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SmackDown Vs Raw 2008 (PS3)

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Manufacturer: THQ / Genre: Sports

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    8 Reviews
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      15.09.2009 14:01
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      A good wrestling game that fans will definitely enjoy. Others might not though.

      WWE Smackdon vs Raw is a game that comes out year on year. This is the 2008 edition which will soon be 2 years old. As such you will probably be able to pick it up cheaply.

      You will get what you expect with this game. It has quite a decent roster of WWE Superstars, along with some classic names from the past to be unlocked. The range of matches you can take part in is massive with pretty much every type of match going that they have on the shows. You can play with up to four friends at once all on the same console. You can even play against opponents online. Some of the matches can be have loads of people playing them.

      The game is fun to play. The controls are a little tricky at first & you'll probably find yourself getting countered several times before you finally get the hang of slamming your opponent.

      The graphics & sounds are good. All the showbiz element is there, with accurate ring entrances & posturing.

      In all this is a good westling game. I would recommend it to people who like wrestling. I don't think I would though to others. It maybe a bit fiddly & could do with being a bit more arcadey for mass appeal.

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      03.09.2009 10:06
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      It's the best out but not as good as its predecessor.

      I wanted to put this in the PS2 section but it looks like this game isn't in there. So I've had to put it in here. Please bare in mind that some of the features may or may not feature in the next-gen version.

      OVERVIEW:
      THQ makes another attempt to improve its yearly "Smackdown!" series, in its fourth Smackdown vs. Raw game in a row. The name of the game hasn't been changed for 4 years, and there should be no surprise that the gameplay mirrors that with this year's attempt feeling pretty much the same as last year's.

      The "Smackdown!" series has produced good games year after year for about the last three quarters of a decade, so it was no surprise that wrestling fans were feeling pretty pumped after hearing the news that THQ and Yukes were combining once again to make a 2008 instalment.

      A couple of nice, new features are the ECW Extreme Rules match and the Hall Of Fame Mode. Both, like the fighting styles, have been added to this year's game with some attempt at making them decent. Albeit not perfect, they definitely do add some fun to the gameplay, and will have you in the ring, for a short while at least.

      GAMEPLAY:
      Whoever was working on this years gameplay should be stamped on by Big Show, and choked out by Khali, because not only is it lacklustre, it is irritating and frustrating. Firstly, the wrestler's move sets have been depleted from 32 to just 16 moves. Secondly, you can only use finishers when you have full momentum. With a limited amount of time to actually perform your finisher before it disappears, it ruins any sense of drama or surprise, and is utterly frustrating when the COM reverses it, meaning you have to start all over again!

      One thing that has been done fairly well is the new wrestler fighting styles. High-flyers like Rey Mysterio and technicians like Finlay finally get the move sets they (sort-of) deserve, as each superstar is given two styles to work with, and each has their own special ability. It does add to matches and makes then more realistic, but after about 15-20 battles, some of them do get annoyingly repetitive and almost bizarre (e.g. Batista kicking out of a pin and flinging Kane into the air.....yeah, I don't think so).

      GRAPHICS:
      The graphics have not really changed since 2007, but they still look superb. The wrestlers come to the ring with great detail and accuracy, and the rings, crowd and even the announcers are done nicely. The menu's as ever are easy to navigate, and also nice to look at.

      SOUND:
      The sound also is impressive, with all the grapplers entrance music correct and present, with some cool rock and rap tunes to keep your ears busy when your shifting through the games many menu and loading screen. Despite this, 2007 still has it beat when it comes to overall music taste. And continuing that point, we move onto the gameplay which, despite fans being promised a overhaul of the series, in fact revolutionizes the game in a different manner, as in, creating the "Smackdown!" series worse in-ring performance since the PS1 days.

      CONCLUSION:
      Overall, its definitely not a terrible game, but due to the high standards the past Smackdown games have given us, the whole thing feels rushed, unfinished and definitely doesn't feel champion in the ring. With only 40 ''superstars'' actually making it in, the only slobber knocker this game will be getting is the producer of this mess getting a kick up the backside.

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      12.08.2009 12:38
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      I was expecting better from THQ.

      I have been a fan of the Smackdown Vs Raw series since it was first released, however i think this product is a huge let down for THQ - it really represents a step backwards in the overall series.
      A good point of this game is that they have developed the specific fighting styles for different wrestlers, so, if your playing as a high flyer like Matt Hardy, it is very easy to pull of some of his spectacular moves. Flaming tables in Special matches have been introduced, which is probraly the best thing about this game - other than that, its a BIG dissapointment.
      The actual gameplay is pretty slow and rather poor, however this is partly made up by the fantastic graphics - you can clearly see beads of sweat on the wrestlers faces during close up shots!
      I find the online play extremly 'laggy' and you are not able to use all of the features that are included in the offline version of the game. I wouldn't recommend this product, as i believe it is a step backwards in the WWE series.

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      • More +
        10.06.2009 13:12
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        The best so far but still can be improved

        SmackDown Vs Raw 2008 is another example of games that improve that little bit more each year and get better. If you watch the wrestling shows then the main improvement each year is the inclusion of new faces and being able to pick your favourite superstar from an upto date roster.
        Each year the game play and graphics get better and better aswell.
        Now WWE as a sport is pretty mindless. 2 oversized men beating hell out of eachother in a staged choriographed show of dominance, but as a game its pretty gripping. Playing it, escpecially against your friends, a huge amount of competativness comes into play and you try desperatley to beat you opponent. The controls are easy to pick up and learn and game play itself is really no struggle.
        The career mode however still needs some inprovement. For one thing you may only compete in career mode with a certain number of superstars.
        The biggest downside is that of the limited of superstars on offer to colmplete a career with sadly some of them go throught the exact same pattern as others making the game at times very boring and predictable.
        There is a lot to do in order to complete the game and if you are a fan of the sport it is able to attract your attention and keep you playing for quiet some time. Its definatley the best so far but there is still room for improvement.

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        20.08.2008 19:47

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        only good if you have friends to play it with

        Not really a bad game and has come along alot since a few years ago when i bought my last wrestling game. To enjoy this game you dont have to like the actual program as i cant stand the real thing because it is so unrealistic, but when you get your friends around this becomes incredibly fun what could be more fun than hitting your friend with a steel chair or sledge hammer (more objects but i dont want to let to much away) The games can go on for quite a while but when you here the referee count to 3 it feels good. Back to the point of it being fun with friends, i found it very boring in single player mode, the comp is very easy to beat, also in carear mode you have training sessions but it doesnt tell you what to do you fight for about 30 secconds and the bell goes so a rather pointless game mode.
        On to the controls, basicly the same as the other games except the special moves you have to move the anolog stick but i also found that if you go down it puts them into a pin this gets annoying when you want to do a special and it pins when you know they will kick out.
        Last thing i noticed was that just like the old games you dont really have much choice of which way it is facing you sort of just have to keep moving back and forth untill it goes the way you want also you dont have choice of weather you want to kick or punch as they are the same button so it chooses for you.
        overall a good game for you and your friends to play together but single player is a complete letdown

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        13.06.2008 15:01

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        Good fun but it wont blow you away

        This title has moved forward a little bit since 2007 and the addition of new features has been a breath of fresh air in my opinion, however THQ clearly know they are on to a good thing with this game and know people will pay to be their favorite starts of the WWE regardless of the standard. No longer can you take Kane to the top rob and do a backflip on to your opponent, every wrestler now how their strengths defined which means you have to know what your skills are and play to them. However the game feels a little bit static and perhaps uncomfortable. You feel like you have to force characters around the ring to do anything. Also the story mode is good fun whilst you are doing it but yet again is very limited and therefore once you have done it once you don't really feel like doing it again. Good but not great.

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        05.01.2008 18:10

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        I bought mt boyfriend a ps3 60gb and smackdown vs raw and pre 2008 with it, he loves the pre 2008 but has played the wrestling game once and wants to trade it in..................dont know if this tells you all anything about this game.

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        27.11.2007 20:10
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        New SmackDown game

        ==The Game==

        WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2008 is the newest game from the WWE SmackDown! series and it was released on the 9th of November. It is a wrestling game based on the WWE programming, made by Yukes and published by THQ. The game has been released on the PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS, the later two of these have entirely different builds to the game and have few similarities to the review on this, the Playstation 3 version of the game.

        I bought this because I allows played the games in the series, as it was originally on the Playstation 1, so it was the easiest way to follow the WWF and play as my favourite characters. Now I don't really watch wrestling at all but just because the games are so good, I feel that I should continue to play the games.

        ===ECW===

        In the latest installment of the series, 'WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2008' has finally included the ECW brand of WWE into the game. The original sub-title for the game is 'ECW Invasion' and I feel that this matches very well, because of the way those particular wrestlers behave, their presence is more of an invasion than a simple addition to the company. Now the game "Features ECW" obviously this doesn't have the same impact on the audience. I preferred what they went with the first time around.

        In order to add this Extreme brand of World Wrestling Entertainment, they had to include something which embraced what ECW stands for, being extreme. This is the reason why the game now has an ECW Extreme Rules Match. They also only follow fundamental ECW rules on how to contest a bout, no count outs, disqualifications and the pins and submissions can only be awarded in the ring. They are no weapons laid-out randomly in the arena as a regular Hardcore match, they are under the ring. A key object which finally appeared in this match is the flaming table. This variation to the table match allows you to set this piece of furniture on fire before slamming your opponent on top of it. To set it, or anything else, on fire you must press triangle after gaining enough momentum for a finisher.

        One reason why fire wasn't included early was due to the fact its rating in the States is 'T, for Teen'. It would be a risk to add something like this to the game, because it may force its rating to be increased to 'M, for Mature'. This would drastically decrease the sales of the game, because the main audience would be able to purchase a Teen game alone, but a Mature game would be difficult, and fewer parents would be willing to buy a game with some much violence, from an entertainment company that's "not real". It seems that they have got away with adding this, in the hope no kids attempt to re-create this in their living room, or else it will definitely be upped to Mature.

        There have been other alterations to the game from the influence of ECW as well, notably the hardcore matches. There is a lot that the user is able to control this time around, one being the weapons found in and around the ring. Before each match, you get the option to choose all of the weapons around the ring, and whilst in-game as you go to look under the ring for a weapon, you will be greeted by a wheel of eight different weapons, of which you must choose one to attack the opponent with. There are many new animations added to all the weapons, you will be able to grapple and strike with all of them this year, adding to the variety possible in the game. The other object it is possible to light on fire is the barbed-wire 2X4, adding a greater amount of damage on impact.

        That little area that was included last year to act as a little hardcore area in the area has been brought back without any upgrades. It didn't change the game too much and I'd like them to bring back the backstage areas. When they said that you could fight in the crowd last year, everyone was excited until they found out how pointless it is, that has been brought back, with a little more added. Now you don't just toss the other wrestler over the guard rail, you do this, and then get an object from a fan, as WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2007, and then use this to punish your opponent whilst they are helpless to defend. You are able to take cups, sticks and crutches from them and hit them with it whilst they dangle over the rail.

        You are able to interact with the crowd a little more than the previous game as well. Last year, you were able to get the signs off them and react in whatever manner your superstar does. Now you can jump up on the guard rail, in a cut screen and wave your hands up, if you are a face wrestler. For heels, they will take a cup from a crowd member and spit the liquid at them, to a jeered response.


        ===Gameplay===

        ##Fighting Styles##

        A thing which made a comeback to the game is individual fighting styles for each of the wrestlers. Each of them will have a primary and secondary approach to completing the match, there are eight in total: Showman, Powerhouse, Technical, Dirty, Brawler, High-Flyer, Hardcore and Submission artist. What all of these consist of is obvious and they don't all work to the advantage of the wrestler all of the time, this depends on the match type and opponent. In order to build up the bar to be able to perform a finisher, you must do moves which are suited to these fighting variations.

        These actions come into play once you have filled-up your momentum meter, from here you can either use it as a finisher by using it before it has lost it's momentum, or store it, but now storing it means that you will use it for one of these specialized attacks. If you have picked for a superstar to have, for example Submission as primary and brawler as secondary, you can use all of the special submission attacks but only the secondary brawler ones. This is a great new creation and is sure to change the way you play the game, I can't wait to see how they will build on this in the future, because this is a great addition to the Ultimate Control Grapples of last year, which stems from playing different fighting styles.

        **Hardcore**

        You will already know what these superstars are about, punishing their opponents with the most viscous attack using weapons. They will work best when they are in a weapon-rich environment, but will also be useful in regular matches which see blood shed.

        Primary Ability:

        Hardcore Resurrection - slam chair into own head repetitively to build momentum

        Secondary Abilities:

        Hardcore Rejuvenation - Increase momentum after being cut open

        Armed and Dangerous - Place chair around neck, leg, or arm of opponent, for countless attacks

        Examples:

        Tommy Dreamer, Mick Foley, Sandman

        **Technical**

        The technicians tend to have a great deal of experience behind them, knowledgeable in what is expected of the opponent before they even come at you with an attack. They will know how to reverse these and put you in a tough situation.

        Primary Ability:

        Technically Sound - Counter all attacks automatically

        Secondary Abilities:

        Technical Immunity - Reverse all grapples

        Out of Ring Dive Attacks - Dive out of ring to opponent outside

        PIT Maneuver - Duck under opponent, who expecting to clothesline you, end up behind them, ready to attack

        Fake Irish Whip - Act as if you are going to Irish whip, but pull back opponent for a big throw or strike

        Examples:

        William Regal, MVP, Chavo Guerrero

        **High-Flyer**

        These wrestlers are not afraid to take risks; they will come at you will aerial attacks and various running grapples, making them so special in the game. It depends on what type of wrestling you prefer, but I think that using High-Flyers makes for the most fun type of match.

        Primary Ability:

        Possum Pin - Pretend to have an injury before coming with a surprise pin attempt

        Secondary Abilities:

        Out of Ring Dive Attacks - Dive out of ring onto other wrestler

        Evasive Roll - Roll away from a potential attack whilst on the canvas

        Turnbuckle Leapfrog - Jump onto turnbuckle after being Irish whipped their; ready to dive back at them

        Examples:

        Rey Mysterio, Jeff Hardy, Carlito

        **Brawler**

        Brawlers tend to be the wrestlers who just go for an all-out attack, they aren't too concerned about making their moves look nice, they are out there to win the match.

