History of WWF/E Games Part 43
WWE Smackdown vs RAW 2007
Microsoft Xbox 360
Time to look at the first Smackdown to appear on the Xbox 360.
THQ decided to pull the plug on there being a different wrestling game on each console and decided to just put out Smackdown on everything. I can see why they did this; I mean after all the WWE games on the original Xbox were far from great. And the Game Cube WWE games while decent to play, and not to shabby in the sales department, were still not as well received as the Smackdown series on the Playstation.
While it was released on three platforms for whatever reason, the PSP version was released a few weeks after the Playstation 2 and Xbox 360 version. Many people thought that the game would see a release on the Playstation 3, but THQ decided against this and opted to wait until Smackdown vs RAW 2008 to release a WWE game for the Playstation 3.
The Xbox 360 version of Smackdown vs RAW 2007 looks phenomenal. As a mater of fact there are some that claim that the later Smackdown vs RAW 2008 does not even look as good as this game. The characters look better than they ever have done before. The muscle definition is better than it ever was on the Playstation 2, and there are much better sweat and lighting effects as well. One huge upgrade on the Xbox 360 version was the create a wrestler. They looked better than ever, and blended in better with the real WWE wrestlers. To give you a idea of how big an upgrade the Xbox 360 version was, check this out: The Playstation 2 version characters were made up of around 500 polygons. The Xbox 360 version had 20,000 per character.
The PSP version I also feel got a great graphical upgrade. It looks much smoother than Smackdown vs RAW 2006, but of course it is a far cry from what the Xbox 360 is able to be. But lets be honest that really is not a fair comparison at all. The Playstation 2 version I will openly admit I did not play when it was first released, but in the time I have spent with it I feel that this was the year that the graphics on the Playstation 2 WWE games started to all kind of look the same each year with only minor improvements, as Yukes focused on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.
The sound in the season mode was much better. I loved the wrestler voice overs. I actually feel like since they introduced wrestler voice overs that they improved them each year. Sometimes in the season mode you will be called on your phone by a wrestler and it actually sounds like they are on the phone. It’s a subtle touch, but a pretty cool one.
Smackdown vs RAW 2007 featured a huge change to the game play. It introduced us to the dual analogue style. Before you would use the left analogue stick to move your wrestler around the ring and the face buttons to hit your various moves. Now you would still use the left analogue stick to move, but your grapples are now done with the analogue stick. This change took a while to get used to, but once I did I really enjoyed it. It is worth noting that Yukes had the option for people who disliked the new style to go back to similar controls as to what was in Smackdown vs RAW 2006.
The PSP version also changed up the controls, but obviously the control change was not as radical as it was on the Playstation 2 and Xbox 360, but the new controls made the game more fun to play, and I think that it was a great decision by the guys at Yukes to do this. One thing that Yukes did improve on with the PSP version was the load times. Sure they were still on the long side, but no where near as bad as they were the year before.
One thing that was developed more into was the weight system. This was done to make the matches more realistic as in real life a small wrestler like Shawn Michaels could not suplex someone like the Big Show. I hated this as to me it often felt like they were just punishing you for picking a lighter wrestler. Yet at the same time I know people who loved this as they felt it made the game more realistic. For me the best way to have a great weight system is for a wrestlers move set to change. For example if Shawn Michaels grapple move is a suplex on Edge, the same button combination on a heavier wrestler could do a drop kick.
Season mode was improved over Smackdown vs RAW 2006. There was far more story lines this time around and while some did repeat, I found that for the most part the majority of them were pretty well written and really fun to play through. On the Xbox 360 the season mode is very highly polished and I think this makes you want to keep on playing it.
I was full of praise for the general manager mode in Smackdown vs RAW 2006 and they improved on it here. It was so much fun that I spent more time playing this than anything else in the game. Last week I mentioned how you would need to manage wrestlers contracts and other various things. Well here one really cool feature was added and that was the story lines. You could set up a story line and decide for how many weeks it would run. You could hire writers to come up with various story lines for you. General manager mode was such a great mode, but sadly this would mark the last time Yukes would put it in a WWE game.
There are now “hotspots” around the ring and out side the ring where if you grapple near then you will trigger a mini game. So if you were near the steel steps or the ring ropes you could trigger a “hotspot” these were pretty fun and mixed things up during a match. One other cool thing was the ability to wrestling in the crowd. This was more limited on the Playstation 2, but on the Xbox 360 you could go pretty far in and even take signs from the fans.
While Smackdown vs RAW 2007 offered no new match types, I think that one offer was more than enough, and some of the match types most notably the ladder and the tables matches had been given some pretty big changes. The table matches in particular were more fun than they ever had been.
I love Smackdown vs RAW 2007. I get that while Playstation 2 owners may have felt that the game really did not improve from a presentational point of view a great deal over its predecessor. I think that the Xbox 360 version was a great start to the series on Microsoft’s console. The improvements to general manager mode were great and it is sad that this mode has never been in another WWE game. I cannot recommend this game enough. I am sure that you will be surprised at just how good the game looks on the Xbox 360 considering it is six years old.
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