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WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009 PS3 Review - -

Gameplay 8.4
Graphics 8.9
Sound 8.0
Value 8.6
Distributor: THQ
Review Date:
November 2008
Tyrone Williams


WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009
PS3 & XBox 360

WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw returns to the console world with this review focusing on both the PlayStation 3 and XBox 360 versions. THQ once again allow gamers across the world to enjoy one of the most entertaining "sports" as they wrestle their way to victory with new maneuvers, gameplay modes and the biggest change to the franchise, in-depth story modes.

With mixed reviews of the previous incarnation of WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw, THQ have addressed some of the inconsistencies of the gameplay and load times, making the tenth game of the franchise, a truly entertaining experience. Without dwelling on past errors, it's time to focus on WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009, the latest and perhaps greatest wrestling game!


  • TAG TEAM EXPLOSION: WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 unleashes a brand new tag team match. Build momentum and attributes as a team, destroy opponents with high-impact double teams, pull off new bone-crunching tag team finishers and get the "hot tag" for the win.

  • ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA: Pave the way to WWE's biggest event of the year through WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009's new story mode, which features the franchise's first-ever co-op storyline.

  • CREATE-A-FINISHER: Construct the most devastating moves ever unleashed in a WWE ring with this brand new interface. WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 lets players customize all aspects of created Superstars—even their very own finishing moves.

  • NEW ONLINE FUNCTIONALITY: Extend the WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 gameplay experience with downloadable content and much more.

When it comes to wrestling modes, this title has it all, whether it's One on One, 6-man or the new Inferno Match, wrestling fans will be pleased to know that this as close as one will ever get to being in the ring. The story mode "Road to Wrestlemania" is truly a great addition to the franchise where you battle your way to the top of the Wrestling world and for a sports game, it contains quite an interesting story that even includes cutscenes. In Road to Wrestlemania, players can play one of seven WWE wrestlers such as Triple H, John Cena and the Undertaker. This mode is like watching a season of wrestling as your characters experience all the ups and downs of their careers plus their arch nemeses.

As to regular gameplay modes in the title, it has everything from quick matches, career and tournament modes. My favourite is the tag team mode which allows either you or your ally to distract the referee or even hold your opponent against the ropes makes that makes for some exhilarating wrestling fun. The best part of the tag team mode is that you can even work up the crowd by using the controller to clap your hands which gets the crowd going.

When it comes to wrestling divisions and fighters, there's everything from Raw, SmackDown, ECW, WCW and my favourite, Legends which contains all your classic wrestlers. I'm an old school wrestling fan!

The most noticeable improvement over 2008 is the speed of gameplay which almost mimics the real-life speed of the wrestling we all love and enjoy on TV. The way your character interacts with the gaming environment and your opponent or opponents seems quite flawless at times, even switching between different maneuvers allows for smoother and enjoyable gameplay.

The control system on both the 360 and PS3 allows you to have greater control over your wrestlers and keeps the action going, without it feeling like you are stopping and starting.

Control wise, the game is reminiscent of last years title as you use the right analog stick to create a variety of wrestling maneuvers. Although the novice gamer can easily pick up the controller and start playing, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 allows for some truly engaging gameplay for the more professional gamer which is definitely value for your money. If you do have problems with the controls, there is also a good tutorial to assist the gamer in mastering the basics.

For those that want a little more control and ownership of their wrestlers, Create a Finisher allows you to create your own wrestling superstar, even with their trade mark entrance and finishing maneuvers which truly ups the ante from previous incarnations. Not only is this easy to do but it flawlessly interacts with the gaming mode, making for a fun wrestling experience.

Graphically, the titles on both the XBox 360 and the PlayStation 3 are slightly more slick than 2008 with all the wrestlers mimicking their real-world counterparts. The wrestlers themselves move with an almost human-like grace as they grapple, wrestle and throw their opponents. The collision detection does need a little work as sometimes body parts go into your opponents body parts (ala Mortal Kombat), however you're not meant to be performing surgery.

The title also contains some great lighting effects which allow you to become more immersed into the title due to the realism of the graphics that sets the ambience. The rings where you wrestle are a little sparse, however this mirrors the real-world places and I'm pleased to say that the crowd graphics, although not as impressive as some of the boxing games available at present is actually not that bad. The fans even hold up signs for their wrestlers and are quite dynamic at times thanks to the various individual fan animation.

What would a wrestling game be without the tacky and over the top commentary and Michael "Tazz" Cole and Jerry "The King" Lawler who lend their voices to the franchise. Initially the commentary is quite entertaining, however it does become a little repetitive at times but it nicely compliments the graphics as do the realistic wrestling sounds.

At the end of the day, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 is still the definitive wrestling game available with THQ and developers Yukes making this franchise a fine art. A definite huge improvement over its predecessor, this is definitely the game for wrestling fans around the world and is probably a great gift for the upcoming summer holidays in Australia.


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