|System: DS, PS2, X360, PS3, Wii, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Yukes Media Creations||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 09, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2 (separate DSs and cartridges required)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Also, in Create-a-Superstar mode, you can build and dress your own character for use in exhibition and multiplayer modes. You can adjust your creation in every which way: build, accessories, facial features, hair, accessories, skills, moves, etc. Did we mention accessories? Because there's a lot of them, and messing around with the options can achieve everything from a stylistic tweak to a full-on makeover. It's like playing with dolls, except for guys, and you dont have to spend a bunch of money on each new outfit.
The graphics on display here are top-notch, among the best the DS has seen. Each fight begins with an introduction for the wrestlers, complete with their music, and some great motion-captured visuals (featuring some ladies who wear only a little more clothing than the guys in this game do). There isn't much life in the audience during the fights, and the wrestlers and ring aren't all that detailed, but it's not that noticeable in the middle of a brawl, and the animations are fluid.
The sound, for the most part, is similarly impressive, with great music and the standard smacking sounds each time a blow lands. The only time the quality drops is during Season mode; when you walk around and talk to other wrestlers, all the dialog is printed rather than voiced, making it seem a bit like a Super Nintendo RPG.
It's frustrating to play a game that should have been good, but got bogged down by such a huge mistake in controls. We respect YUKE's and THQ's attempt to push the genre forward, but when it comes right down to it they miscalculated and pushed the whole thing off the rails instead. Wrestling games have been fine for years without touch screens. There was no need for this upheaval; it wasn't broke, and the change didn't fix it.
For next year, all the developers have to do is map the moves to the DS's A, B, X, Y, and shoulder buttons, and maybe add some blocking. If that happens, Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 will be, if not a raging success, at least a welcome addition to the handheld's library. As for the 2009 title, only hardcore WWE fans who don't own any other consoles should consider it.
CCC Freelance Writer