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Preveiw of WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009

Preview of WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009 for the XBOX 360

 

July 15, 2008

E3 2008 at the Los Angeles Convention Center-Los Angeles, California

 

First, I would like to thank THQ and the woman doing PR for the WWE and UFC games, Jaime Jenson. She is a wonderful woman who gave me the first appointment THQ had at E3, therefore I got the first look at the newest versions of the WWE and UFC video games shown to the press. Hopefully, this can become an annual tradition and we can follow the development of the WWE and UFC video games more going forward. Now onto talking about the next iteration in the SmackDown! vs. Raw franchise.

THQ will be releasing this game on every platform that is still being made (XBOX 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS, Mobile Phones). However, the version on display at E3 was the XBOX 360 version, therefore this preview will deal exclusively with that version.THQ released an updated roster on Tuesday of: Matt hardy, Jeff Hardy, Chris Jericho, John Cena, Undertaker, Randy Orton, Mr. Kennedy, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio, Batista, John Morrison, and The Miz. The game will feature over 60 Superstars in the final build. THQ has promised downloadable content, but is unable to say what that is at this time. The possibilities that have bee discussed include roster expansions, storyline expansions, and we even joked that a John Cena picture pack could make the company millions. (A John Cena picture pack may happen, too.)

THQ was unable to discuss much of the details of the career mode and story mode. However, they did promise a robust 3 month storyline for a tag team leading up to WrestleMania, and after WrestleMania...? Currently, THQ wants fans to guess what happens from there. They promised a long unique story mode for each of the Superstars included in career mode. However, they are unready to announce how many Superstars will be playable in career mode. Some other quick questions on career mode they were unable to talk about now, but intend to parcel out in little bits over the coming months is if there would be a Divas career mode, and if the Cruiserweight Championship would be available in career mode (last year it was not). However, they assured me the Cruiserweight Championship is in the game.

They have added a couple of new features to this year's game. The big one they are pushing is a new tag team mode. I got to try a few matches of this against one of their developers and it showed significant improvement over the previous years' tag team mode. The developer brought out the Evolution tag team of Batista and Randy Orton to a round of boos in the booth, while I brought out John Cena and CM Punk to a reaction that may require Punk to ask for a restraining order against one of the spectators in our booth.

The first thing the developers pointed out (and they were very proud of this) the Superstars can now enter the ring using the stairs. Yes, this series is a decade old, and this is the first iteration where they can enter the ring using the stairs, which greatly adds to the realism. Mr. Kennedy will do his signature entrance of slapping the stairs on the way up to the ring, a move impossible in previous games.

When CM Punk made his entrance, complete with World Heavyweight Championship, the developers talked about how they are working hard to improve how the Superstars' hair looks in this game. In previous games, the hair has been glued in place. That looked very odd on wrestlers with long hair. The version I saw was a 3 week old build and they assured me there is still going to be more done to make the Superstars' hair look more lifelike.

When the actual match began it was evident how far the computer AI had come. Double team moves following tags were pulled off easily. However, the most important thing to me was that tag partners actually broke up pins and submissions. In almost every wrestling game in the past, your partner stood on the outside while you got pinned helplessly. Not only did my partner break up pins at the last second when I was not going to kick out, but the developers partner rushed into the ring during a pinfall to try and cut my partner off. It actually resembled a real tag match. It gave the matches a more back-and-forth feel with winning being much more exhilarating. I dropped the first match. However, there was quite a celebration in the booth when after 3 Go 2 Sleep's, CM Punk cut off Batista from making the save, allowing Cena to submit Orton to the STFU, inches from the ropes.

The developers of this game are true wresting fans. There is a heat meter for when a player is being isolated in a tag match and they can make a hot tag. The system turns on automatically without the payers having to hit any bottoms to activate it. I did not get a chance to try it out, because I refused to beaten down that much and the developer was also having more fun trying to win then making the hot tag to let his partner run wild.

There is also a new Create-A-Finisher mode which allows players to string together 10 moves as part of a unique finisher. However, THQ has balanced out the seeming potential overwhelming ability of Create-A-Finisher, by the fact it only does as much damage as a regular finisher. It does however, look much more impressive.

THQ has announced 1 new match type for SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009, The Inferno Match.

However, the new feature in the game that has me the most excited is how many moves the developers have added to the Create-A-Superstar mode. The developers of this game are true hardcore wrestling fans and have been watching matches from everywhere to bring in new moves from the indy scene that have never been in a wrestling game before. These guys go to indy shows and watch DVD's to pick up thing's they like and think would be good in the game. Kevin Steen's package piledriver is in the game, because one of the developers goes to PWG shows and has watched him for there for years. Bryan Danielson's cattle mutilation is in the game. However, it was not in the build I was able to see, which was may have been the biggest disappointment for me at E3. Nigel McGuinness' Tower of London is in the game, too. The developers from what I can tell will eventually have almost every move in wrestling history in this game.

There is so much to talk about with this game that I am surely leaving a lot out. I was scheduled for a 1 hour meeting with THQ and ended up staying over 2. Please contact me at the methods listed at the bottom of the article to ask any questions.

 

Sincerely,

Jereme Warneck

number1contender.net

Boxing and Video Game Correspondent for f4wonline.com

Hidden Valley Lake, CA

 

I can be reached for feedback and comments at ZurRoadie@aol.com or as JeremeW on XBOX Live. I read everything.

Posted on Friday, July 18, 2008 at 03:04PM by Registered CommenterJereme in , | Comments6 Comments | References1 Reference

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Reader Comments (6)

Just wanted to know if it's 100% TRUE about the "Indy moves" mentioned are in the game ??

Also any additional news you have are welcome also....

Thanks a lot..

July 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGlennsoe

Absolutely true.

July 20, 2008 | Registered Commentern1c

Can you somehow "prove" it ??

Others are doubtfull on this one, dude...

July 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGlennsoe

I do not know how to prove it to anyone other than to say when you guys buy the game and play it it will be there. I saw the package piledriver in action myself.

The guys at THQ were a lot different then I expected and really knew professional wrestling. They were thrilled to meet an actual pro wrestling fan at the show and we had a great meeting. We talked ROH and PWG. I came away with a lot of respect for these guys. I think they honestly want to do a good job and I believe this year's version will be a lot better then last year's version.

July 20, 2008 | Registered CommenterJereme

Cool, thanks for the confirmation dude...

Now I'm a little more hyped !

July 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGlennsoe

Some months ago you said that the following moves were in the upcomming wwe game "Smackdown vs Raw 2009";

Kevin Steen's Package Piledriver

Brian Danielson's Cattle Mutilation

Nigel's Tower Of London

Now that I got the game, I see that that's NOT TRUE at all...

You can create a version of the Package Piledriver, but that's it...

You seemed pretty sure some months ago, so where's the moves ?

November 7, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Sorlie

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