        Primary Ability:

        Wreck Shop - Reverse all attacks, your attacks are unblockable

        Secondary Abilities:

        Ground and Pound - Mount grounded wrestler, hit with strikes from fists and head

        Fists of Fury -Three unstoppable strikes knock down your opponent

        Examples:

        John Cena, Mark Henry, Shad

        **Powerhouse**

        These are the wrestlers who just come to hurt their opponent. They come out with the intention of just beating the opponent down with everything they have, which is usually a lot of strength and big strikes.

        Primary Ability:

        Rampage - Send your wrestler crazy; he can't feel pain, and he is able to use anything without it being possible to reverse

        Secondary Abilities:

        Irresistible Force - Throw opponent off you if they attempt a pin too early in the match

        Strong Irish Whip - Perform more powerful Irish whip; sends other wrestler over the top rope

        Examples:

        Bobby Lashley, Snitsky, Kane

        **Submission**

        The submission wrestlers know all the tricks to make you tap, they will use this knowledge to their advantage, going at each joint to see how far they can bend it before you admit defeat.

        Primary Ability:

        Ultimate Submission - Change any regular submission into Ultimate control one, for more damage

        Secondary Abilities:

        The Lock Pin - Power-out of a submission attempt if it's early on in the match

        Recovery Hold - Recover from injuries sustained during match by performing a hold, which will allow you to get your energy back

        Examples:

        CM Punk, Bret Hart, Chris Masters

        **Showman**

        A showman is interested in giving the fans a good time, so they will constantly taunt the other wrestler and use moves which are just for show.

        Primary Ability:

        Steal Finishing Move - Use opponent's special move

        Secondary Abilities:

        Mass Appeal - Gain momentum by performing numerous taunts; getting the crowd on your side

        Gimmick Infringement - Steal opponent's taunt

        Mass Exposure -Perform taunt on top rope; where everyone can see you

        Examples:

        Matt Hardy, Kelly Kelly, King Booker

        **Dirty**

        These can be the most fun to play as, because they are able to stretch all of the rules within the game without being punished for it, it's the easy way out of wrestling the game, but that's how they get the job done.

        Primary Ability:

        Super Dirty Move - Big low blow

        Secondary Abilities:

        Referee Shield - Hide behind ref after grabbing them and putting them between you and opponent

        Argue with Referee - After unsuccessful pin, argue with ref about 2-count

        Ignore Rope break -Ignore ref when he tells you to let go of submission after five seconds on the rope

        Strip Turnbuckle - Expose steel of turnbuckle for maximum corner damage

        Examples:

        Randy Orton, Edge, Ric Flair

        ##Submissions##

        A new system which has altered the way you are able to play the game as far as submission go is the 'Struggle Submission System' (SSS). The SSS allows you to have full control of the application of these holds, how much pressure is given and when to release. This is a great new feature, because it makes the game a lot more interactive and you no longer feel as though you are forced to watch you character do things, you feel that you are making them do it. It's very simple to alter this too as you simply slide the analogue stick around, but you don't just keep it on the highest level of pressure as this is likely to wear-down your stamina.

        When you are on the other side of this hold, the analogue is also of use to try and get yourself out of the hold. The victim of the submission hold has to escape in a new way which I recognize from the 'Splinter Cell' gaming series, where you would pick locks; it translates perfectly onto this game, as you have to search with the analogue stick for a key point where you can break the hold. I feel that they have really simplified the game and it makes it a lot easier to play.

        ===Head-Up Display===

        A nice change has been made to the HUD bar, it now only includes the finisher build-up bar and the superstar's name, and this gives more space for the action on the screen. The body damage man is still there, but it only flashes up on impacts between the wrestlers, in my opinion this is the only time we need to see it so this was a good idea. The damage display is much better this time around as well, because when we see which part of the body is hurt the skeletal view of it is shown to the player.

        ===Loading===

        I feel that the problem with loading has been masked this year, but with time, many will find that they notice it more. Some times in the game, you will feel that it isn't right to have a loading screen in your face when you are just waiting for something like a winning celebration. Many won't want to watch these after one look anyway, so to make us wait makes you more impatient as you are waiting to press 'X' to stop this cut-scene.

        The way that they have covered up all of these loading periods, they have added little character profiles whilst you wait. These give you the basic information about the wrestlers, career highlights, as well as some facts about them. Now you may understand why you would grow tired of this, because many will get bored of seeing them after going through them all a fair few times.

        ===Commentary===

        We now have three commentary teams with the inclusion of ECW, meaning that the following are found on the various shows:

        SmackDown!: Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield

        RAW: Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler

        ECW: Tazz and Joey Styles

        I must say that I am very disappointed with the commentary in general, it isn't as repetitive as earlier games, but they haven't updated many of the lines. The only new things that they say come from the ECW announce team; obviously because they are have just been included. Additional new things also come when they have to talk about new superstars in the game. Some of the things they say are highly irrelevant and sometimes out-of-date but next year we must have completely new commentary.

        ===Grunts===

        This is a new addition to the genre; it seems that Yukes have listened to the fans here. I feel this way, because I know that they have been asking for this since the WWE games were made by Yukes. Prior to this in WWF Attitude, all the wrestlers provided voice-overs for about four original grunts which were suited to each individual wrestler. This hasn't been done to such a thorough extent in this game, but there is certainly a large range of grunts for both the male and female superstars whilst lifting, striking or getting hit in the ring.

        ===Exclusive Features===

        I will quickly bypass the XBOX 360 exclusive of being able to add your own music to the wrestler's entrances. In the version that I have, the PS3 version, it is possible to get a first person view of the entrance. This is possible by pressing R2 whilst watching it, this makes it more interactive, because you can use the Sixaxis to look around in the ring-walk to see all the fans applaud for you, you can read all the signs if you want. Obviously, by pressing this again, you can escape this mode, if you would prefer to watch the entrance just as you like to see it, as it is on-screen then you can.

        ===WWE 24/7 Mode===

        As you may have heard already, the season/story mode, as well as the GM Mode, was all removed from the game. As a blunt statement, this disappointed the fans heavily, expecting that they would now only be capable of playing in exhibition bouts. However there is an alternative mode this year, WWE 24/7 Mode. It takes the best of season mode and GM Mode, making it into a new, more interactive story mode for "WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2008".

        This mode enables you to take on the role of either the General Manger (GM) of one of the brands or compete as a superstar (as last years Season Mode). Firstly, I will take you through the GM side of the mode, then finally take you through the roles you can participate in as a regular wrestler for the game. I will not spoil the story of what you go through playing in this mode, but I will explain the various features found within it.

        General Manager:

        To start off this part of WWE 24/7 Mode, you have to choose a brand, SmackDown!, RAW or ECW, for which you will take on the character of Theodore Long, Jonathan Coachman or Tommy Dreamer respectively. I feel that as Regal was only recently assigned the GM of RAW, it's alright to have The Coach in his place. For ECW, the position of General Manager is a different story; Dreamer has never taken on such a role on-camera, so it shouldn't be portrayed in such a way in the game. I would have liked it better if they had someone like Vince McMahon take up this role, even though we don't see him here. You will begin the season just as last year, with the draft, which can be ignored to keep as the current roster is.

        This mode is very similar to last year's game, only little additions have been made to make it that extra bit better. More storylines have been included and there are now some cut-scenes, not of the action, but the GM interaction with the chairman of the WWE, Vince McMahon. I feel that this isn't a bad inclusion, and the superstar mode lends itself more to the cut-scenes with actual action.

        Here, as in "WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2007" you can control the relationships of the wrestlers with others, what the feuds are able and who is involved with them. All of this is kept to a budget, which you will have to mange well, making the most original matches and action on your brand, beating the other competition for ratings. I feel that the amount of improvements to this mode are fair, and they have been made to make the game as realistic as possible, I can't think of too any extra things that could be added to this to make it much better.

        Superstar:

        To start off this mode as a superstar, you will be given the option of whether to wrestle as either a existing superstar of any WWE brand, or play as a created one. The advantage of playing as a regular member of the roster is that you are given the choice of whether to use you current attributes or start with minimal ones, as a create wrestler, the latter is automatically given to you. I feel that this is quite annoying if your created superstar is someone like Hulk Hogan, who if already present in the game, wouldn't need to start from scratch to establish himself as a legend, which is the aim for which ever character you choose.

        One of the major flaws with the selection of playable characters in this mode is that the ECW extremists aren't allowed to be chosen, this includes some who were in the 2007 draft, including Bobby Lashley, who were on ECW initially. This is very annoying, mainly because he was my first choice to play as, and i would have liked to have played as new characters in the game, most of which are on the ECW brand.

        Just as in games before this, everything you do can be navigated using the locker room. The locker room hasn't changed much, compared to last year, but there are a lot more features to it. As I stated earlier, the main aim of this mode is to become a legend in the world of wrestling. This can be tracked by looking in the locker room; it is clearly placed on the screen. There is a mobile phone, from which you are able to receive mail, finding out how your relationships with superstars and characters of authority are shaping out. You have a laptop as well; this allows you to follow the Power 25, you health and buy things from the WWE Shop. The is a calendar, showing your schedule, not too exciting, but allows you to work out time until pay-per-views and other special events. The final item is the WWE Magazine, from which you can read about your current storylines.

        As I mentioned before, you now have a health maintenance. You are able to view all your history of injuries throughout your career, seeing where damage to a certain area will cause you to risk further injury. These injuries can be ignored, each time you get a new injury, the doctors will advise you not to compete in a match for a certain amount of time, but if you do fight, then the damage will be apparent in the match, starting the bout with existing damage to the area around where the problem is. A good thing that the A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) has picked up, are these injuries, by taking advantage of a an damaged arm, for example, by performing many maneuvers that will cause damage to it in this case.

        Your week consists of the three regular shows, RAW on Monday, ECW on Tuesday and SmackDown! on Friday (and on pay-per-view weekends, one dy will be taken up by this event). You are given one compulsory show, the one that you are featured on, but the others can be visited too, as often as you wish. Many will go to the other shows to interrupt the broadcasting, by invading another brand. By doing this, you have the opportunity of increasing your popularity, which may diminish as you go through the week with only a single match. There is some risk involved on the other hand, you will increase your fatigue and the chance of getting injured is quite high, so it's only worth doing so once per month.

        A new feature is available on Wednesdays, allowing you to earn extra money to spend on items at the WWE Shop or attributes. You can star in films, something that occurs a lot now in the wrestling business. The benefits are clear, but as before, you will get fatigued.

        You can improve on your attributes by taking part in "Training Exercises", these are short bouts which are designed in order for you to complete a certain objective, like the Challenge Mode in last years game. Another thing you can do to improve on your attributes is to take part in the "Skill Improvement", this is much a more structured part of the game, where you can improve on practical elements of being a WWE Superstar, which consists not only of wrestling, but talking on the mic(rophone) and building tension. You can also take part in "Events & Activities", these are things that add to popularity, signing autographs and doing things along these lines. There isn't much point in not doing these, as the benefits far out-weigh the little fatigue added.

        To become a legend, you have to complete a certain task list. You have to complete a number of achievements in order to qualify as a legend; this is tracked thoroughly by a percentage rating. These will include doing things like getting into the top 5 of the 'Power 25', winning 15 consecutive matches or singing a $1 Million dollar contract, to establish a legendary status.

        There have been many additions to this mode and I feel that it is for the better, the last couple seemed to just build on the last, but this year appears to be a completely new invention.

        ===Hall Of Fame===

        This is a new mode to the game, it works in a similar way to Challenge Mode as it tells you to go and complete certain tasks. The challenges given to you are based on many historic things which occurred in WWF/WWE history, including things like the HBK/Bret Hart Ironman Match, or Mankind and 'Taker's Hell in a Cell, but can also be things like trying to gain a reputation for a new title belt, as John Cena did when he customized the WWE Championship.

        This mode allows you to work for status as a hall of famer, you work to this from a jobber and the rating is increased for every time you complete a task. I must say that most of these are fairly simple, and don't take much effort, but as last year, there's always one that keeps you going for a while, and it will make you play the game more.

        ===Tournament===

        The 'Tournament' mode allows you to create your own multi-round wrestling competition. You are given a choice of how many you wish to take part in it, going up to 16. It's got more of a purpose than just structuring an exhibition tournament; it enables you to form customized stories, with actual climaxes. There is also a choice of tournament which are taken from the WWE, including Money in the Bank (which has 12 begin fighting on-on-one, followed by the big Ladder Match, then the WWE Title Match at the end). King of the Ring, which is just like the event which made Booker T. change into being a king.

        I feel that this is a nice little addition to the game, it makes the exhibition bouts have more of a purpose to them and it makes the game more fun to play. You can also take part in a "Beat the Clock Sprint", which has you attempt to defeat opponents in the fastest time possible, and the quickest will advance. This is ne of the best parts of the mode, because it makes you a better player, you have to form strategies fast and know how to beat people with certain characters.

        ===Create-A-Superstar===

        Just about everything is the same with this mode for "WWE SmackDown Vs. RAW 2008", the only changes are additions to the things we can give to our wrestlers. I feel that this is still the best character creation in any type of game by far, so the small changes aren't a problem.

        You can now give your custom wrestlers two more signs (four all together) for the crowd to hold. Unfortunately the call names haven't been updated, so all of the plain names from the last game remain, I don't really think that this is a problem for the game, but if this continues for much longer, then it will look quite out-dated opposed to what other games do, having the ability to write the names, and the computer pronounces it.

        ===Matches===

        Hell in a Cell:

        In the Hell in a Cell (HiaC) match, alterations have been made to improve it, but there are still some flaws that still haven't been rectified, despite being raised by the SmackDown community for years. For WWE SmackDown! 2006, weapons were added, as a sledgehammer and a single steel chair were placed next two the announcers table. Due to how unrealistic this was, it was taken out of the game the following year. In this addition, they have not returned, and when you go under the ring, there still aren't any weapons there. This was a huge disappointment, because it basically makes it a Cage match.

        This years HiaC doesn't have you falling from the top of the cell as often as in the games before. This is because the annoying thing where you stand up from a slam and you find yourself at the edge of the cell, will no longer force you to drop to the ground below. The only way to fall this year is to be thrown down, using the grapples that have been in place for a while. The two from before are still there, a generic toss and a chokeslam, but there are now others. Using the grapple which enable you to walk around with the opponent you can take them to the edge and do something like a fireman's carry onto the announcers table.

        The panels which are interactive are just as before, where you must do to slams before it collapses, are back. I feel that it is good for the game to have this again, because it makes it fun, and not too challenging. The animation of falling through the top of the cell is still the same one which first came about in the second SmackDown! game, "WWF SmackDown! 2 : Know Your Role", seven years ago, you would have thought that by now, they could have made a few new drops could be added, because we have seen that same one since the end of 2000.

