WWE games have really been extremely popular since the great days of the early gaming consoles. They have really evolved from the days of the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo to the next generation consoles. The first Smackdown on the PS2 (WWF Smackdown! Just Bring It) was actually a very a big disappointment. Many shortcomings were found in the game to make a very disappointing showing. This time around THQ and Yukes have teamed up to bring the second WWE showing on the PS2 with WWE Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth!
Smackdown is one of those games that has always been a solid game so when I first got my hands on this edition I was not surprised at all about all the improvements Yuke’s has made from the first Smackdown on PS2 WWF Smackdown! Just Bring It.
Smackdown still has the basic game levels: Exhibition, Season, and Create a Player, but unlike the previous installment where the levels were bare and short. This time around the game options are plentiful. The game really allows you to choose whatever type of match you wan
To start with the Create a Player mode this year is rock solid. Your wrestler is totally customizable. Every little detail you can decide exactly what your wrestlers is going to look like. In the mode you will also get to customize his sets of moves, his skill level, and his entrance information. This is just a rock solid mode to get you geared up to lay the Smackdown on everyone.
The biggest problem of Just Bring It in my eyes was the Season mode. This year I think they are really headed in the right direction, and have continued what Just Bring It started. If you played Just Bring It, it had this type of Season mode where you select a character and actually play through a normal storyline that the WWE. This time around this idea has evolved to a much more complex idea, where you can help choose who you are going to fight, and what belt to fight for and when you are going to fight for. The initial start to the season is to choose from the RAW roster or the Smackdown roster to decide who you will be fighting for - either Vince or Flair. The only downside to the Season mode is you’re really not winning much. After each PPV, which happens roughly at the end of each month, you get to unlock one item if you win the match at the said PPV. You can either choose to unlock wrestler’s attires, move sets, CAW parts arenas or videos. Nothing wrong with that, but it does take a much longer time to unlock everything, which means you’ll end up playing the Seasons mode several time.
The cut-scenes in the game are really what keep the season mode alive. These are to keep the game interesting, and for the storylines to unfold. For the most part the cut-scenes are cheesy and a lot of times really don’t make a heck a lot of sense. They become very repetitive after a while and just become plain annoying in a little time.
The biggest plus that I have found in this edition of Smackdown was the upgraded wrestling engine. This is a little more complex then before but still uses the basic controls to make a much smoother engine. The grappling is a lot more complex which allows you to do a variety of moves, and keeps you from doing the same repetitive thing over and over again.
Like I said earlier the controls are about the same. They are very simplistic but can but are manipulated just the right way to make the game more complex then before. The nice part is for all of you who are familiar with Smackdown you will be able to jump right into this one.
Another fine upgrade to Shut Your Mouth is the counter system. You can counter basically anything, from the punches to the grapples. The key here is to know when to execute the counter, which adds to the whole gameplay dynamics. Not content with that, you can also reverse finishers, or better yet execute your opponent’s finisher. A very cool idea which certainly would be fun for all wrestling fans.
Oh the horror and pain the commentary had brought all of us in Just Bring It. There was really nothing good to come out of it and this year they have really only partially fixed the problem. The good part is they through out the old commentary and brought in the new. Now we get to listen to Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, who for the most part are a much better team and the best part of all they only make a few unnecessary comments throughout the match instead of just rambling on the whole match. So now there is a lot of silence in the gameplay (not that this is a bad thing) so just turn on your stereo and throw in a CD and the game will flow just fine.
Graphically Smackdown is in need of a facelift. For the most part the previous Smackdown was down right plain and ugly. This time around they have improved the wrestlers a fair amount but not near enough to make this a pretty game.
The wrestlers have been improved from the plain faces to a little more detail, but the same problems from the previous installment still remains. That is that nothing is better then average. For the most part it seems that there have been a few little things upgraded on the wrestlers appearance, just to keep them on the line of average.
The game does flow a lot more fluidly then before, and now they have fixed a lot of the major glitches that haunted Just Bring It. This is not saying that everything is perfect in the games animation, but just to say the game does run a lot smoother then before.
Is Smackdown fun? Well have you found the Smackdown series fun? This should tell you a lot about whether you are going to like this edition or not, because it follows the normal Smackdown gameplay. Personally I think that the game did its job pretty well. The season mode kept me interested for a long period of time, and there is a lot of fun to be had when you can play with five other buddies on one screen.
This is really a tough game to give a final score to because there has really been nothing to compare it to on the PS2. So the bottom line is if you are ready for a wrestling game and own a PS2 then this is one I would highly recommend to you. Otherwise use your judgment on how much you like the series, but I would definitely put this on the top of the rental list.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.