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WWE SmackDown Vs Raw 2009 Review

Yuke's makes ammends for last year's terrible beatdown

To be frank, we're astonished. It's not that this year's iteration of the WWE Smackdown series on Wii is actually really good, although that certainly surprised us too considering last year's woeful effort. It's not even that Yuke's has finally found a decent use for the motion controls that it seems determined to shoehorn into the Wii versions of its wrestling titles. No, we're astonished because after literally years of reviewing wrestling games and complaining about their shortcomings, it seems that not only has somebody listened to the collective feedback but also fixed practically everything in one fell swoop.

The more we played WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 09, the more little things we noticed that were always on our wish list but never materialised last time. The champions actually come out with their belts and get announced as champions, even if it's a title change that you made happen.

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There's a seriously extensive roster editor, that allows you to chop and change brands, titles and even face/heel traits among wrestlers to match real life events. There's an on-screen gauge that tells you how close your wrestler is to recovering after a knockdown, rather than the game just telling you to 'Press Any Button Repeatedly'. They might be minor elements, but the fact that they exist in such a solid form this time around speaks volumes about how hard Yuke's has tried.

The King Of Kings

And then, of course, there's the game itself. Unlike last year's game, it's got a beefy roster of wrestlers and, more importantly, almost every match type going (bar the lack of an Elimination Chamber, that is). It's got extensive creation modes - wrestler, move set and interactive entrances - that offer oodles of messing around time, although sadly the Create A Finisher mode seen in other console versions isn't here. And it's got not one, but two single-player modes: an enjoyable career mode that forgoes the usual scripted plots for wrestler progression and belt winning, and a very decent Road To Wrestlemania mode that features six different TV-based, wrestler-themed storylines to play through. Needless to say, we're rather impressed.

Perhaps not as impressed, however, as we are with the new context-sensitive motion controls. Yes, you still have to waggle the Remote to strike or grapple (depending on the buttons held), but now that you get to choose the moves you do by responding to the on-screen prompts during grapples, there's actually a point to all that Remote waving. The interactive entrances to help build crowd momentum work really well too.

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Granted, the motion controls aren't entirely perfect. Some motions don't respond particularly well and sometimes it'll

do moves other than what you were aiming for but considering that's as much the fault of the Wii Remote than the developer (*cough* Samba De Amigo *cough*) and how solid the rest of the game is, it's hard not to be impressed. Smackdown Vs Raw 09, the best wrestling game for years? As much as we hate to admit it, we have to agree.

Comments

22 comments so far...
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  1. Icarus_Kid Thursday 6th Nov 2008 at 12:11

    Those screens look desgusting :?

  2. slangman Thursday 6th Nov 2008 at 12:43

    So does it play like the other console versions now? Dunno if i will get it though, the screanshots look quite meh.

  3. bushmistro1 Thursday 6th Nov 2008 at 13:09

    yh tese screenshots dont look that gd but is there DLC or not neither the less im gonna buy it anyway overall a lot better tho

  4. Andy88 Thursday 6th Nov 2008 at 15:16

    Day of Reckoning 2 on GameCube looked brilliant - but this is a step down.

    doesn't make sense! :?

  5. cookey Thursday 6th Nov 2008 at 15:27

    I'm buying this tomorrow! Although am disappointed by the lack of elimination chamber and inferno matches.

    As for how the game looks on the wii, well heres Chris Jericho's entrance: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=0T8tiJbmrfg

    Unlike the PS3/360 versions, we actually get all the real entrance themes too!

    Cannot wait to start the road to WM!

  6. majin buu Thursday 6th Nov 2008 at 16:24

    Here is a screen from the Wii version. Looks better than ONM's. :P http://i416.photobucket.com/albums/pp247/majinbuu1302/GAM205rev_wwewii_g9--article_image.jpg

  7. Phoenix Wright Thursday 6th Nov 2008 at 16:27

    Far too much moaning from all of you - those screenshots are fine, since the Wii is NEVER going to produce the high quality graphics you desire.

    I'd have gotten this had I not bought a PS3 lately...I just don't need to own the same game twice, really.

    I THINK those are some prettiful and adequate graphics - certainly enough to get the job done, and nowhere NEAR pixellated enough to ruin it...shut ya mouth and actually look for some moving footage and THEN decide.

