9.0

WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW review
Yukes last WWE title...but did they go out with a bang?

The good:

-Improved weapon detection: all weapons connect properly
-Managers improved
-Legends truly make this game one step above HCTP: without them, its basically on par with it.
-Some good-voiceovers
-Cole and Tazz provide excellent commentary
-Season mode is so-so
-The realism of every character: you really feel the part
-The face/heel meter
-Create a pay-per-view
-Create a belt

The bad:

-Terrible JR and King commentary.
-Some voice-overs are truly awful eg. Kane and RVD.
-Lots of things taken out such as winning moves.
-Very much opinionated, but in my honest opinion, the CAW mode has gotten worse.
-Countering can be a pain: especially in multi-player.

Summary:

This game is not a bad game. Its better than HCTP in some ways, and worse than it in others. This has to be one of the most opinionated games that has ever graced a console: just like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. As for me? I love it. It has its problems, but at the end of the day, it has surpassed HCTP: which many considered the best wrestling game of all time. So to start things off...what went wrong?

Well, firstly, only very few voice-overs unfortunately are any good. Kurt Angle, Eric Bischoff, Shelton Benjamin, Christian, Vince McMahon all provide some good voices...but compare that to the other superstars on the realtively small roster, and you can see that the bad outways the good. Some people really do not put in any effort. Sure, Eddie Guerrero gets in his 'eses' and his 'amigos': but theres no spark. There is none of that fiery latino passion when he's on the mic: he sounds like a guy on his lunch-break who has been rudely interupted to record a few lines for a local website.

Secondly, countering can be a pain. 2P matches always end up with one guy feeling that he was unfairly cheated out of a chance at victory, because the R2 button wasn't doing its job. Finally, after some testing, here is the conclusion on the new countering system:
You can ONLY counter a move if you are not groggy.
As you can see, this has its major flaws. Its basically down to one person beating on another, making a mistake, and the system reverses. Just like real WWE I suppose, but somethings are better kept to the real-life ring.

CAW mode has also gotten marginally worse, but you can live with it I'm sure.

But lets get onto the good points: what truly makes SvR a good game. Tazz and Coles commentary for one. Full of humour, insights, and good calling of moves, this is the perfect compliment to a match.
Nextly, all weapons connect. I mean ALL weapons. Even a title belt can be used, and theres nothing more sastisfiying that running and cracking your opponent over the head with the title belt while you manager on the outside distracts the referee. You heard me. They behave just like a real manager would.

Nextly, season mode has been torn apart, and made more linear: but it provides the best storylines yet. Its only truly once you make some way with season, that you see where the games title comes from. I won't spoil it, but somehow I think you've figured it out already. You can use the money that you get in this new season mode to buy things in shopzone: namely, the legends. In my opinion, they make the game. No more George Steeles and Hillbilly Jims: this time, we've got Mankind, Bret Hart, Andre the Giant, Masked Kane, Legion of Doom, Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, Old Undertaker, The Rock: its enough to make any wrestling fan go weak at the knees.
Not only are these legends here, they're also in full character: along with every other wrestler. Yes, the roster may be smaller, but every wrestler has truly been picked apart and crafted to perfection. No matter who you are wrestling as, you feel as if you're wrestling as them, and not just another bunch of polygons: although there are significantly more polygons than before as well. Something that helps this realism is the new face/heel or clean/dirty meter. Get your clean meter full, and you become invincible for a short period of time, and all moves become more powerful. Get your dirty meter full, and you can give a full force low-blow to the opponent with the strength of a finisher. Dirty is by far more fun to be, with things like removing turnbuckle pads, complaining to the ref, breaking up your own pins and ignoring ropebreak all adding up to your meter. Clean can be fun as well, with high-flying moves, tautning, signiture grapples and other such things all adding to your meter.

Finally, we see the return of create-a-ppv. Its great fun. Not as much as I was hoping for with things such as making storylines, but its still quite good, with an impressive hype video before each PPV and a fireworks display. Create a belt is another new feature, which I have not yet used and cannot comment on. Online also makes its debut, but again I haven't yet used it.

In conclusion, SvR is a good game. Its not brilliant, but its the best wrestling game out there on the market: you owe it to THQ and Yukes loyal programmers to at least give this game a try. I did, and didn't look back.

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