WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 - PS2 - Preview
Powerhouse, Technical, Brawler, Submission, Dirty, Showman, High-Flyer, and Hardcore. These are the eight Superstar Fighting Styles being introduced in WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008. Unlike the gimmicky fighting styles of other games, Smackdown Vs. Raw’s selection isn’t unique in name along.
Let’s first look at the Dirty fighting style. Once the style meter has been filled, its icon will appear on the top of the screen, allowing you to activate your wrestler’s most prominent powers. Press R1+triangle to unleash that power and make your opponents feel the burn. For those of you with a love of all things dirty, you will now be able to execute a horrendously painful move – the kind that makes grown gamers cringe.
Showman is triggered just like Dirty and the other styles: press R1+triangle as soon as the Fighting Style icon appears. In this instance, players gain the power to use their opponent’s finishing move on their opponent! You can show off and gain full momentum by taunting opponents (hold triangle and tap any of the directional buttons). However, your wrestler will lose all momentum if he is struck before the taunt ends.
Powerhouse fighters go on a rampage and will shrug off all strike attacks. Their grappling moves become enhanced and can no longer be stopped. Likewise, Brawlers benefit from having unstoppable strikes – their main ability gives them the strength to reverse all oncoming strikes. Adding to that, Technical warriors can reverse all kinds of attacks for a limited time.
The Submission style allows you to inflict additional damage when executing a submission move, and cower out of submissions when being attacked. High-Flyers have potentially the coolest variety of moves, with a Springboard attack, Turnbuckle Leapfrog, an evasive roll, and a killer Possum Kick. When activated, this fighting style automatically reverses your opponent’s best attack.
Hardcore fighters must have banged their heads a lot when they were kids, because they don’t seem to mind doing that now to gain extra strength. While holding a steel chair, these ballsy fighters will slam their heads against it several times and go on a rampage. It looks almost as painful for the Hardcore wrestler as it is for the guy who’s about it be hit. These fighters are also better equipped for using chairs, ladders, guitars, and any other item they can find to beat their enemies into, well, submission.
While most 2007 PS2 releases have seen better days, Smackdown Vs. Raw starts off with a bang. The Superstar Fighting Style intro briefly outlines what to expect and how to perform a handful of the moves. Once inside the ring you’ll spot new outfits, fewer jaggies, and a game that looks a bit more refined than Smackdown Vs. Raw 2007. Not that last year’s game was ugly – it looked great too. But this year’s edition crams a little more out of the PS2, most notably with the audience, which is livelier than ever. They move around more realistically, hold up ridiculous and hilarious signs (one favorite: “The guy behind me can’t see”), and help fill out the game screen.
Half the time you won’t notice though. Your eyes will usually be fixated on the wrestlers, whose animations are very fluid. The controls work extremely well, allowing players of all skill levels to jump right in. That right there could be the best thing about Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 – it’s a slightly faster and more fighting game-emphasized experience. Wrestling games need to have their own distinct feel, but one of the things that envelops a player in an experience like this is speed. There’s no shortage of it in this year’s game (except for the load times, which are currently as long as Smackdown Vs. Raw 2007).
And with his best Denzel Washington impersonation, he held up his sledgehammer
and said, "Donkey Kong ain't got nothin' on me!"
Pounding its way into the ring next month, WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 is going to leave gamers addicted for weeks, ensuring that many thumbs will be left raw from then through Christmas. Stay tuned to GameZone for more on the game in the coming weeks.