WWE SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2006 – PS2 – Review

Another year and
another wrestling game, you’ll think to yourself when you pass the video game
aisles of your favorite electronics or game store. Yet for the past few years
THQ and Yuke’s have been putting out WWE titles for the PS2 that have been
getting better and better and it wasn’t until SmackDown! vs. Raw that we
have seen a game wrestling fans could really sink their teeth into and enjoy.
Well, that was last year because SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006 is here and
believe me when I tell you that this is, by far, the best thing to happen to
wrestling since The Rock stepped foot in the ring.


Not just a new
roster change (although unforeseen changes, like the tragic loss of Eddie
Guerrero, have not been rectified at the time of release), this 2006 edition
just adds more features and a better grappling system while bringing back many
of the things we loved the first time around. You’ll still find a stable filled
with favorite Superstars from the long list of top male grapplers (The
Undertaker, Cena, Sean Michaels) as well as the lovely WWE Divas (Trish Stratus,
Torrie Wilson, Stacey Keibler) and also some legendary grapplers like the ’80s
Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin and even The Rock among a few others.

Aside from the
usual assortment of match types like Ladder, Table, Cage and Tag Team matches
(with Manager or without), there’s the new Buried-Alive match where you’ll slam
your opponent into an actual casket and slam the lid closed. There’s even
backstage brawls where you’ll be able to Irish whip your opponent into
environmental objects. The Bra and Panties matches are back but it comes back in
the form of Fulfill Your Fantasy Mode where your favorite Diva can dress up as a
school girl, nurse or French maid as they rip clothes off each another. There’s
even a Divas pillow fight!

The best game
mode by far, though, turns out to be the game’s Season Mode. It is here that
you’re encouraged to create your male grappler (complete with a choice of
different voices) and take him through a full WWE season. At the start of your
career, WWE Diva Torrie Wilson’s friend and General Manager, Teddy, is hit by a
car in the parking lot of one of the arenas. Suddenly the accusations begin to
fly and there’s finger pointing between your grappler and the oh-so dreamy Cena.
During these accusations that you’ll find a number of choices and depending on
what you pick you’ll be challenging different opponents. It is here that you
enter matches and participate in WWE events to earn points that unlock some
really juicy extras in the game‘s new Locker Room. It’s a lengthy affair and one
of the most enjoyable Season Mode the series has produced thus far.


If you’re
interested in the wheeling and dealings of a WWE GM, there’s General Manager
Mode that has you coming up with your own roster of Superstars, taking charge of
your stable’s finances as well as deciding on matches and who will turn on who
the following week. This is really a great peek at what goes on in the WWE. The
game’s Creation mode also has a nice number of options and with the new
Create-An-Entrance, your created wrestlers will truly feel a part of the WWE

The game’s
grappling system has been tweaked and it borrows its best elements from the
GameCube’s WWE Day of Reckoning series. Pulling off some complex moves –
even turnbuckle moves that were a bit difficult to pull off smoothly – are
handled with ease and thus make the matches even more exciting. You’ll counter
and reverse moves a bit more easily but there’s a price to pay. Much like Day
of Reckoning 2
there’s a Stamina Meter that, realistically enough, wears out
your grappler. It makes sense, really, since you can’t dish out punch after
punch without showing signs of fatigue in real life. When your stamina runs low,
you’ll have to tap the Select button to regain strength. It slows the action
down but not to a frustrating degree.

On the visual
front, SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006 is a gorgeous PS2 game. This year’s game
sees some sharp graphics with characters that look amazingly like their actual
counterpart. Aside from Hulk Hogan looking a lot like Hulk Hogan, the game makes
use of motion capture to make each grappler walk, bust moves and receive
punishment realistically enough. The arenas look alive with fans and each type
of venue is decorated accordingly … even the game’s overall presentation feels
like a televised event. Sure there’s still a few clipping problems that see
hands going right through your opponent’s flesh, but it never gets too out of


The game’s sound
offers a surprising new addition: voice acting. You’ll actually get to hear your
created character during Season Mode’s various cutscenes. You’ll even hear a
number of your favorite WWE Superstars like Cena and Torrie just to name a few
of the colorful characters you’ll meet and challenge. There’s also match
coverage from the same two-man commentary duo that handle real matches. The
commentary they make really doesn’t offer much of an insight nor will they offer
true play-by-play but instead begin to bicker and playfully insult each another
much like they do in real life. The Superstar introductions are true to the
televised events and that’s a great thing. You’ll hear every Superstar’s theme
music playing loudly and there’s some tunes from artists like Ministry that play
throughout the game.

There’s no doubt
about it, SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006 is truly this year’s must-have
wrestling game. Period. It not only looks gorgeous but also it plays just as
good as it looks and with new features and a brilliant Season Mode, you’ll find
it hard not to give into a game that’s worth your hard-earned money even if you
bought last year’s great game. Buy it right away if you’re a fan of WWE
wrestling or have been looking for a nearly perfect wrestling game for your PS2.

Review Scoring
Details for WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2006

Gameplay: 9.2
controls have always been a hit or a miss in the past but last
year’s game tightened them to the point that pulling off complex moves became
less of a struggle. The same could be said with the 2006 edition. The stamina
gauge slows things down a bit but it adds to the realism nicely and the game’s
Season Mode is one of the most enjoyable modes you’ll gladly play through to the

Graphics: 9.0
A slight
improvement over last year’s game, this still remains to be one of the most
gorgeous-looking wresting games on the PS2. The character models move more
fluidly and thanks to the motion capture they look just as good as they do in
real life. The facial features are even more detailed and even your created
grappler looks good no matter how bizarre you design them. There’s still some
clipping problems, though, but its nothing too bad.

Sound: 8.8
actually hear your created grappler speak during Season Mode as well as finally
hear WWE Superstars talk smack during cutscenes. The two-man commentary team do
a mediocre job of covering the matches and spend more time bickering. While each
Superstar’s theme music is wonderfully present and accounted for the
hard-hitting licensed tunes might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Even in the
game’s medium difficulty setting you’ll get quite a workout from the superstars
so be prepared to really battle it out in the ring. Some match types will prove
to be a bit difficulty, especially the ones where championship titles hang on
the balance.

Concept: 10
Loaded with
all the right match types, including the new and downright entertaining
Buried-Alive match, wrestling fans will love the in-depth Season Mode. General
Manager Mode is a nice addition but the fully customizable Locker Room and the
ability to play possum are even more welcome. Meanwhile, Fulfill Your Fantasy
matches featuring the WWE Divas could have been better but then again who
doesn’t like a good pillow fight?

Despite a few
hiccups and stutters online, this is really what multiplayer dreams are made of
and, really, with a nice number of Superstars and title matches what’s not to
love about this game? You can also play against your friends (up to six of them)
using the PS2 Multitap. It’s good stuff, indeed.

Overall: 9.3
This is quite
possibly the best wresting game to come along on the PS2, SmackDown! vs. Raw
is a game you do not want to miss. With solid controls, sharp visuals,
a large number of grapplers and match types, you can’t go wrong with a game that
packs quite a punch and will have you gladly begging for more. If you’re a
wrestling fan, buy this right away. If you’re not, this game will certainly
change your mind.