simple list of the extra modes, we have: GM mode, Season (roughly 2 years), Create a PPV (made better then last years), A newly crafted CAW system with much more realistic CAW's (more on that later) and also Exhibition title matches with your own custom champions!

GM Mode - 8

Basically you take over your brand, (Smackdown or RAW) and compete against the other brand for ratings, money and prestige. You will set up your own shows, Set up your own feuds, attack the other brand, Do your own interview segments/show hypes etc. Much of this will be text based, however you may jump into the matches you make and play them at will. If you choose to send over a current superstar on your brand to invade the other show, they will interfere in a match on their card and start a brand war with each-other. This mode is very fun and strategic and has a lot of possibilities. You can draft up to 20 superstars per show, giving them contracts for set periods of time, and a spending limit. You may eventually trade with the other brand and sign free agents etc. This is a very fun mode that, with a friend, makes you a really great week ^_^

Season - 9

There is "2 years" of season. You can choose 1 year of RAW or 1 year of Smackdown. Unfortunately, they aren't really "two years". You will start @ Summerslam, and end @ Wrestlemania. Most of the in-game characters do have voice overs, which adds some more realism to the stories. Also, there is more then 1 set storyline throughout the game, and decisions that can be made to effect what happens next. Playing it through once on each brand, will still not get you everything there is to offer in terms of different storylines etc. You will have to use certain superstars to obtain certain storylines or parts of, in the game. Making for a substantial amount of re-playability.

Match Types - 10

There are tons of match types, a lot of them carried over from the previous Smackdown games. They have also added a Buried Alive Match as well as a Bar Room Brawl, as well as improvements on previous matches, such as the Cage matches, where you can now escape through the door and perform moves against the inside of the cage on your opponent. You will not get bored easily by the mass amounts of different match possibilities. Be warned tho, stay away from Elimination Chamber and matches involving climbing steel apparatuses to grab belts.

Online Mode - 9

The Good

The online mode in this game is pretty damn good. A lot more match times, 4 player battles and online title defending, it's really entertaining and fun. With the new ability to trade your Created Wrestlers with people makes for some great times and possibilities.

The Bad -

Gamespy, IMO, does a very poor job of hosting the online matches. You can enter a full lobby, at times. Sometimes you'll feel like you are the only one to come across high-speed internet. At other times, there will be nearly full lobbies. However, you can enter a full lobby, but beware, if you leave you may never be able to find it again. That's right. You leave a lobby and it just seems as if everybody drops off the face of the earth. This makes it pretty annoying and difficult at times to find people to trade CAW's with or perhaps for the those who wanted to start their own leagues. Hopefully they fix this in the future. Only other semi-problem with the online mode is the lag in 4 player matches. You may get lucky having everybody with a strong connection, but even then, there is lag.

Be aware of the bad players and people you may come across online. Some that like to quit, and some that like to cry and whine when things don't go there way. It may get highly annoying, but there are some good people out there to play with and against. (You rock Zurick)

CAW - 8 1/2

The CAW in this year, IMO, is greatly polished over last years, give or take a few details.

The Good -

Character creation this year has GREATLY improved. The CAW's at time almost look as good as the characters that were already implemented in the game. For all the "Gifted" and creative CAW makers out there, most of you will enjoy (including the people that want your CAW's) the fact that they can just so damn good ;) More call names have also been added which also adds to more possibilities. Most of everything has been carried over to this years version. Such as your titantron, music, entrance, and hometown etc. Another plus, as mentioned earlier, you can now TRADE your CAW's for others online which makes it, at times, much easier then having to make every single CAW you make. Unless of course you enjoy making them all, then you can do that. ;) Obviously.

The Bad -

Giving opponents a good moveset in this game, is much more limited to last year. There is now separate sections of moves, which will now no longer allow you to put in every move you want for your CAW unless you're ALMOST completely lucky. They have also removed a lot of the old moves in the game, such as the running Sweet Chin Music and Pedigree 1 etc, while leaving in the horribly animated moves, such as The Fisherman Suplex, which should have been reanimated since the first. The move system can be annoying at times if you want complete control over your characters moves, as in this year, that is not completely possible anymore.