        Ironman Match:

        The Ironman match has seen a little change this year; it's now more of a challenge from in previous installments of the game. Before you could work your opponent down to a weak state, then finish them off and pin them, then do this again with little resistance as the other wrestler would be very weak. This year the wrestler who gets pinned re-gains his health after a pin, and the person who scored the point will be stuck with there health prior to the pin. It makes them fresh and it's more difficult to win like before. I feel that this doesn't make it as realistic, but its more fun and challenging in my personal opinion.

        The time periods available in this game are 10, 15 and 20. This is all I need, because it gets very repetitive if you do a one hour fight. I feel that this adds to the challenge of the game, because it takes me approximately five minutes to complete a match, I will have to fight a minimum of two matches, and win, with a disadvantage on health for the second bout.

        Last Man Standing Match:

        The Last Man Standing Match was a fairly simple match to win in all of the installments from years before. All that you had to do was beat down the opponent, probably end the match with a finisher and then wait for the referee to count to ten to win the match. This will be more difficult this time around, because you must use a finisher to initiate the count. I feel that this makes it more of a challenge, but it still won't make it too difficult to win.

        Parking Lot Brawl:

        Unfortunately, the PLB (Parking Lot Brawl) has exactly the same layout as last year. All of the vehicles found there were there in "WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2007", which is a shame to see. Most of the animations are just as last year, I think only a couple of extras have been added to it. The only real difference is that various weapons have been scattered about, it's not very realistic, but it makes for a more fun game to play.

        The PLB Match looks like it won't get too many plays from me, because of the lack of changes to it. I expect that this will be the case for others who have the game, once I played this a couple of times through, I got bored of it last year, the same occurred with this one.

        Elimination Chamber:

        I can't see any noticeable changes to this match type at all and this is a huge disappointment, they haven't changed it at all since they brought it to the SmackDown! Series, they have just left it like this for three years. Again the A.I. is really stupid and will randomly climb up everything constantly, the just jump to the fall and get laid-out for a while. This really needs to be changed, another thing connected to the Artificial Intelligence is that it will choose to break-up pin attempts, which it has no reason to do. By the next game, they will have to change it.

        ===Arenas===

        Just as usual, Yukes have given us all of the arenas that we will have seen since the last game came out so that we can recreate all of our favourite memories from the last year's worth of WWE action.

        One thing that the mentioned was that they chose not to make some stages bigger than others, because the Wrestlemanias one often have bigger ramps and things. They said that they couldn't make things bigger in this, otherwise they would have to make everyone's entrance again, tweeking it to suit just a single arena, which isn't likely to be seen too often.

        This year we have:

        RAW
        SmackDown!
        ECW
        Heat
        SummerSlam 2006
        Unforgiven 2006
        No Mercy 2006
        Saturday Night Main Event
        Cyber Sunday 2006
        Survivor Series 2006
        December to Dismember 2006
        Armageddon 2006
        New Year's Revolution 2007
        Royal Rumble 2007
        No Way Out
        WrestleMania 23
        Backlash 2007
        Judgment Day 2007
        One Night Stand 2007
        Vengeance 2007
        The Great American Bash 2007

        ===Roster===

        The game features, as usual the most complete roster as possible, taking into account the superstars likely to be released in the up-coming months (such as Booker T, who left at the end of October and debuted in TNA after the game was released). Obviously recent additions to the WWE roster won't be available due to all the work that would have to be done to include them, making the models and voice-overs for season mode.

        I cannot comment on any new additions who aren't included who should be as I haven't watched the programming in over 6 months, however I was happy to see the likes of Cryme Tyme who I hear have been released by the company in recent weeks as they were my favorites when I started on to watch it. The Boogeyman was someone I was unhappy to see excluded from the game as I enjoyed his prescience in the last game, providing availability for a unique style.

        The long-awaited debut of the team of Paul London and Brian Kendrick has been delayed by another year after they lost their tag titles and got drafted to RAW, otherwise they would definitely have found their spots on the game now, because the last two years should have had them both on it.

        ^^^SmackDown!^^^

        **Ashley**

        From: New York, New York

        Height: 5'5"

        Weight: 112 lbs

        Strength: 40

        Submission: 45

        Durability: 50

        Technique: 55

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 70

        Hardcore: 45

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 61

        Finishers:

        Starstruck, Diving Cross Body Pin 1

        Ashley hasn't done much recently as she supported Paul London and Brian Kendrick as their manager for a while, since they were drafted, she was suspended by the chairman, Vince McMahon for spilling coffee on him. The real reason for this was because she was going to take time off to participate on a show called "Survivor".

        Her overall fits her character very well, she doesn't wrestle much and most of her time is spent as a manger for other wrestlers in the WWE.

        Her entrance has her come in with a lot of fan support, running to the ring, interacting with the audience by clapping their hands as she makes her way to the ring. Her 'Starstruck' finisher is a nice new elbow drop made just for her, its good to see that Yukes didn't just give her a generic existing one, and instead has her start her aerial special in the turnbuckle. The crossbody, on the other hand, is just the one found in past games.

        Likeness: 9/10

        I must say that I am not a fan of the facial model here, it doesn't quite fit the face of the Ashley we see regularly on SmackDown!, but it isn't a bad attempt, it's an improvement on last year's. The attire of a black top and camo(flage) skirt (with various accessories) is great and matches her usual wrestling gear.

        **Batista**

        From: Washington, D.C.

        Height: 6'6"

        Weight: 290 lbs

        Strength: 95

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 95

        Technique: 85

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 85

        Stamina: 85

        Overall: 94

        Finishers:

        Batista Bomb, Spinebuster 3

        Batista is a big part of SmackDown!, and has been ever since he entered the WWE. As he is the size that he is, that isn't a surprise. Currently, he storyline revolves around attempting to capture the World Heavyweight Championship, which he did do after defeating The Great Khali.

        When you use this superstar, you aim to grapple with your opponent, because there aren't many you can compete in a strength battle against Batista. He uses his power to the advantage and uses ground-and-pound to finish of the other wrestler in this game.

        The entrance for Batista is nearly the same as last years, the main difference is that there are a few subtle movements added to it in order to make it more realistic, this includes warming himself up by shaking him arms as he comes down the ramp and various things such as this. The Spinebuster for Batista has been re-done and it seems to have a bigger impact on the opponent. The Batista Bomb on the other hand hasn't, and this is a big let-down because we have been asking for it for a couple of years.

        Likeness: 9/10

        Batista, with only single attire, is somewhat limited to how much he is like the character on-screen. He wears the black trunks with a silver 'B' on the back for the game, its new so it is better than having to stay with one attire that's been around for two years, but another would be preferred. His model also seems to be a little less built than his real-life body, which is known to be one of the biggest in the company. His facial model is spot-on though.

        **Chavo Guerrero**

        From: El Paso, Texas

        Height: 5'9"

        Weight: 210 lbs

        Strength: 70

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 75

        Technique: 85

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 70

        Hardcore: 75

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 85

        Finishers:

        Frog Splash Pin 2, Gory Bomb 1

        Chavo has been included in the programming lately after taking a break, due to Chris Benoit's passing. His storylines have been centered on the cruiserweight title, which he lost to Hornswoggle, and lately Rey Mysterio.

        Fighting with Chavo is very fun as he isn't your typical cruiserweight; he has a greater amount of strength than traditional superstars of this weight class. As he is on the upper end of the division, at 210 lbs (10 lbs lighter than the Cruiserweight Championship qualifications), he is able to use this to his advantage. He does have high-flying abilities too, able to use moves he learnt whilst wrestling with Eddie Guerrero in his youth.

        Chavo's newest entrance has him point repetitively around the arena as he makes his way to the ring. It was very much like his real-life ring-walk, but I didn't really enjoy it. The Gory Bomb, nor the frog splash, which was used by his uncle Eddie before, were re-made. I found this combination to be annoying, especially for the frog splash, because the game really needs a new one.

        Likeness: 9/10

        I feel that the face for this model is slightly off; the facial hair has little depth to it. The red attire that we were given was the one found in WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2007. I would have preferred that they gave Chavo a new pear of tights for the new game, because he changes what he wears weekly, it doesn't have this impression when he were identical clothes two years in a row.

        **Chris Masters**

        From: Los Angeles, California

        Height: 6'4"

        Weight: 275 lbs

        Strength: 90

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 80

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 75

        Overall: 87

        Finishers:

        Masterlock, Full Nelson Slam 1

        Masters has been in a feud with a returning superstar, Chuck Palumbo, recently after he was drafted to SmackDown! from RAW, where he fought against talent such as Carlito, and others on this level, it shows that he isn't considered to have the ability to wrestle for titles at this time.

        The overall rating for this superstar is fairly high considering his competition as of late. One of the things that I noticed was that his submission rating is quite low for someone who uses a submission for their finisher, (just because Lashley broke out of the Masterlock once doesn't mean his rating for that category should be altered this much).

        Masters' entrance is extremely similar to last year's it is very slow and has him perform a multitude of poses along the ramp, as well as the "Masterlock Pose" on the middle rope. The Masterlock finisher is a new creation, it isn't too spectacular in terms of presentation, but what submission is, and the other finisher is the generic full nelson slam in other games.

        Likeness: 10/10

        I cannot speak more highly of the face given for Chris Masters, it looks very realistic as a face primarily, and as his own, it's exactly how it should be; flawless. He wears the same attire as last year, his own blue trunks with the personal black and white design on the front and back.

        **Edge**

        From: Toronto, Ontario

        Height: 6'5"

        Weight: 240 lbs

        Strength: 70

        Submission: 90

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 90

        Speed: 90

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 90

        Stamina: 95

        Overall: 94

        Finishers:

        Spear 5, Edgucution

        Edge was drafted to SmackDown! after a long run on RAW, where he managed to win the WWE championship twice. Since those days, he wrestled on the other brand and was able to win the title parallel in value to this, the World Heavyweight Championship. Unfortunately, shortly after winning this, he was forced to give it away after tearing his pectoral.

        Edge's rating is very high, and should be, considering how successful he has become after winning the Money in the Bank match in 2005. He is fun to use in the game because he is similar to Randy Orton, in that he is good at pulling dirty tricks in the game, in order to have a advantage over the opponent.

        Edge has himself a new entrance; he comes with a lot of energy, speeding his way towards the ring, jumping up of the turnbuckle and taunting towards the crowd all the way through. It works very well. Edge' spear is just as in "WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007", where he goes into the corner and 'measures' the opponent, waiting for them to get to their feet, before he runs shoulder-first into their stomach. The Edgucution is a new one though, which is good to see. He starts with a big kick to the stomach (for the set-up), followed by a picking up the opponent to dive their head between his legs.

        Likeness: 10/10

        I am very impressed with the model for Edge, his face has been captured perfectly and the clothes e wears fit in well with what we see him wear regularly. We have him in his black "Rated R" tights with red designs. This year has him with his new star tattoos as well, with the big black one followed by a multitude of smaller ones on his upper arm

        **Finlay**

        From: Belfast, Ireland

        Height: 6'2"

        Weight: 235 lbs

        Strength: 75

        Submission: 85

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 90

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 75

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 85

        Overall: 88

        Finishers:

        Celtic Cross, Air Raid Siren

        Finlay has made quite an impact since he decided to start wrestling for the WWE in 2005. His gimmick of being a stereotypical Irishman is working, saying that he just loves to fight, this has translated into his style of wrestling, just beat down the opponent, nothing fancy, just everything to get the job done. Recently, he has been turning his attention to Kane.

        I feel that all of the individual ratings given to Finlay are fair. I think that the highest one, found under technique, is correct to have a rating above 90 because he is so experienced and is able to reverse many grapples and strikes.

        Just about everything is the same for Finlay as in "WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007", this includes the entrance, which is just as last year, a slow walk with his shillelagh, which his places in the corner. His Celtic Cross is exactly the same animation as last year's, no changes (not that they're needed), but it is nice to see when you have a new game. The Air Raid Siren was in the game before; it's just a toned-down version of the Celtic Cross, no walking around.

        Likeness: 9/10

        I really do not like the face they gave Finlay this year, it just doesn't look right. Just about everything else in the model fits well though. He has his black overalls on with the green sides and a new shamrock design in the centre of it.

        **Gregory Helms**

        From: Raleigh, North Carolina

        Height: 6'

        Weight: 215 lbs

        Strength: 75

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 75

        Technique: 80

        Speed: 75

        Charisma: 70

        Hardcore: 70

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 86

        Finishers:

        Shining Wizard 8, Knee Facebuster

        Even though Helms is out with two broken vertebrae, I still think its' fair that's he's in this game, his injury occurred in May, I would have thought that they would have taken his out of the game seeing that this is a considerable time before the release of the game, but from all he did before then he certainly had a big enough impact to qualify for a place in the game.

        The attributes for this character a fair, even though he is a cruiserweight wrestler, he tends to be quite conservative in using his advantageous lean-ness whilst wrestling. The statistics he was given certainly reflect this, I also this that begin just a single point above Chavo is fair, because they are about the same in terms of wrestling skills.

        Helms' entrance is nice, he has his new music, a he comes to the ring just as his cocky persona on-screen does. I liked his interaction with the crowd, making many gestures to them to taunt them and make them jeer him. I have always been satisfied by the variety of 'shining wizards' in this game, but it was still nice to see a new one in this game, he does it when the opponent is out on the floor, he stands beside them as they start to get up, and then, as he realizes their dazed state, he bounces off the rope for a big kick to the head. The knee-to-face buster is a vicious attack, when the opponent is sat in the corner, you can run to the rope o the other side; bounce back with a big knee to the temple. The animation is very clean and looks extremely realistic.

        Likeness: 10/10

        I like the attire for Gregory Helms very much; we have him sporting black trunks with the red and silver "GH" design on them. He also wears a bandana on his head, its a nice touch that could have been overlooked, but Yukes obviously saw that he wore it very often in late times.

        **Kane**

        From: Spain

        Height: 7'

        Weight: 326 lbs

        Strength: 80

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 90

        Technique: 80

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 75

        Overall: 87

        Finishers:

        Chokeslam 1, Tombstone 2

        I expected Kane to be in this game because there wasn't any reason to take him out from it: he's been active since the last game and has been involved in a headlining feud with Finlay. Since the last game, the major change with Kane is that he is now wrestling on SmackDown! after being involved in this year's draft and leaving RAW.

