previews\ Oct 8, 2007 at 8:00 pm

WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 - PS3 - Preview

Another year and another edition of THQ’s popular pro wrestling title in the WWE franchise/license.

WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 is a multi-platform title that will be released on the 360, PS3, Wii, Nintendo DS, PSP and PS2 console systems. This preview will focus on the PS3 version of the game.

The title has some significant changes that should please fans of the series, but the preview build received – while it contained a lot of information that cannot be written about – showed a few flaws that seem to be endemic to the PS3 system when third-party developers are involved. … Yep, you guessed it – the title, at least in the iteration received, had some framerate problems.

The default setting also calls for auto tracking targets, which can be a problem when you are engaged in a multiple opponent scenario. The camera may lock one opponent and be reticent about allowing the player controlled character to turn around to take care of the opposition’s help that is looming just behind him or her.

WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 PlayStation 3 screenshots

The game marks the debut of eight Superstar fighting styles, each with its own signature moves and finishing attacks. As for the controls, there is a bit of a learning curve, or it could just be that the code came without a manual and the user interface only has a sparse outline of the control scheme. The new movement will include the Struggle Submission System. Players can lock in submission holds and use the analog sticks to provide the pressure needed to maintain the hold. Conversely, the controlled character that is the object of the hold, can counter with the analog sticks in concert with the L2 and R2 buttons (you may get pop-ups that will inform you which shoulder button to use) and escape the hold.

While the interface has a moment meter, there is no energy meter. You cannot go full out all the time without getting tired, and – it would seem – the more tired you become, the more susceptible you are to getting injured. The game comes with several difficulty settings as well as the option to go in and tweak the CPU AI settings (to either dumb it down or give it a little more bite).

Graphically the game has its strengths and weaknesses. There are the aforementioned framerate issues, as well as some clipping, and the camera is fixed and won’t always swivel to provide you the best view of floor combat. But the movement of the wrestlers is very well rendered and some of the wrestlers, like Matt Hardy – whom you will encounter early in the game – sport an amazing likeness. And speaking of which, the game will have a robust character creation section that will allow players to create their own male or female superstar for the game’s main modes.

The sound is in line with what one might hear on the television. However, the downside to this is that the lines are repeated, often. The music feels like it was lifted from or is variations on what one might here on EA Trax.

Slated for release in November, WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 looks to be a title that is stepping up to the next-gen level. This is a game that should be played on a big screen to enjoy the eye candy delivered.

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