Review by R_J_T

"Best wrestling game on the market"

Smackdown! vs RAW 2006 Review
Another year, another Smackdown! game. After the disappointing Smackdown! vs RAW, I didn't have high hopes for Smackdown! vs RAW 2006. The name made it seem only like a slight update to the previous game. When i finally sat down and played the game though, i was very surprised. THQ and Yukes have actually gone and improved almost every flaw there has been in previous games and improved the graphics again to "XBOX like" quality. Also they have added new features like Create An Entrance, Stamina bar and a brilliant GM mode. So what do I think of the newest addition to the now famous Smackdown! series? Read below:

Gameplay 8.7/10
Gameplay is much more fun then Smackdown! vs RAW. Its about the same speed but its more realistic due to new features like the Stamina bar which means you cant run non-stop. Dont be fooled though, its not Here Comes the Pain gamestyle. SD! vs RAW 2006 is a wrestling sim, and its just like real wrestling.

Graphics 9.3/10
Very good. How Yukes have managed to get graphics as good as this on a PS2 console, we don't know. All the wrestler faces are digitally scanned so they are almost exactly like their real-life counterparts. CAW graphics are also very good though, but the old paint and design parts havent been upgraded so they look pixelated ingame so thats a small disappointment.

Lifespan 8.1/10
Season mode is poor. There are two seasons you can choose from, RAW or Smackdown. They are both different but once you have finished them, YOU HAVE finished them because they will be exactly the same when you play them again. The only options which make this game playable again and again are its excellent Create Modes and its new quite addictive GM Mode. Over one hundred matchtypes is good too.

Sound 6.9/10
Cool mat sounds, and good voiceovers but the commentary is awful. It seems the commentators only talk about wrestlers characters and out-of ring subjects! Its like they are not even watching the match. Its also extremley repetitive. But fortunately (Thank god!) you can turn it off in options mode. The Background Music is OK but some of the choices are a bit annoying. Half of the tracks are remix's of other songs which gives you hardly any options if you are making an original CAW.

Roster 8.7/10
Better then last years, better legend choices also but there still are some wrestlers missing from the line-up. But don't panic! You can just use the Create A Wrestler mode to create them! The Create A Wrestler mode is so good you can find CAWs online that look almost exactly like them.

Options 9.7/10
Create Modes...They are the single reason why I love the Smackdown! games. Making your very own wrestler and playing with him against your friends is very fun. With Smackdown! vs RAW last year the Create A Wrestler (CAW) mode was not good at all, and that is probably the main reason why people didnt like the game as much. This year its much improved, with a simple layout and lots of options its very cool. A new addition this year is Create An Entrance. Its a great feature, but is let down by its long loading times. There are also other options. Like Create-A-Belt for example where you can create your very own belt and now (new for 06) fight for it online with players from all over the globe. Also there is Create-A-Stable, where you can create your own Tag Team or Stable for Exhibition mode. And finally Create-A-Moveset where thousands of moves are listed so you can make your moveset as original as possible.

OVERALL: 8.6/10
This probably is the best wrestling game ever. The graphics are probably the best on the Playstation 2 right now. And the Create modes are great. THQ and Yukes just need to sort out issues like commentary and increase the lifespan of the game by improving Season Mode.

Buy Scale
Must buy! | Buy It | Buy it if you want | Try not to buy it | Dont buy it | KEEP OFF!

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/20/06

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