        To me, it seems as though they have slightly under-rated Kane, there are some who have ratings above Kane who just aren't worthy of it. He should be 90 as a maximum. I feel that this will make it less fun to use him in the game, because you could use him as his gimmick suggests, a monster, but when there is a large proportion of superstars who are able to compete with him easily, this won't be possible.

        I'm not sure what happened to this year's entrance for Kane, they did it all again from scratch and it has mad the actual walk look very strange, he does it as if he is puffing out his chest, but this isn't correct, Kane usually does a faint limp. Everything else is in order, something nice to see is that the rope doesn't go through his hand for once, a great advantage to next-generation games. for some reason, they decided to give Kane Undertaker's old Bad Ass Tombstone, where he does the thumbs down after letting go of the opponent, they should have made him a new one.

        Likeness: 10/10

        The Kane for this year is basically the same as last year, he wears the same attire, the face hasn't changed, apart from the added detail, so everything is in order for Kane in "WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2008".

        **Kenny Dykstra**

        From: Worcester, Massachusetts

        Height: 6'4"

        Weight: 250 lbs

        Strength: 75

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 80

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 70

        Hardcore: 70

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 85

        Finishers:

        Diving Leg Drop 2, Neckbreaker 14

        Kenny Dykstra is a new addition to the 'WWE SmackDown! series', despite the fact that he could have been in the game last year as either a member of the cheerleading crew, called the Spirit Squad, or as a singles competitor, because he had split from the group by then. That's all in the past now and he did manage to get into the game, so there are no problems. Lately he got drafted to RAW and has been teaming with Victoria.

        Dykstra has fairly regular stats, nothing is too special. This is a clear representation of what the real character is like, not too good at anything in particular, but is a decent wrestler. From this you can tell that they have tried to make him as good as possible and as close to the true thing as you can get.

        Dykstra enters the ring in an arrogant way, which could be likened to Randy Orton; I feel that it is a good enough to have as his entrance, because I haven't actually seen him make his way to the ring before. he comes with both arms up in the air, indicating that he is a top competitor, but from his overall, we can tell that he definitely is not. We have a new neckbreaker for this character, it contains a struggle, for realism, before twisting into a snap drop, we already had a move like this in the game before, but this one is slightly more realistic than the old one. I was very pleased to see a specialized leg drop for Dykstra, because his is so different, it has him grab his leg in mid-air before he slams it onto the chest of the opponent.

        Likeness: 10/10

        Dykstra has his black and blue 'KD' trunks on and this is what I expected to see him in. Yukes seem to have tried very hard to create Dykstra's face, because it is a bit odd, but the final result is strong representation of him.

        **Mark Henry**

        From: Silsbee, Texas

        Height: 6'1"

        Weight: 380 lbs

        Strength: 95

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 95

        Technique: 70

        Speed: 50

        Charisma: 65

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 60

        Overall: 83

        Finishers:

        World's Strongest Slam 2, Bearhug

        As Henry has been in a high-profile feud with the Undertaker as of late, I feel that it was correct to have him appear in this game. He brings about a unique characteristic to the game, being the build he is. This makes the game much more fun as with the different body types, more potential is brought about.

        Henry's style is to over-power the opponent, something not too difficult as he won a silver medal for weightlifting at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. This means that many of his attacks will be grapples designed to weaken the opponent, whilst not wearing him out too much, an efficient method of winning a match.

        The entrance is basically the same as last year, very generic as he slowly walks to the ring in an intimidating fashion. The impact finisher for 'The World's Strongest Man' has been re-done, it no longer looks to have no power to it, because this year has him lift the opponent up to head-level before slamming the other wrestler to the mat below.

        Likeness: 10/10

        Last year the character model for Mark Henry had many flaws to it, the most evident being that he wasn't very proportional to other superstars and his face was nothing like what we saw when we watched WWE Friday Night SmackDown!. In my opinion all of these problems have been cleared up, he's much larger this time around and his facial hair appear to have much more depth. This has nothing to do with the time in between the two games, because his appearance has not altered in this year.

        **Matt Hardy**

        From: Cameron, North Carolina

        Height: 6'2"

        Weight: 225 lbs

        Strength: 75

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 85

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 85

        Hardcore: 85

        Stamina: 85

        Overall: 90

        Finishers:

        Twist of Fate 1, Twist of Fate 2

        I feel that Matt Hardy had to be included as he has been a big storyline on SmackDown! as part of the WWE Tag Team Champions with his rival partner, MVP. Later on they lost these titles to The Miz and John Morrison.

        I feel that Matt's attributes have been somewhat overrated as the overall is out of 90; I don't feel that he s about 90% of the best all-round superstar. Somewhere around the 86-88 regions would be more appropriate for him.

        Matt's entrance is good. It's based on the one from last year, but it's obviously a new design. There are many subtle changes with make this appear to be much more life-like. His finishers fit him, but I was disappointed to find out that the Twist of Fate had not been reanimated.

        Likeness: 10/10

        I have no problems with this character model. He wears his camo bottoms as usual, so these nothing to complain about where his attire is concerned. his face is spot on too, so it's all good.

        **Michelle McCool**

        From: Palatka, Florida

        Height: 5'10"

        Weight: 122 lbs

        Strength: 40

        Submission: 60

        Durability: 60

        Technique: 70

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 70

        Hardcore: 60

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 69

        Finishers:

        Spear 6, Backbreaker 14

        This is McCool's debut to the SmackDown! Series, and I feel that it is time she got onto a game, she has been active since 2005, and she has wrestled for a considerable proportion of that time (the rest of the time she managed wrestlers).

        McCool's overall is very high in the game, I would say too high, because she is only two below Melina, two-time Women's Champion, yet she is yet to accomplish anything in the company yet. The level of talent she usually competes against also reflects this, usually the divas who would have started by managing, rather than wrestling ones.

        I enjoyed watching the entrance, everything about it has been done well, the best thing about it is the fact that she comes down with a prop' a ruler. The object is a reminder of her old job as a teacher; she taunts the crowd with it as she enters the ring, all very nice to see. The backbreaker that she uses is quite a viscous new animation. It has McCool pull the opponent by the hair, with the momentum forcing their back onto her knee.

        Likeness: 10/10

        I am very impressed with the model, all aspects of it are impressive and there is nothing to complain about from it. She wears her black single-sleeve top with black trousers

        **MVP**

        From: Miami, Florida

        Height: 6'3"

        Weight: 253 lbs

        Strength: 85

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 85

        Technique: 85

        Speed: 75

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 75

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 85

        Finishers:

        Playmaker, Player's Boot

        Montel Vontavious Porter has been a part of a major storyline in the WWE since last year. His debut against Kane was disappointing for Theodore Long who acquired him on a multi-million dollar contract and he failed to perform as the money displayed. Lately we have seen big improvements for him, as was able to capture the United States (U.S.) title, a championship he still holds, as well as a tag team belt. His style is based on his 'player' gimmick, something new and original to wrestling. This makes his overall character a fresh identity in the company, and an asset to the SmackDown! brand of the WWE.

        The overall given to this superstar is what I consider to be very fair. Although he is the reigning U.S. champion and part of the WWE Tag Team champions, he doesn't wrestle fairly in order to achieve high ratings. The group who organized the assignment of the attributes did this well for this particular wrestler.

        The entrance for MVP has been captured perfectly as he enters through the American Football-esque screen, in M.V.P. (Most Valuable Player) style. His ring-walk from then on has him walk with a cool limp, contrasting with his garish attire of a purple jumpsuit. The 'Playmaker' a re-animated version of the neck breaker Carlito used in previous additions, giving it a more personally feel. The turnbuckle big boot is a new addition also, used as MVP's 'Player's Boot'. It is a great creation as it has subtle details which make it seem very life-like, with a slight stumble as he steps back from it.

        Likeness: 9/10

        I must say that I was disappointed with the attire that they decided to use for MVP. Most created wrestlers from SmackDown! Vs. Raw 2007 used this attire so I felt that it was used too often, and now it's quite boring. This isn't a fault Yukes made, however they could have paid more attention to this, and chose a different costume for him.

        **Rey Mysterio**

        From: San Diego, California

        Height: 5'6"

        Weight: 165 lbs

        Strength: 70

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 90

        Speed: 95

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 85

        Stamina: 90

        Overall: 93

        Finishers:

        The 619, Dragonrana Pin

        I'd say that Rey Rey was a must have as he is a favorite of many fans for his death-defying tendencies. He is a former World Heavyweight Champion and so there were a lot of reasons to add him, including this.

        Playing as him is fun as it takes a fast opponent to catch him and his attacks are just as speedy. Obviously nobody goes without flaws and so using him is difficult against an opponent with a lot of strength or weight as they will deflect his attempts easily.

        Rey's entrance has been slightly enhanced by the fact he wears a traditional headpiece. The '619 Cam' isn't found in the game; however it is possible to re-create this by using the PS3 exclusive feature of pressing R2 to have a firs-person view of the entrance. His 619 finisher however, still hasn't been re-animated; this is very disappointing, because we have been waiting for this for years now.

        Likeness: 9/10

        I'd say that the model is spot on, but the only thing which separates him from the actual character is that he isn't able to switch attires freely with him. Rey on screen appears in a new outfit each week so it would have been nice to replicate this here. Here he is with only one which is a silver/black cage design, I can't say I remember it, however it something I can see him wearing and it looks good.

        **Ric Flair**

        From: Charlotte, North Carolina

        Height: 6'1"

        Weight: 243 lbs

        Strength: 70

        Submission: 90

        Durability: 75

        Technique: 90

        Speed: 65

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 88

        Finishers:

        Grapefruit Claw, Figure 4 Leglock 1

        Flair has been gone from the WWE for a while, after Khali gave him a vice grip, so he's possibly doing something at the moment. Prior to this, he was a new face on SmackDown, after being drafted there, on this brand he teamed with ex-Evolution member, Batista to be part of a short-lived tag team.

        I think that Ric Flair has been slightly over-rated in this game. He has an overall of 88, despite not being around since July and before this he didn't really get in the ring that much. His high-eighties rating would make you believe that he is a top-level competitor even though he wouldn't wrestle for the World heavyweight Championship. An 84-86 would be more suitable here.

        The entrance is nice, it is completely new, but many aspects of it remind you of what it was like in the past games. A great added touch is the fact that the referee will sit on the middle rope to aid him on the way into the ring. Finally, since he came to the game on "WWE SmackDown! Here comes the Pain", Flair has a new finisher, the 'Grapefruit Claw', I can't say that I remember seeing him do this, but I trust that he has, so it's good to see it as a finisher for him. The animation for it is fun to watch, I will let your imagination take over until you see it yourself. The figure-four is just like the one from before, the design made for him.

        Likeness: 10/10

        I feel that the face for Ric Flair is a big improvement on the last game, before I was really annoyed with the older games because the face was off by a larger margin, now it's right on. For the entrance, Flair has a black robe on as his enters the ring.

        **The Great Khali**

        From: India

        Height: 7'3"

        Weight: 420 lbs

        Strength: 95

        Submission: 85

        Durability: 100

        Technique: 70

        Speed: 50

        Charisma: 70

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 65

        Overall: 83

        Finishers:

        Brain Chop, Neck Hanging Chokeslam

        The Great Khali has done a lot as of late, he has been a part of each brand, but he has finally settled for SmackDown!, where he stood as the World Heavyweight Champion for a while, before losing it to Batista at Unforgiven.

        As Khali is exceptional in height, many of the things which some wrestlers can do, he isn't capable of, the weight and stature restricts this. However, there are obvious benefits to this size, especially the intimidation. He is able to over-power the opponents in this game, and most of the roster have a struggle on their hands if they want to defeat him in the game, his durability allows him to withstand most attacks.

        Khali's entrance is longer this year, it makes him seem to be more in-control of the crowd and of the show as a whole. The reign as champion will have aided this. He roars and raises his arms as he makes his way to the ring, it makes he power seem believable. The Brain Chop is just as last year, a downward cutting karate chop to the top of the head, the same animation as last year. The other finisher is simply a double-handed chokeslam, nothing special. It's just the same as what was in the game last year, but it doesn't really need changing yet.

        Likeness: 10/10

        As The Great Khali wears only a single attire, Yukes couldn't mess this up, and they didn't. They made sure that his face was great, and the trousers he wears are nice and look just like what they are like on SmackDown!.

        **Torrie Wilson**

        From: Boise, Idaho

        Height: 5'7"

        Weight: 133 lbs

        Strength: 45

        Submission: 50

        Durability: 50

        Technique: 60

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 50

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 64

        Finishers:

        Facebuster 3, Springboard Back Elbow

        Torrie has had a lot go on around her in the last year. One thing was her relationship with Carlito, they broke after she got traded from RAW, and Carlito said that she was a nothing but "dead weight" to him. After the drat, she found herself on SmackDown!, where she had a long-lasting feud with a female wrestler not present on the game, Victoria.

        Torrie's statistics are quite good, they reflect the fact that she doesn't wrestle too much but when she does, she puts up a good fight. The overall of 64 puts her ahead of Kelly Kelly, but just behind Candice, I find this to be accurate, because I would say that in terms of wrestling, she and Candice are pretty much equal.

        The entrance is very good, the have her come to the ring, blowing a multitude of kisses to the crowd. She does this while holding her dog in one hand. The finishers are just as before, nothing changed about them. I feel that the decision to keep them as they are is justified because there wasn't much need to change them at all.

        Likeness: 10/10

        The model for Torrie this year is great, it look just like her and the attire she wears is accurate. Yukes have put her in a pink and black two-piece, a nice new set-up

        **The Undertaker**

        From: Death Valley

        Height: 6'10"

        Weight: 305 lbs

        Strength: 90

        Submission: 85

        Durability: 95

        Technique: 85

        Speed: 75

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 85

        Stamina: 85

        Overall: 95

        Finishers:

        Tombstone Piledriver Pin, Chokeslam 3

        I felt confident that Taker would have been included no matter what happened, even if he had departed from the company, we would have seen him as a legend in the game. Due to this it's not a surprise to say that it was good to see him here as his style of combat is unique to many other, he relies heavily on intimidation.

        As a powerhouse, using Taker is fun, because when you have your opponent on the floor you are able to unleash a series of punches and head butts by moving the Sixaxis
        in different directions. You do this in a mounted position so the other wrestler has no escape, unless of course by chance he counters the strike.

