SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestling Reviews
   Thu, November 20, 2008



News & Rumours
Bios
Obits
Canadian Hall of Fame
WrestleMania 30
WrestleMania 30 photos
Video
Movie Database
Minority Mat Report
Columnists
Features
Results Archive
PPV Reviews
SLAM! Wrestling store
On Facebook
On Twitter
Send Feedback




Photo Galleries

SHIMMER tapings


Alexia Nicole


Ox Baker


BCW Excellence


WWE in Montreal


ROH Unauthorized


Smackdown in Philadelphia







SCOREBOARD
PHOTO GALLERY
VIDEO GALLERY
COMMENT





Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 for Wii is a keeper
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
Bookmark and Share




After two failed attempts to lure my wrestling gaming away from Playstation 2ís Smackdown vs. Raw 2006, the Nintendo Wii has finally spun a disc that has captured my attention -- Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 (or SVR09).

Perhaps though, thatís not saying much -- after all, SVR08 and TNA Impact were stripped down versions of their Gen 5 brethren which irritated me so much that I nearly chucked my Wiimote at them (and I would have, had it not been for the wrist strap). The limited capabilities rubbed me the wrong way, and when youíve been getting wrestling games on a nearly annual basis for a decade, you expect improvements, not ďback to the Stone AgeĒ crapfests. It would be like playing WWF No Mercy for a year, expecting something killer the next time around and all the sudden being forced to go back to Namcoís Tag Team Wrestling. Yes, thatís how bad it was.

Fortunately, THQ has put what were undoubtedly countless hours into reworking SVR09ís Wii version to create not only a competent game, but one that I dare say rivals anything that is now playing on Playstation 3 or Xbox 360.

To start, the gameplay options are hugely expanded. Both the career and Road to WrestleMania modes are here, as well as the usual suspects in the exhibition mode such as Royal Rumble, Steel Cage, Hell in a Cell and Extreme Rules (nee Hardcore) matches. Some of the controls, admittedly, take some getting used to for the specialty bouts, but most of these werenít around for the first Wii SVR run. Yes, there are still some options like the new Inferno match that are missing from Wii, but THQís guys and gals have done enough to placate me for now (at least through March).

Probably my favourite function of the new game is the Career Mode, where you are put through a series of matches to gain various championship titles, including the long-retired Hardcore and Cruiserweight belts (I suppose the European Title should be in there as well, but no one really misses that one). For the best purposes of this game, itís a good idea to use your created wrestlers here, so you can build up their speed, strength and durability ranks. The unfortunate part, though, is that THQ has returned to their much hated system of points only being able to be used for the wrestler who earns them, rather than allocate them to anyone on your created roster.

Another cool part of the game is that you can make roster changes for the built-in superstars. Much like on an NHL or NFL game, this allows you to keep your game up to date as the competitors and valets change shows. Unfortunately, there isnít a "future endeavours" list, but I donít think anyone from WWE would ever endorse that in a video game.

Of course, there are a number of unlockables in the game as well, which come from the Road to WrestleMania mode. This option gives you six scenarios with plugged-in main eventers who each have a unique story path. These again are pretty fun, but itís too bad that you canít, say, take Tommy Dreamer to the ECW Championship.


Mickie James puts the boots to Beth Phoenix on Wii's version of SVR'09. Images courtesy of THQ.
The most apparent aspect to the unlockables, though, is that there are no WWE Legends to bring into the game, something that has been an institution dating back to the No Mercy days. Some gamers will inevitably complain about this, but, given that THQ is adding a second title in a wrestling "season" (Legends of WrestleMania), this is extremely forgivable, and to me is a strong indicator that the lineup for LoWM will absolutely be phenomenal.

So congratulations THQ, youíve now got a title that has found a permanent home on my Wii console. Now, letís see what you have in store for me next year, because with a good three or more years before the sixth-gen consoles come out, I will be on the lookout to see if you can top Smackdown vs. Raw 2009.

Donít hesitate, buy this game now.

RELATED LINKS

  • PS3's Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 has plusses and minuses
  • DS version of Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 for skilled gamers only
  • Smackdown vs Raw 2009 on PS2 gets thumbs up
  • Smackdown vs. Raw '09 for Xbox 360 -- evolution, not revolution
  • Preview: THQ chats about Smackdown vs. Raw 2009
  • Previous SLAM! Wrestling video game reviews and stories

    Jon Waldman has been a SLAM! Wrestling video game aficionado since his debut for the site in 2000. He is now pondering bringing back his column, Waldmanís Retro Gaming, which looked at the squared circleís "illustrious" history on consoles (for an example, click on the Tag Team Wrestling game title in the body of this article). If you would like to see this feature return, email Jon and let him know. Hey, he canít be any worse than that Angry Video Game Nerd.