review is dedicated to the memory of WWE's Eddie Guerrero.
WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2006 is not just another
wrestling game. It actually defines the genre, thanks
to lots of improvements and tons of options. It's
not the perfect wrestling game but it's damn close.
You don't have to be a wrestling fan to appreciate
the challenges put forth in this excellent title.
no use slamming the old wrestling games. This is new
territory. Where we try to caution you about annual
sports titles and how little they improve year-to-year,
suggesting you wait out a season or two until some
major changes have been implemented, WWE SmackDown
vs. RAW 2006 is ripe for the picking. If there is
a better wrestling game on the market I'll eat my
I hear digital text contains very few calories.
2006 (as it will be referred to in this review) is
a lot more challenging in many respects. The AI has
been tweaked but it's still a bit of a disappointment
as the characters tend to perform in too similar a
style. The AI may be more difficult to dominate but
you can change that by adjusting the slider options.
The trouble is that all of the AI characters are affected
by those changes. At least you have the various multi-player
modes to look forward to.
must be exercised carefully in this game. There are
a lot of decisions to make which requires a lot of
forward thinking. Instead of being able to keep your
opponent under control with a couple of your most
powerful moves, you are now going to be forced to
use a different technique. A Momentum and Stamina
meter have been introduced to make the gameplay more
realistic. You aren't going to have unlimited ammo
anymore. Keep using all of your top-level moves and
eventually you're going to be drained of energy thanks
to the Stamina meter. If you continue to use the same
moves repeatedly you will bore the audience and lose
Momentum, making you more sluggish and vulnerable
to hits. You've got to make a conscious effort to
keep things fresh and interesting.
moves will make you want to experiment with the gameplay.
There is a new sleeper hold, the ability to play possum,
the Irish Whip and grapple moves that are totally
customizable for each character. The only grapple
elements you'll have to share are submission holds
and the dirty and clean grapples. Other grapple options
include martial arts, power, speed and old-school.
Remember the Hulk is a playable character and you've
got to respect his old-school style. I wouldn't want
to argue with those pipes.
Season and GM mode let you see the world of professional
wrestling from a different perspective than just watching
it on TV. The GM mode is deep and contains a lot of
text and menus but if you want to run a multi-million
dollar business you're going to have to get used to
doing a lot of paperwork. In the GM mode the bottom
line is ratings. Get the ratings and you're earning
big money. To do this you have to hire the best performers,
I mean wrestlers that you can afford. You'll
also have to script events and create rivalries to
titillate your audience.
creation is much more comprehensive than it used to
be. Not only can you customize each character's grapples
but you have tons of physical options to choose from.
You can even trade your creations with other players
modes can be accessed both online and offline. Online
you can play against five other players while you
can only duke it out with three others online. From
tag team to battle royal matches, the game doesn't
miss a trick - or a match. It even includes the Buried
Alive match where you have to wrestle your opponent
out of the ring and into a waiting coffin whereupon
you proceed to bury him with tons of dirt that just
happens to by lying nearby. Hey, it's all about ratings.
for the championship belt is the tour de force of
the online matches. Stats are recorded and stored
for all players so you can check out the history of
the players that you're going up against. It can be
intimidation to say the least if you're up against
a multiple title holder. There are a few online omissions
that would have really completed this game such as
a buddy list and the ability to communicate during
matches. I guess you can't have everything.
and closer to graphical perfection, the characters
are virtually photo-realistic. You won't have any
problem recognizing any of the wrestlers unless they
are fabricated. The animations are, (and I hate to
use this word when referring to the movement of trucker-sized
guys) graceful. Shots of the crowd make it appear
as though you're watching the real event on TV. The
voiceovers are even better than some of the stuff
that passes for acting on the actual WWE broadcast.
The commentary leaves a lot to be desired. It tries
too hard to emulate the excitement of the game rather
than just being a component of it.
a wrestling game for people that have more than a
one-digit IQ. Who'd have thunk it?