        Taker's two-minute ring walk returns this year, and its basically the same as the last two years, I wouldn't say that this is a bad thing , because The Phoenom hasn't altered the way he walks to the ring since then, so its only the best thing not to change this too much either. However, whilst walking to the ring in a pay-per-view, his entrance has a slight alternation, as flames come up as he makes his way to the ring. You will be pleased to hear that finally the Tombstone has been reanimated for the Undertaker, its a lot more like how he does it in the programming, without walking around, its just a straight up an down move with the darkness pin to conclude.

        Likeness: 10/10

        The model for The Undertaker is perfect; they couldn't have done it any better. I wouldn't have said that last years need much improvement; however you can tell that now next-gen has come in, it has dramatically improved this model. The attire is right on but, this isn't much an issue for him, because he doesn't tend to change it often.

        ^^^RAW^^^

        **Bobby Lashley**

        From: Colorado Springs, Colorado

        Height: 6'3"

        Weight: 273 lbs

        Strength: 90

        Submission: 85

        Durability: 90

        Technique: 90

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 85

        Overall: 93

        Finishers:

        Dominator 2, Lashley Spear

        Lashley has been a huge force in the WWE lately; his true streak began when he was traded to ECW, where he won two ECW Heavyweight Titles, after this he was drafted to RAW. The draft enabled him to get into the WWE Championship picture. Unfortunately, at the end of July he suffered a torn rotator cuff, which put him out of action for at least 4 months.

        Using Lashley is always fun because, the way you wrestler each match has you simply over-power the opponent and grapple them in may ways, using as many slams as possible to get the job done. I feel that the overall rating of 93 is fair, because he managed to earn two reigns as the ECW Heavyweight Champion.

        Bobby's ring-walk is fairly accurate; they have made sure that his pyro is in-time with the pose on the centre of the entrance way and when he hops onto the apron. These inclusions have improved the entrance, in comparison to last year. Finally, there's a new Dominator in the game, the last one had been in the game since the first of the SmackDown! Series as Faarooq's finisher. It's now more powerful and has a bigger impact to it. As last year, Lashley uses a spear which is just as Edge's, just without the time where he 'measures' the opponent.

        Likeness: 10/10

        I felt that what Lashley wears in the game is good, better than the plain trunks he had on in "WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2007". He has the black trunks with the white shape on top; this is underneath a black silhouette of the wrestler in his signature pose.

        **Candice Michelle**

        From: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

        Height: 5'7"

        Weight: 118 lbs

        Strength: 50

        Submission: 55

        Durability: 55

        Technique: 65

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 75

        Hardcore: 45

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 66

        Finishers:

        Figure-4 Neck Lock, Full Nelson Face Buster

        Candice's appearances as of late have been more associated with actual in-ring action, earning her a single reign as the WWE Women's Champion on RAW. Previous to this, her purpose wasn't really anything to do with actual wrestling competitively.

        I feel that the attributes given to Candice are accurate, because she isn't too much of a wrestler, and is more of a model, used as eye-candy for the male audience. As her overall is between Kelly Kelly's (a female wrestler who doesn't compete much) and Melina's (who I would consider to be one step up from Candice), I feel that she has been assigned them fairly.

        Candice's entrance has been altered heavily this year, something I did not approve of. The only gain from it is that there are red lighting effects added as she walks to the ring. The way that she approaches the centre-stage seems to be very unrealistic. The movements of the character model are very exaggerated and don't seem to have the same sex appeal as the actual wrestler, for many obvious reasons, but also because it seems too planned, if you understand where I'm coming from. The Candylicious, the Figure-Four Neck Lock, is a turnbuckle finisher where Candice chokes the opponent with her legs. I cannot say that I have seen her do this before, but as t is a named finisher, I assume that she has used this before on RAW. It is the same animation as in games before. The second finisher is one which Chris Jericho used for a while, a Full-Nelson face buster; it's the same as when Y2J had it as a finisher.

        Likeness: 10/10

        I feel that Yukes nailed Candice this year. In the previous installment, she didn't seem to have such a dominating prescience on the screen. This time around she appear to have been made more complete so that it seems much more like her. She wears a red corset top with black tights, this isn't something I would say I haven't seen here sporting, and therefore it's suitable in my opinion.

        **Carlito**

        From: The Caribbean

        Height: 510"

        Weight: 220 lbs

        Strength: 75

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 90

        Speed: 90

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 89

        Finishers:

        Back Stabber, Cool Shot

        I was very confident that Carlito would be included in the game, because he has been included in a high proportion of the programming since the last game and he is very popular with the fans around the world. As of recent times on RAW, Carlito has been involved with a small feud with a returning Triple H.

        Everything is in order with Carlito's attributes, it seems as though they have taken note that he is gradually increasing the amount he performs aerial moves and other things that would usually be associated with cruiserweight competitors, this meant that he has quite a considerable speed rating, his move set also more geared to wrestlers that wrestle in that way.

        Carlito's ring-walk is pretty much the same as the last, he strolls down to the ring with his apple and interact with the crowd along the way, taunting everyone on the way. His finishers are just the same as last year and this isn't a problem, the "Back Cracker" from last year has just had a name change to the "Back Stabber".

        Likeness: 10/10

        Yukes have taken a a lot of time to look closely at how Carlito has changed in the last year. One of the most obvious things is that he now has a beard, and it has been created in a nice way. He now wears a different attire to last year, it's not one that I'm a fan of, but I appreciate that they gave him a new one. He wears the yellow trunks with a orange design.

        **Jeff Hardy**

        From: Cameron, North Carolina

        Height: 6'1"

        Weight: 225 lbs

        Strength: 70

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 85

        Speed: 90

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 90

        Stamina: 90

        Overall: 92

        Finishers:

        Swanton Bomb, Whisper In the Wind

        All the fans of the game will be happy to here that they no longer have to create Jeff Hardy in this game, because he's in it. Hardy has made a big impact on RAW since returning and he is currently the Intercontinental Champion.

        I feel that due to his popularity, Jeff has been over-rated, 92 for someone who is only capable of the second-best title, is just too high, 90 should be the maximum for him. Jeff is one of the most fun to use, he is good at quick attacks and an incredible range aerial moves to use. There's so much that you can do with him, making him an ideal character to use for beginners to the game.

        The most hype surrounding a character in the game is for Jeff, this is reflected to the audience from the makers of the game, especially in the entrance. His entrance is full of energy as he comes out to many blasts from the pyrotechnics team, he then dashes on into the ring as with what we regularly see on RAW. Jeff has a new Swanton Bomb, it has him extend fully as he jumps down, before he curls and falls on the opposition competitor. The secondary finisher is now a Whisper in the Wind for Jeff; he does it with the other wrestler in the corner before performing the spinning aerial move on the other wrestler.

        Likeness: 10/10

        They couldn't go wrong with Jeff Hardy, he changes his clothes weekly, but if you put him in one thing, it will look correct anyway, because there's isn't one thing that he chooses to wear more than another. He has black trousers and a tank top in the same colour. A nice addition is the cloth out of his back pocket, which shows how they have paid attention to detail, both in his character, and how clothes move naturally. He has his hair dyed red and has red and yellow armbands on. It looks very good for him. .

        **John Cena**

        From: West Newbury, Massachusetts

        Height: 6'1"

        Weight: 240 lbs

        Strength: 90

        Submission: 90

        Durability: 90

        Technique: 90

        Speed: 85

        Charisma: 95

        Hardcore: 85

        Stamina: 85

        Overall: 97

        Finishers:

        F-U 3, STF-U

        Cena was going to be in this game no matter what as he was the WWE Champion earlier in the year, and had been in this position for over a year, but he still remains in the title picture. He's one of the most popular superstars on RAW, despite the fact there are quite a few backlashes to his character.

        I feel that John Cena is one of the more fun characters to play as, because the way that he wrestles is very fun. He's very diverse, so he isn't restricted to a certain style, he tends to use his power and speed to his advantage to incorporate both of these whilst wrestling. It's easy to do this in the game as well, because with his great attributes, he's an all-round superstar.

        Cena has a brand new entrance. I like how they chose to give him a visor and black "Fearless" t-shirt, it adds to the realism. There is more evidence of the character in the game following Cena's actual gimmick as he comes in on such a huge hype, doing elaborate movement, full of energy. We also see that the influence of his role in the film "The Marine" has been translated to this game, where he salutes on his entrance, just as the film, where he portrayed an ex-soldier. There has been no change at all to the F-U, and I can see why, there's no reason, it's good as it is. The F-U on the other hand, did need a new animation to it, and it did. now he doesn't mess about as much with reversals and things, he just picks up the opponent, stands there for a second, before slamming them (with what appears to be a higher impact) onto the mat.

        Likeness: 10/10

        There is no way that I can fault the designers of this model, it is perfect. I don't know how they made it so life-like, but it's one of the best facial re-creations of the game. The attire is good too; they have put Cena in some green shorts with camo pockets. Yukes have obviously paid a lot of attention to small details of his model, bringing out the best possible result.

        **JTG**

        From: Brooklyn, New York

        Height: 6'1"

        Weight: 247 lbs

        Strength: 75

        Submission: 70

        Durability: 75

        Technique: 80

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 70

        Stamina: 75

        Overall: 84

        Finishers:

        Neckbreaker 15, Over castle

        I was very happy to see that this member of Cryme Tyme was included in the game, because even though he has been released recently, he was a great character and was part of a group that I could somewhat relate to.

        JTG fights as a brawler; he is relentless in his attacks. I feel that this makes him fun to play as, because it's just an all-out attack on the opponent. He also has some risk-taking tendencies, which make him more excited to play as.

        JTG's entrance has been done as well as Yukes could I believe that they had to get the wrestler himself to mo-cap this, because its just as he does it. He has a relatively long entrance as he does the motorbike and clown walks as he makes his way towards the ring. The neckbreaker he uses is a new creation, the alternative for it last year was a running neckbreaker, those are very difficult to complete, so I was happy to have seen it as a special move to be done when grappling from the front. He kicks the opponent in the gut to set-up the maneuver, making it more realistic than randomly having the other wrestler bent-over waiting for the attack.

        Likeness: 10/10

        JTG's model is perfect, from his attire, to his grill; everything is just as he wore in competition. They had to make this as good as possible because, he doesn't change his attire at all. The only thing I would have liked to see is a cap and tee in his entrance.

        **Ken Kennedy**

        From: Green Bay, Wisconsin

        Height: 6'2"

        Weight: 243 lbs

        Strength: 80

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 80

        Speed: 75

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 88

        Finishers:

        Green Bay Plunge, Swanton Bomb 1

        Kennedy wrestled since on SmackDown! since his debut, and it wasn't until early in the year, when he was drafted to RAW, when he managed to wrestle on a different WWE brand. Since the switchover, he has wrestled with much of the mid-to-top level wrestlers that compete on Monday Night RAW.

        Mr. Kennedy's stats are extremely consistent; he is strong at every aspect of being a wrestler, meaning that there isn't much that he can't do well. This makes for a great character to play as, because you can use him to do most things what wrestlers can do in the game; he's a general representation of the talent in the WWE. The overall rating he received is fairly high too, meaning that is at the top-end of the superstars in the game.

        I don't think that there are any changes to the entrance of Kennedy; everything is just as last years game. I can't say that this is a problem, because it was done so well last in "WWE SmackDown Vs. RAW 2008". The same can be said about both of his finishers, which is quite a disappointment, but there's not too bad as they are.

        Likeness: 9/10

        I feel that the facial model for Kennedy is slightly off and needs a little work to it, it isn't at the same level as many of the other character models. His sports his blue trunks with the silver 'KK' deisgn on both sides. It's a good attire.

        **King Booker**

        From: Houston, Texas

        Height: 6'3"

        Weight: 250 lbs

        Strength: 90

        Submission: 85

        Durability: 85

        Technique: 90

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 85

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 91

        Finishers:

        Book End, Scissor Kick

        King Booker has been in many big roles in the WWE since changing his gimmick; the title gave the character a higher level of importance in the WWE so he was brought up from the mid-upper standard that extra bit higher to become a main-eventer. After being drafted to RAW he has made a big impression on the WWE as a whole, battling on a high level for the most sought-after title, the WWE Championship. After this he was released by the company, but it's still good to have him here. He's now at TNA with his wife Sharmell.

        For this game, the creators of this game have obviously taken note of his status in the WWE at the moment, so his overall rating of 91 is quite high and fits the profile of someone going for the top prize on RAW.

        After being delayed a by a year, Booker's current gimmick has been included into the game. The entrance is great and has definitely been studied by Yukes well. The entrance sees the King come out without regard for the fans, as with the character, as he comes slowly to the ring in order for his subjects all to see him well. The Book End is a good new animation, it's not that special, when compared to others, but it is definitely an improvement on last year's. The Scissor Kick for this game has just removed the Spinaroonie at the end; the rest is the same as before.

        Likeness: 9/10

        As with other superstars, he could have done with a couple of extra attires as he isn't that likely to wear the same gold-on-black trunks week after week. The model isn't too bad, but I feel that the face requires a small amount of tweaking to fit perfectly.

        **Melina**

        From: Los Angeles, California

        Height: 5'4"

        Weight: 122 lbs

        Strength: 50

        Submission: 60

        Durability: 60

        Technique: 70

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 75

        Hardcore: 60

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 71

        Finishers:

        Extreme Makeover, California Dream

        She has seen a lot more action this year, opposed to the previous year. Melina has enjoyed two women's championship reigns since becoming a solo wrestler without her former tag partners' (MNM) assistance.

        Melina's attributes seem to be pretty fair, and the overall of 71 fit when you compare it to the other divas. Her time as Woman's Champion will have aided her levels of attributes, because last year, due to her in-ring-inactivity, she had an overall rating similar to Kelly Kelly.

        Melina's entrance is very similar to the one last year, the main difference is that the signature move is performs by doing the splits as she goes under the ropes more dramatically, just as she does currently. The paparazzi have returned from Melina's entrance last year and it completes the ring-walk for her. The finishers are perfect for Melina, 'The Extreme Makeover' being the more impressive of the two as it is a new animation, a springboard face plant from the turnbuckle. The 'California Dream' is an upside-down neck stretch move.

        Likeness: 8/10

        I'd say her likeness rating is a '9' not due to the same reasons as the other superstars, its not just because of the lack of attires. The main thing that lets her down is what she wears, the costume that she sports is the black on silver one, which was only used when she was a part of MNM, and when she and John Morrison parted with Joey Mercury. As the attire is out-dated I couldn't rate her any higher than this. I'm also not a fan of her facial model, it seems that only her eyes fit, but the rest is slightly off.

