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WWE Smackdown! VS RAW Review - PS2

80%
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From the early days of the Playstation, we've been getting explosive wrestling titles. Smackdown, Just Bring It!, Know Your Role, Shut Your Mouth, Here Comes The Pain - they've all been inspirational in one way or another, and although they were losing the battle of the better wrestling game in the days of the PSX vs N64 rivalry, they have come out on top time and time again on the Playstation 2 to be the more enjoyable and longer lasting game. However, all winning streaks eventually come to an end, and this game might just be evidence of that. Perhaps the Playstation 2 is just too weak to continue the graphical war against the Xbox and the GameCube.

Gameplay

Don't be thrown off by the introduction though, WWE Smackdown! vs. Raw has some great gameplay improvements that are like no other. As soon as you start a match you'll notice that there are changes for the better, as matches will always start differently whether it be a stare down, a shoving fight, or you may just break straight into a fight, the randomness certainly provides an eager wait for the start of a match. Once in a fight though, the wrestling is very similar to that of the earlier PS2 games. You press L1 to do your special moves after powering up a certain bar and getting a WWE logo. If you get two WWE logos, by pushing the right combination you can perform your opponent's special move, and so forth.

There are a load of different events in exhibition mode, your jaw will hit the ground when you see all the main events that Yuke's have thrown in. Bra and panties, hell in a cell, three stages of hell, ladder match, parking lot brawl, TLC, cage match, you name it they've got it! There's still no casket match though which would have been nice considering there was a very big casket match containing The Undertaker around the time WWE Smackdown! vs. Raw was released. The bra and panties match is far more complex now than it was before (if that's possible). Now the clothing can actually be tugged around, and you'll experience this new update when you wrestle normally, as wrestlers grab each others shirts and pants etc, it will move out a little bit before the rest of the model does.

Unfortunately in the Royal Rumble you can still only have six men in the ring at one time. The day will come when wrestling games break the six man boundary, and Royal Rumbles will be a LOT more interesting! The Royal Rumble has a whole new set up though, and there's a bar that lets you know how much longer you can last in the ring for. If you get pushed over the edge and you're holding on for dear life but are getting hit by your opponents, the ... (continued next page)