Still with all that said, the CAW's look amazing in this game. Minus not being able to completely customize your moves anymore, it is still one of the best CAW modes in the Smackdown! Series.

AI/Gameplay - 6

Now I'm going to start with the bad, because well... most of its bad.

Ok. Here is one of the biggest problems, in almost every wrestling game. The AI. The AI in this game has improved in minor areas, and has gone completely to crap in others.

Don't even try and put yourself in a 1 players vs CPU ladder or TLC match for example. Your opponent will do NOTHING and i mean NOTHING but grab the ladder and climb. That's all they do. They climb, over and over and over. They do NOTHING but climb that ladder. They do not grapple with you unless you grapple with them. They will either climb the ladder and jump off or go for the belt. Making TLC's and Ladder matches without friends, useless.

Another annoying match, is the Elimination Chamber. Most of the times all your opponents will do is climb the chambers and jump off. Really repetitive, really annoying. Also, you cannot pin your opponent in this match. Everybody will break up the count. There are ways to avoid this, but it is almost impossible to do and not get frustrated.

Tag Team matches are also annoying. Yes you can all your partner in to make the save, but most of the times, they'll stand there like nothings going on and let you get beat. Also, the CPU loves to go outside and fight with your partner and leave the ring. It gets frustrating when you feel like the only way you can win is by using a tactic that normally should not have to be used.

Single player matches do not have many problems. However, if you fight a "Dirty" Opponent, a lot of the times, if you do not beat them up enough, they will go under the ring and grab a weapon and intentionally get themselves DQ'd for no reason at all.

In all the matches, on Normal mode and above, you will find that EVERY opponent will reverse nearly every other one of your moves, 75% of the time. They reverse A LOT. However, in exhibition modes (NON-Season) there isn't as much of a problem, as you can adjust them (more on that later). Skilled or not, this will get very frustrating.

The Good ... and bad. It's really hard.

Well... we have sliders. Unfortunately, most of them are for stuff that aren't that big of a problem. You can, for example, make your finishers more powerful as well as chairs, backstage environments etc, and you may turn down/up the CPU's reversal rate, Stamina Loss/Gain, and damage etc. Another unfortunate thing, most of the things you'd like to improve on, such as the horrible AI in the matches above etc, are nowhere to be found.

Some of you may get by with this and have no complaints, but it does at times become highly annoying and frustrating. I know nothing is perfect, but this isn't even close to being halfway decent.

With all that said, this is one of the best wrestling games to ever hit the PS2 in recent memory. The amount of modes and possibilities in this game are endless. There will be a few bumps in the road that will make you sit there and ask "Why" and "What the..." but you should be able to look past that.

Re-playability - 10

There is a TON of Re-playability in this game. 30 CAW spots per memory card. A hell of a lot of match types. Online play to face new opponents and degrees of difficulty. The ability to trade for CAW's not in the game online, the GM mode, New Story/Season mode that adds new elements to the previous installments. Create A PPV, Create a Belt, Exhibition title matches and defenses, and much much more, making this game one of the most re-playable WWE games in recent history that will keep you busy for quite a long time.

Overview -

If you can see past the frustration of certain matches, and the aggressiveness of the CPU and at times, (most of the time) lack there of AI, you will have yourself one of the best wrestling games to hit the PS2 in a long time. There is just too much good in this game that beats out the bad. The AI is the biggest factor, and almost the only factor, that this game did not receive a 10. I will not compare this game to No Mercy. No Mercy, in its prime, was the best wrestling game of its time. You cannot compare the 2 now. Times have changed, new systems have came out, some things cannot be duplicated as some will be made better. That is just the way it's going to be. There will never be the "Perfect" wrestling game. There will always be something, that somebody does not like and something that somebody wants in or doesn't want in, that doesn't go there way. As it goes, this is one of the best wrestling games to hit the market in quite a long time, if not the best. It has it's flaws, every game does.

Best wrestling game on the PS2.

With that said, "I give this game an 8, out of 10.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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