        **Mickie James**

        From: Richmond, Virginia

        Height: 5'4"

        Weight: 124 lbs

        Strength: 50

        Submission: 40

        Durability: 60

        Technique: 70

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 60

        Stamina: 75

        Overall: 70

        Finishers:

        Hurricanrana 1, DDT 3

        Mickie has been an active pat of the RAW roster over the last couple of year, and a main competitor for the most covenant female championship in the WWE. These will be key reasons for her comeback to the SmackDown! Series this year.

        As a female wrestler, her role is to be an actual wrestler, and less of an eye-candy role, because other such as Torrie Wilson and Candice Michelle takes this up, not to say she doesn't do the same thing.

        I believe that there has been minimal change to the entrance of Mickie; she is full of energy as she jumps down to the ring and bounces around, this seems very familiar and I have a feeling that little was done in order to make it better. The Hurricanrana for her is a new animation and seems to be very life-like, so it was good.

        Likeness: 10/10

        Mickie wears the black 'Diva' tank-top with silver lettering, along with a red skirt and black tights. In my opinion this attire is one that I feel is the best one to have her wear for this year because it isn't likely to become as boring as the more plain clothes she wore last year.

        **Randy Orton**

        From: St. Louis, Missouri

        Height: 6'4"

        Weight: 245 lbs

        Strength: 80

        Submission: 85

        Durability: 85

        Technique: 90

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 85

        Overall: 92

        Finishers:

        Rated RKO, RKO

        Orton has been involved with many storylines based around the WWE Championship this year, meaning that there was little chance of him getting removed from the roster for 'WWE SmackDown! Vs RAW 2008'. he even managed to win it, and stands as the current champion. As he has been feuding with John Cena, it makes a good match you could set up in exhibition bouts.

        Randy Orton's way of wrestling is fun, he is very traditional in the way he fights, as he was trained as a third generation wrestler, but as a young talent, he has managed to invent many new maneuvers based on these. It means that you will always have fun playing as him, because the moves he does aren't usually done by others. He also fights dirty, something you can utile in the game, and attempts to use weapons at any available opportunity.

        Orton's entrance is a new one; it has the same overall structure, but the way he approaches the ring makes him seem a lot more arrogant. This impression is brought around by his extended use of the poses and his blank expression. As he hasn't really got an alternate finisher, I felt that it was correct, for a second year, to have the rarely seen turnbuckle variation of his primary finisher. The RKO has been re-animated, its more of a jumping grapple than last year. Unfortunately the game doesn't have him measure the opposition before unleashing the move to another wrestler who would have started from a grounded combatant. You will be happy to here that the Super RKO (Rated RKO) is new as well, but it does have a major flaw evident when you use it on a heavyweight. To do this special move, first you must press the finisher button, triangle; this will initiate a combination of actions. This begins with a counter by the opponent, who kicks you in the face, they then climb the turnbuckle and dives, and Orton then performs the RKO on the wrestler who is already falling to the floor.

        Likeness: 10/10

        Orton's attires don't tend to differ to much so I wasn't going to see anything wrong with the trunks would be wearing in any colour. For this, his red with white-on-black trunks were chosen. His overall similarity to Orton himself is highly likable, because the model is so much alike him.

        **Shad**

        From: Brooklyn, New York

        Height: 6'6"

        Weight: 270 lbs

        Strength: 80

        Submission: 70

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 70

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 83

        Finishers:

        Samoan Drop 1, Back Body Drop 2

        All that I said about JTG is relevant here as Shad is the other half of Cryme Tyme, a tag team who got released earlier on in the year, but I wanted to see them, because their gimmicks where amongst the best in the company at the time.

        It's fun to use Shad as he's the powerhouse of Cryme Tyme, he uses his great weight to his advantage and uses moves which won't show how weak he is with speedy techniques and such. I feel that the overall rating given was good for him; it's not too low or high.

        Shad's entrance is very relaxed, when you compare it to his team mate, JTG's. He performs a gentle stroll down to the ring ready for action, I feel that this is a good way to show how he is seen as the more reserved wrestler of the two, but he is a lot more powerful. Shad uses a basic Samoan Drop for his finisher, but it is new with a little stall before the drop.

        Likeness: 9/10

        I can't say that I'm that please with Shad's face on the game. It doesn't quite fit as far as I am concerned. The body and attire make up for this, they have looked in detail at him, even though he departed from the company earlier in the year, he has a white tank top with jeans, Timberland boots and a couple of chains (platinum of course).

        **Shawn Michaels**

        From: San Antonio, Texas

        Height: 6'1"

        Weight: 225 lbs

        Strength: 75

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 95

        Speed: 90

        Charisma: 95

        Hardcore: 85

        Stamina: 90

        Overall: 94

        Finishers:

        Sweet Chin Music 1, Sweet Chin Music Pin 2

        I was very confident that the Heartbreak Kid (HBK) would make it into WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2008, despite the fact that he is currently out on an injury to his knee. HBK has been an asset to the RAW brand of WWE, being a veteran of the wrestling business.

        The attributes for Michaels seem fair as they have ignored the fact that he has been inactive as of late. They have decided to give him a mid-nineties overall, putting him amongst the best in the game, I'd say I a little less would fit him more, but I can live with this.

        There have been various changes to the ring-walk of HBK, these do not change the entrance to a large extent, however, they do make it just a little more energetic. The basic structure of it has not been altered at all; however the signature fireworks display whilst he poses in the ring has been removed. The new Sweet Chin Music (SCM) is great addition, I have hoped for one for a while. This is another ground SCM where he does a newly animated super kick, after tuning-up. It's now completed with an original pin, a fun addition.

        Likeness: 10/10

        Its a shame that DX had to end, because of the injuries to both of the members, if they were include, much more would be capable in this game. As this is no longer the case, it's right to have Michaels' attire just as last year. The facial model is great and I can't find any flaws to it.

        **Snitsky**

        From: Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania

        Height: 6'4"

        Weight: 307 lbs

        Strength: 90

        Submission: 75

        Durability: 85

        Technique: 70

        Speed: 60

        Charisma: 70

        Hardcore: 75

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 82

        Finishers:

        Big Boot 5, Pumphandle Slam

        Snitsky has done a few things in the WWE e the last game. One of the major things was breaking Hardcore Holly's arm when he wrestled on ECW. On this brand he was also a part of a feud with Balls Mahoney. Since then he was drafted to RAW and faced off with various mid-level wrestlers, not too exciting.

        As Snitsky has been portrayed as a 'monster' type wrestler, similar to the old Kane, you would have though that he would have got more than a low 80s overall, but he didn't and this is fair because he isn't that good a wrestler really.

        Snitsky's entrance is quite similar to last years; he comes in with large slow steps advantaging to the ring. In this there is the small alteration as he stops just before getting to the steps, where he just stares at an audience member, very realistic, he then proceeds to do this two more times once he has got into the ring. It is a good one that is just like what we see him do on RAW weekly. The Pumphandle Slam he has is the old one, but it still looks good.

        Likeness: 10/10

        There are no problems with this model for Snitsky; we have him bald, as he has been this way since around the time of the release of "WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2007". He is very plain with just black trunks, but this is what he wears, so there are not problems, his figure seems to be in proportion as well so it's all good with "Mean" Gene Snitsky.

        **Triple H**

        From: Greenwich, Connecticut

        Height: 6'4"

        Weight: 260 lbs

        Strength: 90

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 90

        Technique: 90

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 85

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 94

        Finishers:

        Pedigree 1, Pedigree 2

        Since the last game, Triple H got more involved in the new DX, this was all aborted once he tore his quadriceps and had to leave for a while to get surgery and recover. Since returning, he has managed to fit in a feud with both Carlito and Randy Orton, who he won the WWE Title off, only to lose it again later on in the night.

        Although the entrance he does hasn't actually changed on-camera, you can tell that Yukes remade the whole thing again (out of dissatisfaction for the last) it now looks much better and more realistic and again has him synchronizing his movements with the music. Triple H's attribute are very high, and clearly reflect the way his has been wrestling since his return. Everything about it seems completely correct to me and he should be one of the toughest wrestlers to go up against in the game.

        The Pedigree hasn't been re-done, I would have said that this was alright for some other finishers, but this should have been one of the first wrestlers to have new special move creations. The impact from the attack seems to be overly dramatic, as the opponent bounces his head off the canvas and jumps back up before ending up on his back. Just in case you were looking for hope in the second Pedigree don't; it's the same as the alternate one from games previous to this as well.

        Likeness: 9/10

        I must say that Triple H's character model doesn't look as good compared to other wrestlers', this comes as a huge surprise to me as he is one of the main attractions on RAW, so you would have expected them to put in more effort for him. You can argue that he was inactive for a considerable amount of time, but they still would have had a lot of recent material to work from to make up his face and body model. He doesn't have a DX attire, he wears his regular black trunks with the grey and red design.

        **Umaga**

        From: The Isle of Samoa

        Height: 6'4"

        Weight: 348 lbs

        Strength: 90

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 90

        Technique: 75

        Speed: 65

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 88

        Finishers:

        Samoan Spike, Umaga Hip Attack 2

        I was very confident for Umaga's return to the game, he was in the programming a lot last year as he won the Intercontinental Championship twice and has been involved in feuds with the likes of Jeff Hardy and Triple H.

        Umaga brought something very new an original to 'WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2007' as his fighting style was very mysterious. Obviously, there have been no changes in how he wrestles on RAW, so this has been maintained for this game. His style is similar to that of Rikishi, former WWE wrestler, in that he used his weight to his advantage to crush his opponent at any opportunity by sitting on them.

        Umaga's new entrance is good, it's much better than last years, in which he just walked to the ring whilst looking around the arena. This year he is full of energy, like what we regularly see on RAW, and his monstrous persona is very apparent as he shouts and beats his chest repetitively. The Samoan Spike is just as last year, first the camera zooms into the thumb, before he drives it into the throat of the opponent. The 'Hip Attack' for his secondary finisher was in the game last year; you perform it by pressing the finisher button when the opponent is sitting in the corner of the turnbuckle.

        Likeness: 10.10

        They couldn't really go wrong with Umaga, because last year they did a good job on his model, so this year was just adding minor improvements on that. he has on the same attire as last year, the back shorts which end at the knees. He now has a 'SAMOA' tattoo across his stomach, and it looks just like the one we see each week on RAW.

        **William Regal**

        From: Blackpool, England

        Height: 6'2"

        Weight: 245 lbs

        Strength: 80

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 85

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 70

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 85

        Finishers:

        Knee Trembler, Power of the Punch

        Currently, William Regal acts as the General Manager for RAW and has done since he was drafted to it from SmackDown! in June and then won a Over-the-Top-Rope Battle Royal in August. He hasn't really done too much for the brand since taking over this role apart from incorporate game shows on RAW.

        William Regal's stats are pretty average in the game, there's nothing special in them. It's my opinion that this should be the case, because he hasn't really wrestled since August and probably won't for a while either.

        His entrance fits quite well with the character, he performs a steady jog as he warms up on the way to the ring, and before entering the actual canvas, he wipes his feet. Regal has the same Power of the Punch as last year, no new animation, just him reaching into his trunks and putting on some brass knuckles, which he punches his opponent with. The Knee Trembler returns from last year, Regal runs and knees the opponent in the temple whilst running towards them.

        Likeness: 10/10

        The model for Regal is amazing: the facial model is perfect; I cannot fault it in any way possible. He has the same attire as usual, the red trunks with a blue and white design on the back of them.

        ^^^ECW^^^

        **CM Punk**

        From: Chicago, Illinois

        Height: 6'1"

        Weight: 222 lbs

        Strength: 75

        Submission: 90

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 85

        Speed: 85

        Charisma: 85

        Hardcore: 85

        Stamina: 85

        Overall: 92

        Finishers:

        Go 2 Sleep, Anaconda Vise 1

        I can't say that I know too much about this superstar. This is because of the reason that he has only wrestled on the ECW brand since coming to WWE, this brand is the only one I don't watch, yet I understand the general understanding of it. He is however the current ECW champion

        Many see Punk as under-rated and would say that he is of ECW Heavyweight champion caliber; I think that Yukes feel the same way, because they chose to give him a high overall rating. By my understanding, I think he is slightly too high, 90 would my ideal level for him.

        The entrance for Punk is a pretty basic one for an underrated fan-favorite. His ring-walk is modest and it seems that he is well-motivated, hungry for gold as a young superstar in the WWE. It is a great reflection of the actual wrestler. His non-submission finisher, Go 2 Sleep doesn't seem to be as spectacular as the actual thing; I was defiantly disappointed by this. Is a fireman's carry into a knee face plant, this sounds exciting, but I didn't see this complex move in such a spectacular form. The Anaconda Vise finisher is a better one, it's a slam before an arm triangle choke.

        Likeness: 9/10

        The model for him is perfect, he wears the red trunks with the black stars and trim, his face looks just as real-life, but he does have a flaw. His main flaw being the fact that he is only allowed to wear a single attire which is one he sports most often, but certainly isn't the only thing he wears.

        **Elijah Burke**

        From: Jacksonville, Florida

        Height: 6'1"

        Weight: 230 lbs

        Strength: 75

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 75

        Technique: 80

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 75

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 86

        Finishers:

        Elijah Experience, Elijah Express

        Elijah has been around in the WWE for about a year, in this time, he has competed on both SmackDown! and ECW. He has been brought into the world of wrestling after boxing, where he has a 103-1 win/loss record in amateur competition. I feel that since he has been around for a while, and he has done a lot on ECW, he deserves a place in this game.

        The entrance for Burke has him taunt the crowd, towel in hand, as he makes his way to the ring. I feel that the ring-walk for Elijah is decent; it has everything I was looking for in an original character's entrance. The Elijah Express is good too, the finisher starts when you press the finisher button, triangle when the opponent is groggy is in the turnbuckle position, then Burke will run to the other side of the ring and run, before smashing his knees straight into the face/chest of the other wrestler.

        Likeness: 9/10

        It may be because I'm just not that familiar with this character yet, but the facial model for Burke doesn't look as accurate as others. I feel that this was all that let down Elijah's model, the black attire with red design is fine, so there aren't any problems here.

        **Johnny Nitro**

        From: Los Angeles, California

        Height: 6'2"

        Weight: 219 lbs

        Strength: 75

        Submission: 75

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 85

        Speed: 85

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 90

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 89

        Finishers:

        Shooting Star Splash, Facebuster 6

        I am somewhat annoyed by this character in the game, and if you've been watching the WWE programming, then you will understand why. Johnny Nitro changed his named to 'John Morrison' after winning the ECW Heavyweight Championship in June. They had this long to simply change his name, but they chose not to. As you read before, he had to be included for the reason that he reigned as ECW Champion earlier in the year, and he enhances the talent on this brand. He recently moved to SmackDown!, where he is a Tag Team Champion with The Miz (who isn't in the game).

