WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2006 Reader Review
Ive always been a big fan of the Smackdown series and have played pretty much every version since the first PSOne game way back but its taken me a while to get around to this game and in the end i had to borrow a friends PS2 to play it.
Was it worth the effort? Well yes and no.
Everything from all the other games is there, the roster of wrestlers is up to date or as up to date as it can be. Theres all the match types you can see on television and everything feels and looks like it should.
The main problem stems from the gameplay and the innovation or rather the lack of it. The latest innovation is the rather flawed stamina system, do a move it goes down, stand still it goes up. Every match with the system ends up with you stood still in the middle of the ring holding select because youve been too aggressive with your opponent leaving you open to attack. Mercifully this can be turned off. As mentioned in the EG review there is a power irish whip move which is slightly more powerful than the normal version, the only thing this is useful for however is the simple winning of ladder matches, power whip the guy out of the ring, he lays down for an age outside the ring whilst you climb the ladder to victory. The rest of the gameplay is exactly the same as in every previous version which makes the game easy to pickup but within a couple of hours youve mastered it.
The graphics are fantastic, the wrestlers are very detailed and the entrances are very authentic. The game Still has the same graphical problems which have blighted the series for years, arms go through bodies and the crowd look like cardboard cut outs.
The AI is just as terrible as ever with opponents leaving and entering the ring at random intervals and in some cases standing still next to a computer controlled opponent refusing to attack.
The career modes are solid if unspectacular with a one year season on either raw or smackdown complete with the usual half arsed voice acting. However if your favourite superstar isnt deemed important enough to have his dialogue recorded then you cant play with him in season mode. What kind of decision is that, i mean i know there arent going to be many people who want to do a season as Scotty 2 Hotty but would it have been so hard just to put subtitles in place of his voice?
The General Manager mode works well enough you have a budget to sign wrestlers and then you make matches and develop fueds. However unless you play the matches you schedule then you have no control over the result. This is obviously done for the younger fans who think results arent predetermined. As its the first year of the GM function then it cant be judged too harshly but it offers nothing over games that can be downloaded for free from the internet such as Adam Ryland's Extreme Warfare Revenge.
There is a good deal of longevity in this game, plenty of trophys and challenges to win and complete. There are also a number of legends to unlock through the WWE Shop and through completing challenges and season mode tasks and also a lot of collectible items with which to decorate your dressing room with. However there is a bit of shameless exploitation in this area whereby you cannot unlock Jake "The Snake" Roberts on the PS2 version without unlocking him on the PSP version and transferring the data. Along with the usual create modes this adds a lot of replay value onto the game which is needed as the season modes can be whipped through in a couple of days.
Despite its faults this game does keep you playing and is quite fun to play. The next gen versions currently in development really need to start making bigger steps forward as the current updates are starting to resemble EA style updates.
If you like WWE then rent it but if youre the type of person who likes to 100% complete games then youre gunna have to buy it.
7 / 10