Review by TheUndertaker77

Reviewed: 11/23/05

The best WWE game ever

---WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2006---

Finally, it's here. SmackDown vs. RAW 2006 is here, and it's better than any other wrestling game out there.

---Graphics - 9.5/10---

The graphics in here are definitely better than they were before. All of the wrestlers look real, and the environments don't look so shoddy anymore. As a matter of fact, when you play through Season Mode, when you watch the cutscenes you'll say, "Hey, it looks just like I'm actually watching wrestling!" However, the graphics for the audience are pathetic. The people in the first few rows are blocky, and the ones behind them are nothing but 2D figures made out of cardboard. This really doesn't make a difference, but it's worthy of taking off half of a point.

---Sound - 8/10---

Sound, for the most part, is pretty good. When you get punched, it sounds like you got punched, when you get kicked, it sounds like you got kicked, and so on. The entrance music is just like it is in real life, with a few exceptions. Some of the songs are fake, but most of them are real. The menu music is very, very bad. Luckily, you can turn it off. The commentary by J.R. and The King is pretty good, but Tazz and Cole suck (mainly because Tazz calls Cole "girlpants" every 60 seconds). It's repetitive, but at least it gives you something to listen to while wrestling. If you don't like it, you can turn it off. The voice acting is superb. It's definitely a big improvement from last year.

---Exhibition Mode - 10/10---

There are plenty of matches to play in. Ladder Matches, Table Matches, First Blood Matches, Steel Cage Matches, Tag Team Matches, The Elimination Chamber, and tons more. There are over 100 types of matches. And we have three new ones. The Buried Alive Match, which is really nothing more than an improved version of the Casket Match. Still, it's fun, and the last time we've seen a Casket Match was in SmackDown 2. The Backstage Brawl, where you can dish out punishment in a bar or parking lot. This is loads of fun. And last, but not least, is the Fulfill Your Fantasy Match, where you play as a Diva and fill up your Fantasy Meter. I still wanted a Bullrope Match, but oh well. Title defenses are also available.

---Season Mode - 9.5/10---

The first thing I'd like to point out is that Season Mode is now much more cinematic. As I said before, it's just like watching a real RAW or SmackDown show. And now everyone has their own unique Season Mode. However, most of them have a lot of the same stories. Still, the ending is usually unique. For example, Undertaker and Eddie Guerrero have all of the same stories, but their final story is different (I won't give away any spoilers). The main problem here is the limitations. You can't make many choices here. Overall, it would be a 10, but without the freedom, it gets an 9.5.

---General Manager Mode - 9/10---

You play as the GM of either RAW or SmackDown and, well, manage the show. Pick your superstars, make your champions, and compete with the rival show for the better ratings. In order to win the GM of the Year Award, you must have a good plan for stealing the fans and ratings (easy enough) and a ton of patience. You'll soon learn that in order to prevail over the other show, you'll need to play dirty. And that's what makes it fun, right? It lacks some action, but any mode that allows you to take control of a brand and rob the other brand out of a victory is welcomed in the WWE series.

---Create Mode - 6/10---

I'd say it's improved, but not even close to being great. The move selections are very limited, and about half of the character designs and clothing won't please you. Creating an entrance was a good idea, but it's far too limited. And, the same applies for creating a title. While it's fun to take your created "masterpieces" into battle, I'd say that everything in create mode is very, very limited.

---The Controls - 8/10---

To keep it simple (which is the opposite of what the controls are), the controls are very unique, but complicated. Sometimes in order to perform a move you'll have to use an awkward button combination. While most of the time it is not a big deal, it's still notable. Eventually you'll master them, but it takes time. On the other hand, there are TONS of different moves for every character.

---Replay Value - 10/10---

And this is where the game truly shines. Every character has their own unique Season Mode, plus there are over 100 match types, about 50 characters, and a customizable Locker Room, various challenges, a General Manager mode, and a create mode. You'll be busy for a while.

---Gameplay - 9/10---

If you read the above sections, you'll see that there are tons of fun things to do. SmackDown vs. RAW 2006 provides one of the most interesting styles of gameplay out there.... a brutal wrestling game that requires strategy. There are only two things that were horrible:

The A.I. is really weak. Even on the Legend difficulty, your opponent really acts like they've been dropped on their heads a few thousand times. In the Elimination Chamber they'll climb on the chambers and hop down over and over again.

There's a bad usage of characters. Why would they add superstars like Spike Dudley, Paul London, Hurricane, The Bashams, and Charlie Haas instead of Hardcore Holly, Matt Hardy, MNM, Tyson Tomko, and Ken Kennedy? A lot of top characters were left out. And why did they add three Hulk Hogans? Wouldn't it be better to add one Hulk Hogan with three costumes? The removal of the legends Animal, Hawk, and Jimmy Snuka was really inconsiderate to all of their fans. Instead, they gave us British Bulldog and Junkyard Dog.

Other than that, it's pretty solid.

---Rent or Buy?---

Rent. I say that for every game. There's always a chance that you might be disappointed, so it's better to play it safe and make sure you like it before you buy it.

---Overall: 9 out of 10---

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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