        I believe that the overall rating given to Nitro is fair, he isn't the best that ECW has to offer, but he is certainly up there with them. My understanding behind how he has managed to be given a high rating under the 'Hardcore' statistic is that he is now on ECW and this influence has made him prone to using weapons more often now.

        Nitro has a new entrance with new music, but he hasn't got his coat on. I would have thought that this would have been included by now because he is seen in I often enough. The animation once he gets into the ring is just as before, but when he comes down the ramp he does more posing. Nitro's new finisher is the one we saw him perform from his foundations in 'Tough Enough', the ground Shooting Star Press, the animation is nice, he does it from a standing position (not running)and it ends with a pin.

        Likeness: 8/10

        I can't say that they tried to get the best, most updated version of this character, because they didn't, he has change quite a bit from his Nitro character. This also shows in his appearance as the hair is outdated, along with the attire, which has new small changes. The one in the game may as well be the one from the last game. He has the white tights with the red and black design. He now has the fuzzy brown shoes on.

        **Kelly Kelly**

        From: Jacksonville, Florida

        Height: 5'5"

        Weight: 108 lbs

        Strength: 35

        Submission: 45

        Durability: 45

        Technique: 55

        Speed: 60

        Charisma: 70

        Hardcore: 40

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 58

        Finishers:

        Blonde Beatdown, DDT 18

        She is one of the people who were introduced into WWE as ECW came back; therefore she has been around for over a year and deserves a place as she was seen almost regularly on the extreme brand of WWE.

        As she is a showman, the way that she wrestles doesn't really concentrate on punishment. As she isn't in the ring wrestling too much I feel that this was the best way to portray her character, because it isn't too well known by the team at Yukes.

        I feel that all was suited to her from her attributes, to the special moves, as she doesn't really wrestle, these finishers fit her well. Obviously as a new character to the game, she has an original entrance which seems to be pretty much as the life-like counter-part. The slap which she performs as a finisher is completely new, but is very simple, thus the 'Blonde Beatdown' fit perfectly.

        Likeness: 10/10

        I can't see any flaws in her at all, the model's resemblance to the original character is amazing and the outfit, which is a silver two piece, appears to be what she is seen wearing regularly on WWE programming.

        **Marcus Cor Von**

        From: Saginaw, Michigan

        Height: 6'2"

        Weight: 265 lbs

        Strength: 90

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 90

        Technique: 75

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 75

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 89

        Finishers:

        Pounce, Russian Leg & Armbar

        Cor Von was one that I was excited to see come to the WWE, as I had watched him on TNA, and The "Alpha male" gimmick worked very well. As he was had a big ECW storyline, I thought that he would have a good chance of getting into the game. He was a part of the "New Breed" of ECW, there had a feud with the "ECW Originals". However, he was released in September after he was out of action for a while, at last he managed to get into one game.

        As Cor Von was a part of two NFL Superbowl winning teams, and played as a linebacker, much of the attributes gained from this experience, have been translated to his in-ring capabilities. He has a good speed, to size ratio, from this and his finisher reflects a linebackers role in American football, with a huge shoulder block finisher he calls "The Pounce".

        His entrance is quite generic, he doesn't do any signature movements that automatically signify that the entrance is his ll he does is walk down the ramp normally and enter the ring and look around. His secondary finisher isn't quite as I had hoped. He does the Russian leg sweep, and then on the floor, he kicks the opponent in the head. After this, he rolls over and does a reverse armbar, but not as a submission finisher, he just does the hold for a second, before released in the arm. I don't see why it couldn't be made into a full submission move. The Pounce has a great animation to it, he throws th other wrester to one rope with an Irish whip before running to an adjacent one, coming off it with a big shoulder block. He reacts to the hit by spinning to the mat; this is then followed by him jumping straight back up his feet.

        Likeness: 10/10

        I se nothing wrong with the model at all, the face matches perfectly. The attire he wears is just as on ECW, with the gold trunks with a black design on the front of it. I couldn't find any room to complain about it, so Yukes have done a good job with him, it's a shame we'll probably never see his character in the game again.

        **The Sandman**

        From: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

        Height: 6'3"

        Weight: 244 lbs

        Strength: 80

        Submission: 75

        Durability: 90

        Technique: 70

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 90

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 86

        Finishers:

        Hurricanrana 9, Swanton Bomb 3

        I cannot say that I know much about this wrestler, because I didn't watch the original Extreme Championship Wrestling, or the newer version. I do know however that he wrestled in WCW and ECW in their old days, and on the ECW re-make, he carried on from where he left off. He was traded to RAW, but was released from the WWE in September of this year. I was good to see him, because it adds to the hardcore element of the game.

        I feel that the ratings for this wrestler are accurate, he didn't do too much on return, and the main aspect which he brought was his great ability to utilize weapons in various ways, one thing which he is capable of is using the steel chairs to wrap-up th opponents leg, before stamping one side of the chair to make it slam against the other wrestlers knee.

        The Sandman's entrance is the most original one of the game; it has him enter, not from the main stage, but a side entrance and through the crowd, just as on the programming. He gulps down a beer just before climbing the guard rail, it's very well done. The Swanton Bomb is a new creation, as you are probably pleased to hear. It has The Sandman start from the turnbuckle, where you press the finisher button, triangle, before he throws down the opponent and flips down from the top-rope, onto the laid-out wrestler on the canvas.

        Likeness: 9/10

        I feel that they recreated this character fairly well, but the face and body don't seem to have the same realism as the others. He wears a black sleeveless top with name and silhouette upon it. He has black trousers on also and all of his tattoos have been drawn as well as possible onto his skin, making the model as good as it can be.

        **Tommy Dreamer**

        From: Yonkers, New York

        Height: 6'2"

        Weight: 255 lbs

        Strength: 80

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 85

        Technique: 75

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 90

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 86

        Finishers:

        DDT 18, Dreamer Driver

        Since Dreamer return to the action, he has wrestled on the "extreme"
        brand on ECW, his old home. Her he has managed to re-instate his status as a legend to the game as he has competed against wrestlers from the new ECW, whilst being with the "originals" of the brand. I feel that it was correct to have him in the game for this reason, and as they gave him the role of ECW GM for the game, it seems as though nobody else who is there can do the job.

        Dreamer has fairly mediocre statistics. I feel that it is fair to give him these, because he isn't too good at doing much over than fighting with weapons and withstanding hits from them.

        "WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2008" is the SmackDown! Series debut for the ECW legend Tommy Dreamer, for this reason, he has a new animation for his entrance. The entrance is good, nothing spectacular happens; he just works off the crowd as he makes his way to the squared-circle. The Dreamer Driver is a basic move, but the way it's been formed makes it seem very realistic and more than just a simple fireman's carry to a slam. The DDT was in the game before, so it isn't too fun to watch, but it's OK for now.

        Likeness: 10/10

        We have Dreamer in his black tee, which has his face masked with blood. He wears the ECW trousers with an elaborate white and red design too, this all seems to make up a good-looking character model for the ECW veteran, "The Innovator Of Violence", Tommy Dreamer.

        ^^^Legends^^^

        The list of legends this year did have a few surprises, none of which were from some classic wrestlers' inclusion, but the ones who were excluded. The death of Chris Benoit would have provoked the team behind the roster to include him here, but the circumstances which surround the way in which he died along with his family members, it would be irrelevant to have him in the game.

        Sabu was someone the fans were extremely pleased to see, with ECW having a big impression on the game. He should have been in as part of the regular roster, however his release prevented this. It was pleasant to see him here, because many thought that the release meant that he had parted ways with the company, it simply meant that he wouldn't be seen wrestling there.

        Hulk Hogan was a surprise this year, because this was the first year that he was excluded from the 'SmackDown!' series after legends started to appear. Other regular have returned with The Rock, Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin all back again.

        **Bret Hart**

        From: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

        Height: 6'1"

        Weight: 234 lbs

        Strength: 70

        Submission: 100

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 100

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 90

        Overall: 93

        Finishers:

        Sharpshooter, Piledriver 2

        I don't really know Bret Hart too well so I wouldn't have chosen to have him in the game and from what I know of his has come from all of the games he has appeared in. I must say that I find his style of wrestling too traditional and boring so I would prefer not to play as him. He is a former 5-time WWF Champion.

        Bret Hart is the only character in the game that they have allowed to max-out two attribute categories, 'Technique' and 'Submission', I feel that he is definitely worthy of having this privilege, but they chose to be accurate with everything else and not overrate other things, therefore, he was left with a 93. Together, this all fits in well.

        The entrance for "The Hitman" is good; he wears a leather jacket and pink shades (which he gives to a fan). The walk is nice and smooth, very similar to other games and how they made him come in. We have a new Sharpshooter for Bret; it is more realistic as he slowly get into position before applying full pressure on the joints. Bret Hart uses a new piledriver where he jumps into the move before dropping them onto their head; this move looks to be a lot more impactful than any piledriver I have seen in the game before in the game.

        Likeness: 10/10

        From what I know, his attire seems fine and all in order, I cannot pin-point a specific date for this model, but it looks like a good Bret hart, there is nothing wrong with his facial model and the pink-on-black overalls look good.

        **Mick Foley**

        From: Long Island, New York

        Height: 6'2"

        Weight: 287 lbs

        Strength: 85

        Submission: 85

        Durability: 90

        Technique: 80

        Speed: 60

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 95

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 90

        Finishers:

        Double Arm DDT, Mandible Claw

        At least one of Mick Foley characters have been included in the game since "WWE SmackDown! Vs. Raw 2006", this time we have him named as regular Mick Foley. I feel that it was correct to have him return to the game this year, but I think that it should be the last time though, because I feel that there are others who are more worthy of a spot on the game.

        They chose to go for the most recent version of Foley this year, but the attributes they gave him reflect a younger version of him. I would say that only the 'Hardcore' and 'Durability' stats would fit with this character model, but not the rest because he hasn't maintained anything else about his physical ability.

        Mick Foley's entrance is good; he comes in saluting to the supportive crowd and once in the ring, his poses on the second rope. It's just how it should be; he has Mankind's entrance music and video, just as Foley did when he came back a various points after his main career was over. Both of Foley's finishers are as last year, this isn't a surprise, because they don't need to update them and he hasn't changed the way he performs them.

        Likeness: 10/10

        Foley wears his red checked shirt over his Mankind "Have a Nice Day" masked yellow smiley face t-shirt. This is all he has worn since he became semi-retired from wrestling, so they couldn't get it wrong, nevertheless, it is a great model. His face looks very accurate too, you can tell that he has aged quite a bit, compared to the last game, the added detail brings this across very well.

        **Rick Rude**

        From: Robbinsdale, Minnesota

        Height: 6'3"

        Weight: 251 lbs

        Strength: 75

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 90

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 90

        Finishers:

        Rude Awakening, Piledriver 2

        I must say that I don't really know Rick Rude so I wouldn't have chosen to put him in the game, but others may appreciate him being in there, so I cannot complain. From what I know he was a well-respected wrestler who died due to a heart failure, most likely to be caused by steroid use during his career. He passed after having captured the WWF Intercontinental Championship as well as other lesser known titles around the wrestling world.

        Rude has a high overall, I must say that from what I know, this is slightly too high, but really I can't say that he wasn't worthy of 90 because I don't know him. I can agree with his high 'Charisma' statistic though, because I know that he pioneered the use of flamboyant attire, as he wore brightly-coloured tights back when he was active.

        Although I cannot identify it, Rude has custom music for his entrance, but doesn't have a video to accompany it. He does a very calm walk to the ring, strolling along the ramp down to it, once he has reached the centre of the canvas; he does some poses by flexing his biceps and rotating his hips. The Rude Awakening has a great animation to it, I had never seen it before so I was surprised to see him grab the wrestler by the neck, having the opponent facing backwards then, ready to perform a neckbreaker, he rotates his hips again before dropping both of them down. The piledriver is a jumping one, so it has a bigger impact to it.

        Likeness: 10/10

        The tights Rick Rude has on have the word "Ravishing" across his them, these are done in bubble letters and change colour along the way down in a rainbow way. He also wears black boots and sports a mullet with a big moustache over his lip.

        **The Rock**

        From: Miami, Florida

        Height: 6'3"

        Weight: 240 lbs

        Strength: 80

        Submission: 90

        Durability: 90

        Technique: 90

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 95

        Hardcore: 90

        Stamina: 785

        Overall: 96

        Finishers:

        Rock Bottom, People's Elbow

        There's no SmackDown if there's no Rock, he made up the phrase and it's his show so he has to be included as a legend again. I wouldn't have felt right if they had decided to leave him out of the game, so I am extremely happy to see him in it. The Rock is of the best modern legends in the game and has a huge fan-base, so it would not have been smart to leave out a 10-time World Champion.

        They have give The Rock very high attributes and these are very good for his model, he should have some of the est statistics around, because he was that good for most of his career at the WWF/E. Judging by everything about his model, especially his weight, I would have to say that this is the Hollywood version of The Rock, post-2002 and after filming some movies, he was still at the top of his game, he just wrestled less frequently.

        The Rock's entrance is perfect, he des everything that the true Rock would do when preparing to wrestle in the ring, I can't say that it isn't dissimilar to last year's animation, but its' definitely how he comes to the ring. You also see that they have taken note that he will talk all the way down, they have recreated this well too. The Rock Bottom is just as last year, where he extends both arms before dropping the opponent on their back. The People's Elbow is just as it has been for year's and this is because he hasn't changed the way he does it at all, and Yukes did such a good job on the first attempt.

        Likeness: 10/10

        They really couldn't go wrong with The Rock, they never had before. Just about everything is in perfect order as he has a great facial model and he wears blue-and-white-on-black trunks. They were the only ones which I remember him wearing during this period of his time in the company.

        **Roddy Piper**

        From: Glasgow, Scotland

        Height: 6'2"

        Weight: 234 lbs

        Strength: 80

        Submission: 85

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 80

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 80

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 87

        Finishers:

        Sleeperhold, Piledriver 2

        "Rowdy" Roddy piper is a popular choice for a legend in the "SmackDown!" series because of how big an impact he made from early on in his career, this has all continued on to this day, and his fairly frequent appearances on the shows today have improved this. In this company, the best he achieved was the Intercontinental Championship as well as an induction into the WWE Hall Of Fame.

