WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 - WII - Preview

E for All 2007 Preview

The Smackdown vs. Raw series has had a great run on the traditional consoles and their sequels. Despite PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360’s presence in millions of homes across the nation, the beloved wrestling franchise continues to pump out hits for PS2. Next month you can add another console to that list: Nintendo Wii.

If you’ve followed GameZone’s recent coverage of the PS3, PS2 and 360 versions, you know the majority of what to expect. The big question mark surrounding Wii, of course, is how will it control?

The answer is mostly obvious: button attacks are out, motion-based attacks are in. Players are expected to diligently shake the remote toward their opponents. Shake once for one attack; shake multiple times for consecutive (combo) attacks. Hold the B button during a shake to add to your wrestler’s move list. When an opponent is taken down, the game will typically show a Wii remote icon in the top of the screen (left or right corner, depending on your wrestler’s starting position). Here the icon is shaking left and right. Follow this direction and your wrestler will slam his body into the fallen opponent. Ouch, that’s gotta hurt!

There were moments when the remote icon didn’t appear – at those times it seemed the wrestler was too far away. But you can still attack. Shake the remote for a chest stomp. Throw in the B button (hold it) and your wrestler will reach down, grab the opponent, and begin a grapple. From there, additional shakes, with or without the B button, will lead to various moves.

Most of those moves are determined by the direction you swing the remote. Grapples trigger a four-arrow icon. Important directions are highlighted in green. Thus, if you pick up your opponent, the up, right, and down arrows may be highlighted as attack options. I say “may be” highlighted because it really depends on the way the grapple was started, your position, and your opponent’s position. For example, if you stand close to your opponent’s head, you can jump on top and punch him in the face just by holding the B button while shaking the remote. And though this wasn’t verified in the demo, the types of wrestlers and their fighting styles are likely to have an impact as well.

Whichever arrows are highlighted, swing the remote in one of those directions. A short grapple will finish right there. Longer grapples load the battle animation and give the player a second to enter the next motion, which is usually a different set of arrows. Obviously you can only swing the remote up, down, left, or right for these kinds of moves. But it’s still a nice variety for a game that can’t get too complex without losing its mainstream status.

Quick play (against the AI or a computer opponent) was the mode most players seemed drawn to, but the demo also featured a Main Event mode with Wii remote navigation. Point the remote at the screen to make your cursor appear, then select your next event. THQ has yet to confirm a full lineup of game modes, but it seems that this will be separate from a story mode (assuming one is included in the final game).

Will the Wii version of Smackdown vs. Raw 2008 be the wrestling game to get? We’ll know in a few weeks. Until then, the game appears to be on the right track.

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