WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2008 (Wii) Review

By Mike Mason 06.12.2007 4

When THQ announced that they were bringing Smackdown VS Raw over to Wii, we were elated. Alright, we would've preferred Day Of Reckoning 3, but we were interested to see any WWE game on the system just to see how well they could make it work with the added fun of motion controls. Read on to smell what Yukes cooked up...

We weren't impressed with the WWE's first outing on Wii at first, and it's not difficult to see why. In comparison to the versions released on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 it's a barebones title that may well have had less development time than the others, though we couldn't say for certain. While in the other consoles' versions there are all manner of modes, the Wii version of WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2008 strips them out. Four-way matches, cage matches? Tapped out. Hell In A Cell, backstage fighting? Pinned. Ladder matches, weapons that aren't chairs, proper story modes, the ability to create entrances for wrestlers? Powerbombed through the announcer's table and KOed. This is not a feature-heavy game; the lack of content is pretty shocking when compared to the other systems' offerings, particularly for a full-price title. The game looks like the Playstation 2 version, which is no bad thing as that looks great, but there is certainly room for improvement with the boosted power of Wii - another reason why this seems a bit rushed.

Screenshot for WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2008 on Wii

Just as it immediately radiates disappointment, though, Smackdown VS Raw also shows off what it's all about straight away. It's obvious as soon as you begin playing that this is in some ways more of a test subject than a serious attempt to bring the franchise to Wii, a toe to test the bathwater. See, it's based entirely around the motion aspect of Wii. Rather than punching in arbitrary buttons and flicking analogue sticks about, all you need to do is...flick. This sounds like an oversimplification, and it is – but the combat is all the better for it. We can't have been the only ones who haven't been bowled over by wrestling games as more buttons have been added to controllers and actions have been spread to any and all buttons available – the 360 2007 edition, for example, appeared to have been designed with octopuses in mind and only came into its own when you put an hour or two into it to get the hang of things. The learning curve of this version is non-existent; play for just a few minutes and you'll understand everything you need to know to kick ass.

This hasn't come at the expense of the depth of the fighting, either. Unlike the DS version, you're still perfectly free to move about at your will with the analogue stick, and you can do just about everything moves-wise as you can in the other versions. Yukes have gotten around the limitations of Wii in terms of button inputs by using a total of two or three buttons in combination with motions to handle everything to do with combat. This doesn't seem possible if you look at other versions – you need two or three buttons just to run, punch and modify the strength of moves, and even then you need a second analogue stick to activate the key moves of the game, the grapples – but it's all context sensitive. If you're stood next to your foe and flick the remote you will strike them. If you're stood on the other side of the ring and flick, you will charge them. If you want to do a quick grapple, hold A and flick. A strong grapple, hold B, flick and then choose a direction to flick and follow any subsequent motions it asks for to complete your move. Flicking the remote in any of four directions (up, down, left, right) makes your wrestler perform a different move, so you have four strikes, four quick grapples and four ways to set-up a strong grapple (with three or four attacks possible to be performed from each way you hold your foe in the resulting strong grapple) from any situation you're in, quickly and easily.

Screenshot for WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2008 on Wii

Since you're using motions to wage war upon wrestlers, the experience is much more visceral than playing with a traditional control pad, and this is what holds the majority of the appeal of the Wii edition of Smackdown VS Raw 2008. Ironically, despite being created for the Playstation brand originally and being primarily homed there, the Wii is what brings the series to life in a way not accomplished before. The franchise has always been more arcade-y than games such as WWF No Mercy or Day Of Reckoning, and with fast flurries of motion controls this has never worked better. It's a match made in heaven.

Unfortunately, the game is equivalent to a count-out ending in a much-anticipated match in many aspects – a completely underwhelming disappointment. As mentioned earlier, there is a severe lack of modes. There are about five match types, it only supports up to two players and while you can, thankfully, create your own characters in the fantastic Create-A-Wrestler mode (so diverse that you can make just about anybody) and give them a custom moveset, you're unable to design them an entrance as you can in other versions, which takes a large chunk of the fun out of it. The 'story' mode, if you could call it that, is basic and focuses around you challenging others to matches and fighting them. What it is works well and allows you to create your own little storylines and rivalries in your head that don't contradict themselves as stories of the wrestling world do so often, but we can't help but wish for the fleshed-out General Manager and 24/7 modes that the other versions got.

Screenshot for WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2008 on Wii

We can only imagine that Smackdown VS Raw 2008 was designed mainly to check how well the games work on Wii before they devoted themselves to creating a complete experience, as we are fully anticipating with the next outing. There is limited Mii integration, which is a nice surprise – your character's face reacts to the on-screen action by grinning as you're winning and wincing as you get beaten down. If this could be expanded somehow it'd be fantastic. We love the controls, especially how you can taunt your opponents by performing the wrestlers' actual taunts with the nunchuk and remote's motion sensing (DX crotch-chopping is a highlight), but we hope next time they can be made a bit deeper than just flicks. Practically every move is activated with a flick, and it's satisfying but feels like there could be so much more to it at the same time. Flicking up, holding in place and then slamming downwards for a powerbomb works fantastically – more movements like this that make proper sense and correlate with the actions on screen next time, please. There's also the issue of the game misconstruing what direction you've just flicked the remote in at times, or just not recognising that a motion was made at all, leading to mad waving to get it to try and do something, which definitely means there needs to be more testing and fixing for next time. And there's too much waggling – waggle to get up, waggle to escape a pin; we don't have superhuman wrists.

The commentary is amusing the first time you hear it, but it all gets repeated so often that you want to take a steel chair to the speakers after a short while. The collision detection can be a bit dodgy and the AI can dawdle. Despite these faults and the lack of modes, however, we can't help but like WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2008 on Wii. THQ just need to take what they have here, expand it and make improvements and next time we're going to be in for an absolute treat. This is worth a play until then.

Screenshot for WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2008 on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

A decent entry for the franchise on Wii, but it's not belt-winning material yet. If this was scored on fun factor alone you'd see this score creeping up a point or two, but it's not; WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2008 Wii just doesn't give enough content to justify any higher. Yukes need to add much more and fix existing niggles for the next edition - and then we could have a new WWE (game) champion.

Developer

Yuke's

Publisher

THQ

Genre

Fighting

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (5 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date TBA   

Comments

pfff hahahahah lol I knew this since I saw SDvsRaw coming to Wii. I think Day of Reckoning 3 would have been a better choice.

The gameplay itself actually works REALLY well with Wii I found, but the sheer lack of content is what really lets the thing down. I'm happy with the direction this took - I wouldn't have turned my nose up at Day of Reckoning 3 and would probably have preferred it too, but this could have been a lot worse and can only get better if they keep the core, refine the motion controls and add enough content to make it level with the others. :Smilie

These games are so homoerotic, it's not even funny.

Actually it is, it's hilarious :P

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Well, sounds like a good starting point for WWE games on Wii...now let's see if they can improve by next year's update!

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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