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THQ's Smackdown vs Raw series just keeps on trucking, now available on the PSP. However, with its latest few entries, the series has run the risk of becoming like FIFA, routinely churning out new entries every year to make a quick buck while not really introducing anything new or innovative.
This game controls quite well for a PSP game, but the lack of a second analog stick is once again conspicuous. Still, THQ have managed a solid interpretation of the control scheme, and thankfully there aren't enough commands that it is overly awkward. Having played the PS2 version a lot first, it did take some getting used to, but it's fine after a few minutes. There are a few technical glitches, though, like the frame rate dropping every so often, and the game does generally feel quite minimal due to the technical limitations of the PSP, offering a simplistic distillation of the Road to WrestleMania mode.
Visually, it's a decent game, but like virtually every THQ wrestling game, it looks a bit behind the times (and did when it was first released); textures are solid but never brilliant, and the crowds always look awful in THQ games, resembling cardboard cutouts even on the newer PS3 and Xbox 360 ones. The animations are good, though, and the wrestling moves don't look clunky or unnatural. Aurally, it's a bit lacklustre; the commentary isn't in the PSP version, which is a big shame, and we get the soundtrack playing instead.
This isn't a bad effort given the PSP's substantial limitations, but those used to the PS2 and PS3 versions will be left rather sore. It feels like a minimal effort that really suffers because of the PSP's architecture, and as a result this is only partly successful.
I bought this game a year or so back for my PSP and really enjoyed most aspects of it, although it's not a game that I'd spend hours playing in a row or go back to time and time again but fun enough.
The graphics in this game are pretty good and in an actual wrestling match the animation of the moves you can perform are pretty solid and realistic. The crowd also looks good in this game which you don't always see with games such as this on the market. The characters are detailed during the play and in the cut scenes between bouts.
The sound, like the graphic is also extremely well done for the PSP version. The commentary is up to you whether you have it on as can be good at the start but become annoying. The wrestlers also have voice overs which are pretty good so overall it's hard to find fault with the sound in the game.
The controls in this game are nice and simple and the learning curve doesn't take too long to pick up a lot of the moves. For most players you should be able to master most of it in about 2 to 3 hours and about 6 matches or so.
This game, even though it is a handheld has a load of modes to choose from. There is the exhibition mode where you can take part in single and tag matches.
In the Season mode you can choose a particular superstar wrestler to fight as. You go through fights and try to earn enough credibility on the circuit to have a shot at the title.
There is also a management mode which lets you be the general manager of one of the brands, raw or smackdown. This allows you to decide the roster you want and you can also create your own matches which is a nice feature.
In addition you can create your own wrestler and you can customise your wrestler with a variety of outfits and accessories and also attribute moves to your character.
This game features about 30-40 WWE superstars and a dozen more are can be unlocked throughout the game. You can also unlock different attires for many of the superstars. Also this game offers you over 15 different arenas to fight in, but you do have to unlock a great percentage of them.
The bad thing about this game is that there a few glitches in some of the matches that can be frustrating to say the least and at times moves freeze and you can't perform them and run very slowly indeed.
If you're a bit wrestling fan then this game is worth trying out and will keep you interested for a while all it's modes etc.
Videogames based on the world of professional wrestling, like the event itself, have always had their share of big pops and blown spots. For every No Mercy or Here Comes the Pain, there's a Rumble Roses or Legends of Wrestling waiting backstage. Luckily for THQ, its annual WWE SmackDown series has typically been on the upside of things -- adding enough yearly improvements to keep fans happy with what Vince and company bring to the table. But like most great wrestlers who stick with the same gimmick for far too long, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007 is starting to feel a little too familiar for its own good.
Now don't misunderstand, SmackDown 2007 is still an impressive combination of wrestling, storytelling, and customization. Like every year before it, it offers a number of new gameplay and feature additions and continues its reign as one of the better looking combat games around. The issue here is that after eight straight years of Yuke's modus operandi, the presentational formula hasn't evolved enough to feel as fresh as it used to.
Being a WWE fan I always try to pick up the newest version of their games on the PS2 mostly but in 2006 I picked up that years version of Smackdown v Raw on the PSP, I was impressed to an extent but in some ways it was a let down, mostly was the games loading times. Would there be improvements this time?
Well in a way yes, the roster is updated and the graphics are slightly improved however the issue of loading times is still very evident.
Graphically its a good looking game, all wrestlers look very like their counterpart althoguh comepared to the PS2 version the backgrounds and arenas struggle to compare. The animation of all the moves is very smooth too.
Gameplay is good, not amazing but certainly playable and with so many wrestlers all with different moves to play around with you'll find yourself getting used to it pretty quickly.
The Sound is great with all wrestlers theme musics being inluded not to mention overdubbing of the wrestlers voices during the career mode.
All in this is a cool game but the loading times make the career mode unbearable so it definitely loses marks there, I still recommend having a go of it if you can get it cheap but still disappointed in some elements of it.
In addition, the game includes updated rosters for Raw and SmackDown, an expanded General Manager Mode and online multiplayer game play with voice chat support.