Another Reason to Hate Vince McMahon
WWE Smackdown vs. RAW 2009 is the latest installment in THQ’s annual wrestling extravaganza and, as usual, it is nearly identical to every Smackdown game the came before it. The actual wrestling mechanics have not had any major overhaul in quite sometime, while ‘07 added the analog controls for moves, the last major innovation was in Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth, which added the body damage system.
‘09 attempts to change up the tag team match type by adding the “hot tag” feature, in which a beaten wrestler can mount a comeback, but as you would expect, tag team matches still aren’t any fun to play. If you’ve played any of these games from this generation of consoles the matches play out almost completely the same. You could put ‘07, ‘08, and ‘09 next to each other, and most people probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference without the different HUDs. Sure the game is functional, but I can’t see how anyone who has followed this series could not be completely bored and uninterested with this tired gameplay.
The new feature this game boasts is “Road to Wrestlemania”, a story mode in which you take control of one of 7 wrestlers (HHH, Chris Jericho, Undertaker, CM Punk, John Cena, Batista, or Rey Mysterio), and play though a few months of WWE quality stories all culminating at Wrestlemania. Unfortunately, these stories have poor writing and even poorer voice acting across the board. Another grip is the graphics, I played it on a HD TV in 1080i and it looked grainy and out of focus, very PS2.
Quite frankly, Smackdown is a series that should to take a step back and seriously re-evaluate its quality. Unfortunately for wrestling fans, the sales numbers will probably tell Yukes and THQ that they don’t need to.