Review by Patriotwolf

"Everything You've Ever Asked For."

For years, THQ and Yukes have strived to produce the “best” wrestling game, every attempt to do so for the Xbox has met with failure, and although Day of Reckoning and it's sequel have been highly rated, none have been as good as the Smackdown series. Last year, THQ brought us Smackdown VS RAW, and it was widely regarding as the best in the series. Now, the 2006 installment has arrived, and although it has taken a few things from last years game out, it has given wrestling gamers nearly everything they have ever asked for, and is AT LEAST on par with WWF No Mercy, regarded as the best wrestling game ever.

Graphics-9.5: THQ has somehow found more power to siphon from the PS2 this time. Somehow, the wrestlers look even better this year, and with a few (very few) exceptions, are exactly like their real life counterparts. Even the Created Superstars, which now get 3D clothes, look better. You will enjoy watching the entrances, which are very accurate, even more now as a result. Most of the moves have been reanimated, and with the exception of Big Shows new chokeslam, look great. There is also a new blood affect. While during a match, if you happen to bust open your opponent, the blood will trickle on the ring. There are also many other small touches, like how they removed the “Smackdown” symbol that appears when you execute a finisher. The only problems I have with it is that the smoke and other effects during entrances could be better, and the menus are uninteresting and it's hard to find what you want at first.

Sound-8.5: The sound, for the most part, is unchanged. The voice acting is very well done in season for the most part, and the smacking of a steal chair or ladder off you opponent sounds as good as always. The soundtrack, however, is mostly hip-hop style and very limited.

Gameplay-10: Smackdown has always been strong in this area and this one is no exception. One big thing added this year is the stamina meter. You can't simply attack constantly or your wrestler will become drained, the more drained, the more vulnerable to attack. This one thing has changed the gameplay allot, for the better.(you can turn it off if you wish). Doing the same moves over and over will also slow your momentum, making it extremely hard to pull off a finisher. There is also a new sleeper system and every submission now includes a minigame. Additionally, every move can be accurately reversed, and it's now easier to reverse weapons. Honestly there is nothing I can really find wrong with it.

Features and Replay Value-10: Ok, let me run down the new stuff, *takes deep breath*; Create an Entrance, Create a Pay-Per=View, GM mode, Fulfill-Your-Fantasy, Buried Alive Match, THREE different backstage brawls, The Locker Room (like the “Crib” in NFL 2K5), tons of unlockables, THREE Hulk Hogans, two dozen gameplay and AI “sliders”, 40 different challenges, and online play that's more addictive than crack! *Gasps* Yup, that about does it…

Overall (Not and Average)-9.5: Even if you don't have PS2 online, this is the wrestling game you have been waiting years for.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 11/23/05

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