Let's fight! SmackDown vs Raw '09 preview build impressions

by: Nathan -
War...war never changes.

Neither do wrestling videogames for that matter. Not since the 3D game explosion that was the days of the PSX (original PlayStation, look it up) and the Nintendo 64 has there been a real drastic change in the way console gamers have slammed muscular man meat into each other (gratuitous homo-erotic joke...check). Do not speak to me of character creators or different match types, don't not accuse me of ignoring online gameplay or downloadable content, and don't bother mentioning fire-pro wrestling. Fundamentally the game play hasn't changed much from the basic punch, kick, grapple, pin, run, whip, block, target, interact mechanics that made them fun to play back in the day. Except of button smashing to escape a hold or recover from a blow, that was never fun. Some of these mechanics have been tweaked and there have been variations of them but the core is still there. Even the Wii with its unique controller(s) can't escape from the basics.

In the end that is what SmackDown vs. Raw '09 is, a basic wrestling game. If you ever played a wrestling videogame in the last 10 years you won't be finding anything new or excitement in the game mechanics here, however, as it is with well established genres like sports titles it's the little things that make the difference. SmackDown vs. Raw '09 has a full complement of oldie but goody matches like royal rumble (my personal favorite), cage match, handicap match, four person matches and fatal three-ways (<not a homo-erotic joke) as well as a very intriguing new entry called an inferno match. The inferno match along with the video editing options and create a finisher mode make up the highlights of the new features in SmackDown vs. Raw '09. While I won't go into much detail about the video editing mode, it's just like an easy to used basic video editor, I do want you to know how much fun it is to create your own finisher.

It is surprising how one little feature can make an entire game much more entertaining. The create a finisher mode works much like the create a trick mode in some of the Tony Hawk games in you are given a number of slots, in this case 10, to chose variations of moves. That doesn't sound like it would work does it? Ah, but the people at THQ designed the create a finisher mode intelligently so that each move transitions into the next so that there wouldn't be any  stuttering or impossible animations playing out before your eyes. After all if a wrestler has an opponent raised above their head they can't warp space and time to suddenly be able to knee them in the stomach. If your buying this game this winter quarter you should base your purchase on these questions a) Do I already have a current gen (excluding Wii) wrestling title? b) Won't I just ignore things like video editors and create modes? If you answered yes to both then this title probably isn't for you. However if you answered no then you might want to consider picking this one up and if your a Wii only owner and like wrestling video games then you should definitely consider picking this one up. In summary, SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 beats the poop out of Wii Music.
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