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Smackdown vs. RAW 2009 (XBox 360)

Saturday, December 27, 2008 in Professional Wrestling (Views: 4365)
So, back to more fun topics: Video Games.

Smackdown vs. RAW 2009 is the next game to review. THQ is basically the king of wrestling video games, and again proved it after TNA Impact hit the stores from Midway. It's a shame that both companies are doing so poorly, Midway because of their great history and legacy, and THQ because they put out a good wrestling game.

This game is pretty much like 2007, and 2008, with of course, more new twists. The achievements in the game are more like achievements, as opposed to simple single things. For example, you have to win all the belts in career mode, take 5 wrestlers to the hall of fame, or finish 6 storylines in Road to Wrestlemania to make an achievement. Believe me, when you are done with that, you will have acheived something... :) Previous versions would have achievements such as "do a certain move, or go into this area".

Some new features are the highlight reel. It burns me up about this feature for 2 reasons. One, is that they probably spent a lot of time developing this part of the game, and made an achievement to create a highlight reel. They could have been working on gameplay. Although it is cool to see you dive off the top rope onto the announcer's table, driving an elbow deep into your opponent's chest (and watching the table shatter into several pieces), it gets old. I say after maybe once, you're done with it. But, it is an achievement at least.

Thankfully, the story mode is gone, and has been replaced by the "Road to Wrestlemania" mode. RTW (for short) is a series of 6 storylines out of the box you can play, each with its own storyline. Wrestlers featured are: John Cena, Dave Batista & Rey Mysterio (tag mode), Chris Jericho, Undertaker, CM Punk, and of course "Hunter Helmsley", known as HHH. Each storyline is different, and thankfully doesn't end in a title shot. I'll go more into the storylines in another blog.

Another difference is the career mode, where you go after several different championships as different wrestlers in various matches. One thing about this that's nice is that your matches are rated, 1 to 5 stars. I think as long as you win, you don't get less than 3 stars, but to get 5 stars in a "squash match", you literally have to extend the match about 10 minutes longer than it needs to go, dragging your opponents dead body around the ring. So, what happens in this mode is that you wrestle a championship path, we'll say the US Championship in this example. You are required to battle opponents until you reach a certain amount of stars combined. Once you reach this goal, you are then eligible to wrestle in a #1 contender's match. If you succeed here, you can then wrestle for the championship. Of course, if you win, you are then champion and you can then defend this title, or pick another title to go after.

Career mode covers all the belts. One would wonder why if you are the World Champion, you would also want to be the US or Intercontential Champion, but it's part of the game. I also wondered what the difference was between the World Champion and WWE Champion - sounds like the same thing. Vince buys WCW and there is an identity crisis, but he knows where the real wrestlers were - as the WCW belt lived on to take a new meaning in the WWE as the World Champion. But, I digress.

One nice thing is that career mode isn't the same thing over and over. You can unlock different kinds of matches as you go through the opponents. One example was wrestling as Chris Jericho - I was immediately put on the Intercontential chase. As a #1 contender's match, I was supposed to face Kane in a cage match. The nice thing about this, is that the cage match is now open for any future matches if I want to take some future aggressions out. :)

Some things different? Well, the part of "taking the match into the crowd" is gone (this was novel, but kind of a waste imho). For those who remember it, it was that little area that was in the upper right corner that had a few things in it over the barricade - it's gone now.. It was kind of a waste. They do have a falls count anywhere mode, but I've yet to do anything cool like throw someone off a stage, or anything like that. I wasn't able to in career mode so far, and I did try.

Overall, it's a game that will keep you busy for a while and is fairly entertaining as you can mix things up a bit. I'll blog later about the Road to Wrestlemania mode, and the stories there, but overall a game worth getting.

 

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