Review by WarofZeus

"A pleasing experience that won't disappoint fans"

WWE Smackdown vs raw 2006 is the obvious sequel to the perhaps disappointing wwe smackdown vs raw. Fortunately, WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2006 is more than just an update of its predecessors. It is indeed a game that offers so much replay value to it that's unreal and in turn pleases fans of pretty much any wrestling game.

Gameplay 9\10
People who have played previous games of the serious won't feel too new to the gameplay. With that said, there are quite a few extra things that give this game a more releastic feel to it. For example, there is a whole stamina system that players must be aware of. You can't just use the same power moves and running grapples over and over again. It will undoubtly exhaust your wrestler. Balancing out between strikes, weak grapples, strong grapples, etc is the best way to play.

The second thing added is the momentum system. Moves, taunts, reversals and what not help you to increase your momentum. Once your momentum builds, you are at a finisher state. You may choose to save your finisher for later or use it right then. Using your finisher at that moment once when it builds, increases the damage done on your opponent than using it when you saved it.

Yukes's goal with the AI was to make it more of a challenge than it has been in the past couple of years. In some cases, Yukes has succeeded. You can't just use to the AI opponent for target practice anymore. You have to exactly have some skill to beat it. However, fighting the AI opponent can be frustrating at times when it continously reverses each and every one of your attacks leaving you losing all the time. I, personally recommend that you set the difficulty level on either normal or hard to have an enjoyable time against the AI.

Overall, anybody who likes wrestling games will be impressed on how Smackdown vs raw 2006 executes its gameplay. Most everything compiles to make the gameplay enjoyable and fun all at the same time.

Graphics 9\10
Do I really need to eliberate on great everything looks?!? The character models are superb. The wrestling arenas look fantastic. This is easy the best looking wrestler on the PS2.

Sound 8\10
The voice acting in this game is a huge improvement over last year. Most of the wrestlers pay respects to their television roles which a very good thing. It's a shame that the same can't be said about the commentary as well. Repetition and monotonous are the words to describe the it unfortunately.

The sound of wrestlers slaming each other on the mat are quite good and well executed. Each move has a respectable to sound to it.

Season\Story mode 9\10
The season has quite a high replay value considering the fact that you can go through many storylilnes across the two brands Raw and Smackdown. It is very structured despite some of the decisions you can make in some of the cutscenes. Still, you'll find something new when you play Season mode over and over again. This makes for a good reason to go and play the season mode again then just going back to earn more cash.

GM Mode 7\10
Wrestling fans shouldn't be too surprised that a mode like this has made it's way into a video game considering the fact that general managers are ever playing a key role in the storylines of the wrestling. You play as a GM of either Smackdown or RAW. Your goal is the beat the other brand by building up the better fan base at the end of the year. How do you that? You first have to draft your roster, then you make match cards throughout the year (of course you play the matches). You can even create a rivalry between superstars by having them involved in the same matches for a certain number of weeks.

You also have a budget to follow as well. In other words, you can't just draft the most highest rated superstars and make the best matches without it costing you. What this entails is that you might be working with more less popular superstars than you would actually want to.

Being the mode that it is, the GM mode has a lot of potential. It's pretty much just a lot of text menus which might sound disappointing. However, you must recognize that this is the first time that such a mode has been implemented. You can just see this mode overall as the building blocks for better things to come.

Online multiplayer 8\10
The most disappointing feature of last year's game was the inclusion of online play. Last year's game only supported single matches and the the ludicrous bra-and-panties match. This year online is completely different. You can wrestle up to four players online. Most of the matches that are available offline are available online. You can even trade CAWs with other people and wrestle for people's belts. Plus, all of your match records are recorded on through the online scoreboards.

While the above paragraph might sound good and all, I think you need to be aware about the negatives of online. The biggest problems concerning online play are the game's online community and the game's server. The online community has found obnoxious things to do to one another like cheating by using devices that often lead to an unfair experience for the another. Other things people do is used glitched unblockable moves on their opponents. This and some other things can leave you ticked beyond your wildest imagination.

The second major problem with the online play is the server. Gamespy hosts this game online and unfortunately it does an absolutely terrible job at hosting this game online. Sometimes after a match the game will freeze up. Another nuisance is that sometimes some of your wins or losses won't even count for some strange perverse reason. This and a couple of other server issues makes getting online more of a chore than an easy task.

Despite the problems, online can be great fun when playing with the right people. You will most undeniably have some memorable moments fighting against some of your buddies online in a fatal four way hell in a cell match. Trading CAWs and title matches can lead to a great social environment as

Extras\additions 8\10
Smackdown vs raw 2006 has included two new match types. The buried alive is a match where the object is to take the other wrestler down the ramp and bury him alive. The Fulfill your fantasy is a worthless addition in which you use women to fight with pillows, slap each other on the bottom, and to take off their bra and panties. The buried alive match is the only worthwhile new match addition while the Fulfill Your Fantasy could of just been overlooked.

The Create a Superstar is also back and better than ever which includes Day of Reckoning's create an entrance. The CAS itself is pretty much not too different than last years. It just has some things added here and there. The create an entrance is where you can actually customize your characters to more than just music, movie, and basic moves.

WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2006 is an incredible wrestler game overall. You will absolutely appreciate the fact that you had the opportunity to play it. If you are a fan of the smackdown games or just a fan of any wrestling game, then you should absolutely give this game a try.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/16/06

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