|System: PSP, DS, PS2, X360, PS3, Wii||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. 9, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-6||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
That being said, there is one thing I really wish THQ would bring back from previous wrestling games: the ability to drag your opponent throughout the entire arena, traveling from room-to-room in Hardcore or Falls Count Anywhere matches. Using elements found in dressing rooms as weapons, performing moonsaults off the lobby staircase, and taking it outside to kick ass in the street were always among the highlights of WWE games. There is a backstage level that takes place in a parking lot and a KO is needed to win, but you can no longer make your way throughout the venue as you could in the past, making Falls Count Anywhere matches a nearly pointless feature. As you make your way up the entrance ramp, the only place to go is back down to the ring. Ever since they omitted this feature, I have been wishing they would bring it back each year, and it didnt come true in 2009.
Another thing I noticed that has been a consistent problem with WWE games is that THQ still cant seem to count the ring-out smoothly in a standard match. Depending on how much action is taking place outside the ring, the ref can make a several-second gap between counts, so a ten-count can often take more like 15 or 20 seconds. Its not a big problem, but it seems as though this error has been present for as long as I can remember.
All-new Create A Finisher is something that fans of character customization will absolutely love. It is a comprehensive system that allows you to choose a sequence of up to ten different movements with a long list to choose from that lets you pull off elaborate and destructive moves. All are fully customizable with many possibilities. It is easy to spend hours creating finishing moves with an endless number of sequences to come up with.
Career and Tournament modes make a return. They are pretty much unchanged from last year. Create A Superstar and other creation modes, such as Move-Set and Entrance, are more of the same. With 14 different one-on-one match types to play in Exhibition, improved A.I. in Tag Matches and other classics such as Royal Rumble, SvR 2009 boasts over 70 different match types to play at any time. There are lots of different arenas for a change of scenery as well, including an outdoor military base in the Middle East, as SvR 2009 offers a whole lot of variety and a whole lot of wrasstlin for one game.
With so many years of consistently improving their titles, SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 is an installment wrestling gamers will appreciate, offering enough new features to keep the series fresh without meddling with its tried-and-true mechanics. All of the games newly-added features are welcome additions, without any of them feeling like cheap add-ons to advertise on the back cover. This feels nothing like a dulled-down next-gen title, and wrestling fans will love the variety of wrestlers, match types, moves, and creative features to toy around with.
CCC Freelance Writer