    ...Those shadows are worrying though. =/

  8. Oxo64 Thursday 6th Nov 2008 at 17:17

    Even though its been improved since the last game, why is the Wii still getting less than on the other consoles?
    I could understand if the difference was in the graphics but to have less in terms of game modes seems a little unfair...

    anyone know if Rob Van Dam is back in this one?

  9. chazrinelli Thursday 6th Nov 2008 at 18:34

    OH EM GEE!!!!!!!!!! The entrances look fantastic! I was so looking for ward to create a finisher though :( Oh well, thank god there is a story mode to it :)

  10. phil44 Friday 7th Nov 2008 at 18:00

    i agree with oxo64 there is absoloutely no reason for missing out any game modes etc in wii games compared to the other consoles.
    The graphics look fine to me ok maybe not as good as day of wreakoning but still. we admit graphics arnt the best for wii games but should not affect game modes etc.

  11. The Timesplitter Friday 7th Nov 2008 at 18:05

    OMG! I hoped this would be rubbish so i woudln't feel bad about getting last year's. GAH! The only good thing on that game was the custom characters. I made Hitler, the Hurricane, Freddie...and now i have to make them all again

  12. Mama Luigi Friday 7th Nov 2008 at 22:52

    Wrestling games haven't been good since the N64 days and you know it ONM.

  13. Phoenix Wright Saturday 8th Nov 2008 at 03:15

    Wrestling games haven't been good since the N64 days and you know it ONM.

    ...So, me enjoying the SD series so far is a fantasy? Oo
    That line is SO old and just totally lame reasoning - and you all know it too! :roll:

  14. cookey Saturday 8th Nov 2008 at 10:05

    It is a good and really enjoyable game guys! Online works, although with a minor lag, and the controls are awesome! Me and my girlfriend have actually had competitive matches!

    Not to forget that wwe.com have been giving away a new unlockable feature every day here: http://www.wwe.com/inside/news/sdvsraw09/unlockables/undefined

  15. The Timesplitter Saturday 8th Nov 2008 at 13:38

    Wrestling games haven't been good since the N64 days and you know it ONM.

    You just mean on Nintendo? Because I've played TNA Impact on my mate's 360 and its pretty good, but he didn't tell me the controls :(

  16. Super_Sonic96 Saturday 8th Nov 2008 at 20:10

    I stopped watching wrestling ages ago. In my opinion it's just silly kids show where sweaty people pretend to hit each other.

  17. link12345 Saturday 8th Nov 2008 at 20:37

    Far too much moaning from all of you - those screenshots are fine, since the Wii is NEVER going to produce the high quality graphics you desire.

    I'd have gotten this had I not bought a PS3 lately...I just don't need to own the same game twice, really.

    I THINK those are some prettiful and adequate graphics - certainly enough to get the job done, and nowhere NEAR pixellated enough to ruin it...shut ya mouth and actually look for some moving footage and THEN decide.

    ...Those shadows are worrying though. =/

    how could you say wii grafics are bad :x have you ever played okami its a great action and adventure game ond also has unbelivable grafics 8)

  18. majin buu Sunday 9th Nov 2008 at 14:23

    Far too much moaning from all of you - those screenshots are fine, since the Wii is NEVER going to produce the high quality graphics you desire.

    I'd have gotten this had I not bought a PS3 lately...I just don't need to own the same game twice, really.

    I THINK those are some prettiful and adequate graphics - certainly enough to get the job done, and nowhere NEAR pixellated enough to ruin it...shut ya mouth and actually look for some moving footage and THEN decide.

    ...Those shadows are worrying though. =/

    how could you say wii grafics are bad :x have you ever played okami its a great action and adventure game ond also has unbelivable grafics 8)


    Why don't you bold the bit where he said the graphics are bad, oh wait you can't because he didn't. :roll:

  19. hulkbuster Thursday 13th Nov 2008 at 10:13

    I got a copy this week on PS3 as it plays and looks better and in all is a better game than last years mess :!: .

  20. lfcwaluigi1 Saturday 15th Nov 2008 at 16:40

    did anyone else like the general manager sections like on the 05 one
    i thought they were good idea and would be a good game on thier own with more depth to it
    kind of like football manager games

  21. Cartoon Head Saturday 22nd Nov 2008 at 09:36

    The controls really suck, will be ebaying this asap.

  22. mantisboy1 Wednesday 22nd Jul 2009 at 20:39

    Ok, this seem's good.

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