        They have given Piper some rather modest attributes, but I feel that they are all in order: they haven't robbed him of any of his strengths from back in the day and they haven't over-rated him either. They have chosen to put him into the character from the prime of his wrestling career.

        For Roddy's ring-walk we have him sporting a white "Hot Rod" tee with fiery lettering. He also has a kilt for his special entrance attire. He has his Scottish bagpipes for entrance music and his regular titantron video. He enters in a way that I would say is pretty normal for him. The Sleeper Hold has a new animation to it, but it's nothing special really, he just comes from the front to switch round behind and strangles the other wrestler. He uses a jumping piledriver for his second finisher.

        Likeness: 10/10

        I like that they have made an effort for Piper by giving him extras to wear during his walk to the ring, but apart from these, stated earlier, he wears blue trunks and kneepads as well as red boots. They have gone with a younger Piper, so he has a clean-cut face and flowing ginger hair.

        **Sabu**

        From: Bombay, India

        Height: 6'

        Weight: 220 lbs

        Strength: 80

        Submission: 80

        Durability: 85

        Technique: 75

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 80

        Hardcore: 100

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 86

        Finishers:

        Arabian Facebuster, Camel Clutch

        Sabu was included in the game even though he got released from the company earlier on in the year, prior to this; he wrestled on ECW, and carried-on his legacy as a legendary wrestle, especially for his style of winning his matches.

        If anyone was most deserving of a maxed out 'Hardcore' rating, it's Sabu, he is a legend in the world of ECW, and he rarely finished matches without weapons and bloodshed. The rest of his ratings seem fair too, this doesn't happen too often with legends, they usually over-rate them, but as they chose the most recent Sabu, this is what he was like a the end of 2006 and beginning of 2007.

        Sabu's entrance is everything it should be; he comes in with a lot of energy and does a few pointing poses, both in and outside of the ring. I would have like it if they chose to have him come through the crowd, but he comes in traditionally too, so this not too much of a problem. The animation for the facebuster is great, the opponent attempts to get to his feet, but Sabu is waiting at the ropes, when he's just lifting his body up, Sabu flips over with a good leg drop. The Camel Clutch is nothing special though, it's the same as in the previous game.

        Likeness: 10/10

        I like that they have given us the newest Sabu, they had over 20 years worth of models to choose from, and he wears his yellow trouser with white trimmings elsewhere.

        **Stone Cold Steve Austin**

        From: Victoria, Texas

        Height: 6'2"

        Weight: 252 lbs

        Strength: 80

        Submission: 90

        Durability: 90

        Technique: 90

        Speed: 80

        Charisma: 95

        Hardcore: 90

        Stamina: 80

        Overall: 95

        Finishers:

        Stunner 1, Stunner 2

        Stone Cold Steve Austin is just as The Rock, you cannot go without him, he was amongst the most popular characters in the WWE as a whole when he competed regularly but even without his presence, you would see a huge reaction if he returned tomorrow, coincidently he did make a few appearances on the programming this year. Austin is a former 6-time WWE Champion, so he is definitely worthy of being called a legend and being a part of this game.

        He has one of the best ratings in the game, so he will be a tough one to play against. I feel that this is completely fitting for his character, because in his prime, their were only a few who would be able to wrestle well against him, never mind beat him.

        Austin's entrance is one of the best in the game and they didn't have to change it at all because he hasn't in the real-life WWE programming. He does the middle finger salute on each turnbuckle whilst taunting each side of the arena. He has a gold-designed black vest on for his ring-walk this year; a nice touch to finish it off well. The two stunners are ones found in previous games, both of which are based on the reactions of The Rock back when they used to have a feud; this involves the opponent flipping backwards after receiving the move, but in two slightly different variations.

        Likeness: 10/10

        As he obviously has on of the simplest attires in the game, there couldn't really go wrong with Stone Cold. They have everything right, the face is perfect and he wears two black knee braces (one on each leg) this time around. Overall this is a good effort to one of the most vital legends in the game.

        Likeness: 10/10

        **Terry Funk**

        From: Double Cross Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

        Height: 6'1"

        Weight: 247 lbs

        Strength: 70

        Submission: 85

        Durability: 80

        Technique: 80

        Speed: 70

        Charisma: 90

        Hardcore: 95

        Stamina: 70

        Overall: 89

        Finishers:

        Spinning Toe Hold, Texas Piledriver

        Terry Funk is currently in the Indies, but in his prime, he worked on ECW in the nineties, and following this he had short stints on the two main wrestling competitors of the time, WCW and WWF. In all of the companies he worked for, he took on roles, which ensured he would use his hardcore wrestling style to win matches. I feel that this is the reason that he should be included in the game, to take note of ECW's presence in the game for the first time.

        Funk has high stats pretty much all round and it reflects how he was at his best form, the fact that they didn't go as far as put him into the nineties shows that they didn't over rate him, because they know that he wasn't quite as good as those levels, it was just that he wrestled for so long, and pioneered the hardcore style of wrestling.

        Funk doesn't have an entrance video, it has been replaced with a "WWE Legends" logo, this is a shame, but we can't really do anything about this. This is also the case for the music, none at all. His ring-walk makes up for this as he comes to the ring with a lot of energy, he is really pumped-up and really to fight, I must say that this is a really nice animation, but the lack of atmosphere from the video and music let it down. The piledriver has a very good animation to it; Funk picks up his opponent and stalls before dropping them on their head. The toe hold could be found on previous games, but the animation is good and doesn't require any change.

        Likeness: 10/10

        I cannot specify a specific period of time, but he wears black tights with red and white diagonal stripes going down them. I would have to guess and say that his attire is from the ECW days of his career; his relatively young facial model (which is very good) would suggest this.

        ^^Unlockables^^

        **Vince McMahon**

        **Shane McMahon**

        **JBL**

        On other platforms for the game, additional characters are available:

        PSP: Eddie Guerrero, Jim Neidhart and Sgt. Slaughter
        DS: Hardcore Holly

        Obviously the PSP is looking quite good now with Eddie Guerrero in particular, being included. It's quite annoying, but it's not a major problem. It's really unfair to people with a DS as their exclusive character is poor, I mean who wants to play as Hardcore Holly.

        ===Music===

        Since the introduction of soundtracks to this game, the main styles incorporated into the game have been rock and rap. These are two of the most popular genres in music, and as the target audience is likely to listen to these more likely than any other, it's best to give them music which they will appreciate. This has returned to this game, but I was disappointed to see the ratio so much in favour of rock music, the majority of the fans will prefer this though, so I won't complain too much.

        Nonpoint - "To the Pain"

        **One Star**

        Two of the tracks from the album, which this is from, are found on here. This must mean that the fans appreciated having songs from them on here, I would have thought that they would have chosen a track from their newest album, "Vengeance", if they wished to please the fans more.

        I usually enjoy listening to Nu-Metal, a fusion of Hip Hop and metal but this was just really annoying to listen to, it's just a lot of loudness, nothing that I wanted to listen to.

        Project 86 - "Put Your Lips On The TV"

        **Three Stars**

        This song comes from "Rival Factions", Project 86's latest album. The band is considered to be "Christian Hardcore", but they have some 'Rapcore' elements to them.

        I haven't got a clue what they mean by the title, but that's not too important. This is a decent track for this type of game, it really gets you hyped-up as it is filled with energy and sounds like something which would be associated with wrestling. I can't say it's my type of music, but it's certainly relevant.

        Sevendust - "Feed"

        **Three Stars**

        This band has worked with the WWE before as they covered some songs on WWE albums such as "Forceable Entry". They have also had, ex-WWF wrestler, Chyna in one of their videos. This song comes from their latest album, released earlier in the year, "Alpha".

        I really like the sound of this, not in a way that I would put it on my iPod; it's tolerable for the next year's worth of playing time. I like the way that this is composed, you think that it's going to go into a loud section, but they just slow it down for a while instead, it's quite unpredictable and it sounds good in the game.

        Project 86 - "Evil (A Chorus of Resistance)"

        **Two Stars**

        Here's another track from Project 86 again, it's off their 2007 album "Rival Factions". The fact that they have this band on the soundtrack twice, and it's their first time on the game, shows that they have some confidence in how it will be received by the fans.

        I don't really like this as much as the other song by them, this one seems much more generic than the last, it doesn't have as much individuality than before, but I still feel that it is relevant to this genre of game. I think that this was included because it was actually released as a single, and the fans are more likely to recognize it (even though I have never heard of them before, never mind the song).

        8Ball & MJG - "Stand Up"

        **Four Stars**

        I was glad to finally see someone I could say I enjoy listening to. 8Ball & MJG are a Memphis rap duo and their track, "Stand Up" is from their newest album, "Ridin' High", which was released earlier in the year. The style of this rap group is old-school Dirty South, and I would say that they are most similar to UGK than anyone else in rap as a whole.

        Just because I have listened to their music out of choice in the past doesn't mean that I will definately like this, and I must say that it isn't a favourite one from them, but it's nice to listen to and it suits the theme of the game well. The sound of this is very Crunk, so it's very gritty and slow to listen to.

        Hellyeah - "You Wouldn't Know"

        **Three Stars**

        Hellyeah are a (not so) Super group, consisting of members of Pantera, Damageplan, Mudvayne and Nothingface, of which I have heard of none. They perform hard rock music, a genre which I do enjoy on the odd occasion. They recently made the transition to form this group and the track on the game is from the album they debuted with, "Hellyeah".

        I feel that this track is perfect for the game, it begins with slow, emotional singing, and following this we have a big breakdown full of shouting and a huge percussion-fest. This composition usually works and can be heard a lot within World Wrestling Entertainment. This isn't to say that I'm a fan of it, but it fits the game.

        Nonpoint - "Everybody Down"

        **Four Stars**

        This is the second track from Nonpoint, and before I said that it would be better to have more recent material from the band on here, and this is what this is. This is a song from their newest LP, "Vengeance", which came out this month of this year, with something so recent, the fans are sure to know that the makers of the game have done their best to listen to what the fans want to have on the game.

        This one is extremely relevant to the game, especially in the opening verse with the lead vocalist shouting out all of the various violent actions he will perform on you, it's really perfect for this game and puts you into a fighting mood. When all the the atmosphere is geared directly towards the action it makes you more focused in the game. This track has a lot of energy and I liked it, I expect that it will grow on me more as I have at least another year's worth of listening to this.

        Puddle of Mudd - "Famous"

        **Two Stars**

        Here an alternative rock band on the soundtrack for this game. I am fairly familiar with this Kansas City group as they're song "Control" was the theme to the 2001 pay-per-view, Survivor Series. This exposure allowed them to come to my attention and I did actually enjoy the music, therefore I wasn't complaining about them having a song on this game. This song is a single from their newest album of the same name.

        Although I believe that some may argue this, I feel that this song is far too soft for this game, it isn't as hardcore as I would have wished for the game. My opinion comes from the overall effect which comes from looking at all the individual aspects of the song, it's got softly-said lyrics (which don't carry much of an impact) and a backing beat which sounds very generic. The struggle which the song speaks about doesn't sound as desperate as I would expect for somebody who wants to be famous (as the say in the chorus) but if it was, it certainly would make more sense by being in the game.

        AM Conspiracy - "Welt"

        **Three Stars**

        This is yet another alt. rock band, but these are much less established than others on the soundtrack as this song comes from their first album, entitled "While You Were Sleeping", but this is yet to be released. I feel that they were included on here because Jason Jones (from Drowning Pool) is part of the band and their music has been associated with the WWE in the past on many occasions.

        This song is a head-banger (hardly practical when you are playing the game), but it still means that it is impacting the listener when you are playing the game, because it makes you feel a lot more energetic and violent, and you can get rid of all this excess by beating out of your opponent in the game.

        Nobody Famous - "Go Hard"

        **Two Stars**

        The trio called Nobody Famous are Hip hop producers who I have (strangely) never heard of them are from the north side of Atlanta, Georgia, so from this description, I expected big bass and something sounding Crunk, I got this with some added rock influence; making it Hood Rock.

        Some of the lyrics for the chorus are a direct rip from a Hyphy track by E-40, entitled, "Go Hard or Go Home", which featured The Federation. For a Hip hop group to come with something so unoriginal on my first impression, it didn't look good in my perspective. I usually wouldn't listen to a track like this all the way trough due to the poor quality of the raps, so this isn't the best of tunes, but it fits in with the genre of the game.

        AM Conspiracy - "Right on Time"

        **Two Stars**

        This Orlando-based band are in the game with another song, this time it's with another song from their latest album, "While You Were Sleeping". They must feel that with the Drowning Pool frontman, Jason Jones, the fans will enjoy listening to this band a lot, so two of their songs are on here.

        This is another one of those typical tracks which you heard during wrestling videos to set the scene, I never like these, but I expect that there is a massive following who do (otherwise they wouldn't be there) they are usually quite slow and emotional with some big percussion, just as this is. It's not what I like, but it works here.

        Sevendust - "Driven"

        **Three Stars**

        This is the second song by this band and the track on it also comes from the new album from them, which is called "Alpha". They must have known that Sevendust would be well-received from the fans, because they put more than one of their tracks on here.

        This is another head-banger, but this time it is from a different band, but the same one which impressed me earlier on, I must say that it increased the amount I like the band , but still it isn't of the quality that I would choose to listen to. The tempo is quite high in this and it keeps up with the game in that respect.

        Chevelle - "Well Enough Alone"

        **One Star**

        This song is the first single from the alternate rock band Chevelle's fourth and most recent album "Vena Sera". This band is from Chicago, Illinois and consists of two brothers with their brother-in-law. I hadn't heard of this band, but the name was familiar, until I realized that the name is their favourite type of car (which would have been where I got the name from).

        This begins with a massive scream, getting you ready for what comes on later in the song. It seems to be out-of-character when you listen to the first verse because after this it calms right down, but then the chorus comes with another exclamation. These would be very annoying to me if I listened to this outside of the game and so I don't believe that I have to tolerate it in the game. This song is poor and I really just didn't like it.

        ===Conclusion===

        In conclusion, this game is the best you can get if you wish to recreate what you see on WWE programming each week. The few changes made to the game have improved it and made it much easier to play than before. There are a few things which still need to be addressed, such as the A.I. and the commentary, but apart from this it is a great game. The new additions, including a brand new season mode has dramatically improved on last year's game, it will also means that I am likely to play it longer than the last game and I won't just stop playing it once I have unlocked all the extra features. Although the amount that you can get after completion is limited, I still believe that with the Tournament Mode and Hall of Fame Mode, I will carry on playing for a lot longer.

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