WWE SmackDown vs Raw 2009
Last year's portable wrestling game, WWE SmackDown Vs Raw 2008, was unique in that you perform moves by tracing lines and circles on the touch screen. Although a novel concept, we grew tired of the limited move set and roster, something THQ hopes to change with the upcoming 2009 edition. Featuring more wrestlers, a new control scheme and a new developer (Tose Software, the geniuses behind the excellent Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime), this sports entertainment package should deliver the smack down when it debuts this November.
Similar to its predecessor, WWE SmackDown Vs. Raw 2009 is a 3-D game featuring polygonal representations of Triple H, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, among others. It still challenges you to beat up your opponent with a series of bone-crushing moves, and that's where the similarities end. This time around, the game lets you control your characters using the d-pad, whereas the previous game moves them for you. In addition, you can run by double tapping a direction the d-pad, and to attack your foes, you tap them (for punches) and draw circles around them to grapple. While that seems fun (and we're all for developers trying new things with the hardware), it would be nice to also have a more classic control scheme that lets us power slam, clothesline and Tombstone our way to victory by mashing the face buttons. Considering the DS has four of those as well as two triggers, Tose should be able to work something out.
Furthermore, the game features create-a-wrestler, a staple of most wrestling games, as well as various match types. That includes ladder and cage matches, and it'll be neat to see how the developers pull those off.
Where the game differs from the rest, however, is its role-playing aspects. Its story mode, Road to Wrestlemania, has you leveling up your superstar with training mini-games and talking to wrestlers backstage, in your apartment and even WWE headquarters. Meanwhile, the top screen displays an image of your wrestler's body and their developmental progress. We're not sure how deep this mode is, or how long you can play it for, but consider us intrigued.
We're also jazzed about the outstanding 3-D graphics. THQ and Tose have thus far done a great job squeezing effects from the DS to create a cool looking wrestling game with characters that resemble their real life counterparts, using what appears to be face scans of John Cena and company. And judging by screens, finishing moves will appear in the game, further adding to its authenticity. We can't wait to hit someone with Jeff Hardy's Swanton Bomb.
Thanks to the RPG mode and the new controls, WWE SmackDown Vs. Raw is one of our most anticipated DS games. Step into the squared circle and win the championship when the game hits shelves this November.