History of WWF/E Games Part 45
WWE Smackdown vs RAW 2009
Sony Playstation 2
Sony Playstation 3
Microsoft Xbox 360
Time to look at one of my favourite games in the series.
THQ and Yukes got a lot of crap for there single player campaign mode in Smackdown vs RAW 2008 which was called 24/7 mode. So they went back to the drawing board and gave us a new single player mode called “Road To Wrestlemania”. Smackdown vs RAW 2009 would also mark the first time in the series that extra wrestlers were added through DLC.
Another change was that a new developer called TOSE took over the development of the Nintendo DS version of the game.
The big thing in this game was the Road To Wrestlemania mode, which was the new single player mode. What it did was limit your choice of wrestler to just five single wrestlers and one tag team. I know this sounds very restrictive, but this would prove to be a great decision.
The story for each wrestler was different. The cut scenes were great and just like something you would see on TV. Also the voice acting was incredible. The John Cena Road To Wrestlemania campaign is still the best single player mode I have every played in a wrestling game. They got it absolutely perfect, and it felt like you were part of an actual story line in the WWE. The wrestlers and the people at THQ directing them deserve a great deal of credit for this.
As far as the games general graphics go, I do not think they improved a great deal over Smackdown vs RAW 2008. We sort of entered a period here of about four games all looking very similar. They still looked good, but there was no huge leaps made. The Nintendo DS version of the game looked a lot sharper this time around. Smackdown vs RAW 2008 already looked pretty damn good, but this one is just a little smoother and was more polished.
I already mentioned that the big thing this year was the Road To Wrestlemania single player campaign. John Cena’s was the best by a mile, but there was also Road To Wrestlemania’s for Undertaker, Chris Jericho, Triple H, CM Punk and the tag team of Rey Mysterio and Batista. For those wondering Road To Wrestlemania is the period of January to Wrestlemania in March. Each story lasted for twelve weeks or so, and to be fair all of them were pretty damn good.
Tag team matches were a huge focus of the game play this year. Yukes in my opinion has always struggled at making tag team matches fun to play. The problem is always your partner’s AI. Here though they have added a few things like the hot tag that make the tag team matches more exciting. For me the thing that made it better was your partner was now not a complete moron, and your opponents did not seem as aggressive when it came to breaking up pin falls and moves. Don’t get me wrong, tag team matches still had more than there fair share of frustrating moments, but for the most part there was some good improvements.
A new match type was added in the Inferno match. The Inferno match is where the ring is surrounded by fire and you need to set your opponent on fire in order to win. This was a fun little addition that was not included on the Wii and DS ports.
The core game play really did not change a great deal, and this is one of the main criticisms that many reviews had about the game when it was released. Yukes really started playing it safe for a few years, and I can see why. So many people felt a little cheated that so little had changed when it came to the core game play.
One big disappointment to me was the Wii version. I loved how Smackdown vs RAW 2008 on the Wii, but I get that for people who just owned a Wii it must have sucked seeing all the content that was missing from the other versions. Well this year Wii owners got more of a complete port, but the fun controls from Smackdown vs RAW 2008 were now toned downed, and it to me just felt like the other versions which was a shame. I am however sure people who only owned a Wii were pleased with it.
The Nintendo DS version was much better this year. The new developer actually made use of the d pad, but the rest of the game still wanted you to use the damn touch screen. The season mode in the DS version was really interesting as it incorporated some RPG style elements into the game.
I loved Smackdown vs RAW 2009, and it possibly is my favourite game in the Smackdown vs RAW series. I personally feel that the series would get really stale for a couple of years after this. While the core game play had not changed a great deal, it is worth owning this game for the John Cena Road To Wrestlemania mode alone, and you can probably pick this up for around five bucks.
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