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November 4, 2004
WWE Smackdown Vs Raw - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
23/11/2004THQYukes1-6, 2$79.95

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Graphics certainly look improved.
Wrestling is one of those things that seems to polarize opinions. You either love it or hate it. In my case I hate it, but as I've said in the past and I'll say it again. Wrestling can make an excellent video game. WWE: Smackdown Vs Raw has some big features, not least of which is online gameplay.

From the most successful wrestling game series of all-time comes the next phenomenon in sports entertainment - WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW. Two worlds will collide as the most elite Superstars square off on the PlayStation 2. WWE programming comes to life with Superstar Voice Over and commentary throughout the unparalleled season mode. An abundance of new gameplay mechanics provide full control over all aspects of the game including new stare-downs, chop battles, submission reversals, match tactics, and overhauled Royal Rumble controls. The Divas are hotter than ever with an enhanced bra and panties match and to polish off the robust roster, from the halls of immortality, come a handful of the most celebrated legends to ever lace up their boots. The influential SmackDown! Series has evolved into one single definitive experience that is WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW.

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Let's get ready to rumble!
Of course we can expect the usual gameplay modes as well as an all new and improved season mode. Apparently the storylines will have "bigger double-crosses and over-the-top surprises". Errmmm It's a wrestling game, it's fake. Who cares about the storyline. We want punches, slams and headlocks! It will also be possible to create your own Championship and then put it on the line against your friends in a fully customizable Pay-Per-View event. The challenge mode includes sixty challenges across four different skill levels including legendary match-ups. Now how's this for a statement from THQ "New enhancements to the bra and panties match so it looks and plays like a real WWE bra and panties match". Match tactics will give players the opportunity to choose if they want to fight dirty or play to the crowd. This system will add more excitement, strategy and personality to each match. WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW will have all-new gameplay mechanics including a chop battle, pre-match stare down and submission reversal system.

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Is that Vince McMahon?
Of course the roster is all important, and in WWE Smackdown Vs Raw it's damn impressive too. Here's the list of regular wrestlers in the title. A-Train; Garrison Cade; Rico; Batista; Hardcore Holly; Rob Van Dam; The Big Show; J.B. Layfield; Sable; Booker T; John Cena; Scotty 2 Hotty; Bubba Ray Dudley; Kane; Shawn Michaels; Charlie Haas; Kurt Angle; Shelton Benjamin; Chavo Guerrero; Mark Jindrak; Stacy Kiebler; Chris Benoit; Matt Hardy; Tajiri; Chris Jericho; Molly Holly; Torrie Wilson; Christian; Randy Orton; Triple H; Chuck Palumbo; Rene Dupree; Trish Stratus; D-Von Dudley; Rey Mysterio; Undertaker; Eddie Guerrero; Rhyno; Victoria; Edge; Ric Flair.

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Purchasing items?
The game also includes several legends including Andre the Giant; Hawk; Mankind; Animal; Jimmy Snuka; The Rock; Bret Hart; Legend Kane; Roddy Piper; Brutus Beefcake; Legend Undertaker. Finally several non-playable characters including Earl Hebner; Jonathan Coachman; Tazz; Eric Bischoff; Michael Cole; Vince McMahon; Jerry Lawler; Mike Chioda; Jim Ross; Paul Heyman make an appearance.

Of course the big addition to this years title will be online gameplay. Still to be confirmed for Australia it is at least listed on THQ's European web site with confirmation of at least one-on-one matches. Hopefully they will bump that up to 4 or 6-player brawls by the games release - however THQ haven't confirmed this.

Graphically there is little doubt that it puts previous games well behind it. The characters look fantastic and their movement superb. Everything is presented with the same style and flair as the TV show.

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Got him pinned.
Always one of the most exciting and energetic aspects of wrestling is the commentary and THQ are promising "superstar voice over and commentary". Exactly what superstar means is unknown, but they are also promising that this voice over and commentary will make it into the season mode.

WWE Smackdown Vs Raw is easily shaping up as the best wrestling title on Playstation 2 date. The number of characters being included is spectacular and hopefully the gameplay will be equally impressive. With a release date set for late-November wrestling fans should start saving their money.