Wrestling games have been a major part in the video game industry for a long time now, and we have seen steady improvements in these games as the technology has evolved. In the last generation of consoles, the Playstation 2 WWE games reigned far superior over what we saw on the Microsoft Xbox games, but now in the next generation we are eager to see how things are going to work themselves out. Now with the first game out of the gate the Xbox 360 hopes to take the wrestling title with WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2007, a game that hopes to use the next generation power to further enhance the game of wrestling. How successful are they? Read our full review to find out!
Although the game has been released for years on the Playstation 2, and as this may be the final year we see Smackdown vs. Raw on the PS2, this is also the first time we have seen Smackdown come to a Microsoft platform. This, for many Microsoft faithful has been a long time of coming, and now that it’s here, many are wondering has it been worth the long wait?
One of the biggest changes to Smackdown vs. Raw 2007 is the control scheme, which has gone under some major changes from what we have seen in years past. The controls have now been revamped to try and put a lot more emphasis on grappling. This is something that has always proved to be problematic with previous wrestling titles, but has been greatly improved here. In fact, there are these new hotspots, which usually does some good damage. These are nice inclusions that help deepen the experience. As for the new control scheme, it does take a long time to get used to, and in fact there are some massive tutorials that I would recommend going through before even thinking about hitting the turnbuckles.
The controls themselves, like I have mentioned, do take a good deal of time to grow accustomed to, and once you do they do seem to work with pretty good accuracy. There are still some shortcomings that many are going to be frustrated with, like the reversal system, which doesn’t seem as responsive or fine tuned as the rest of the game. Also there is the stamina feature, which for some reason depletes extremely fast and for a lot of the game you’re constantly trying to regain the stamina to get back in a bout.
The list of modes is actually extremely familiar to anyone who has played a recent Smackdown game, with not a whole lot of new ideas found. In fact if I have said it a million times one year THQ just needs to really sit back and create a universally deep story that allows you to progress through the ranks. However in this year’s game you have an experience that is familiar to previous games that really doesn’t get the player all that into the game. The season mode is worth going through, but don’t expect an epic experience.
The game has all the expected modes and different match types that we have come to love in the Smackdown franchise over the years. One thing that THQ hasn’t been able to manage to get working properly is the multiplayer, which everyone has hoped the 360 would solve. Well from what I have seen the online multiplayer in Smackdown vs. Raw 2007 has improved, but still has a long way to go. The lag that was found in this game is actually a bit of improvement from what we saw on the Playstation 2, but it is still a noticeable flaw, which hopefully would be entirely eliminated in the next iteration of the franchise.
So how does this first game outing on the 360 fair compared to previous generation games? Smackdown vs. Raw 2007 has a lot of great elements, including the new control scheme and much of the same great WWE action that we have all come to love over the years. This isn’t as big of a leap as some may have wanted, but Smackdown vs. Raw 2007 still plays like a very well rounded game of wrestling.
The biggest improvement in the transition to the next generation console was on the character models, which are rich with detail and are the best we have ever seen them look. The amount of detail that goes into each character is actually pretty impressive. The game still has some clipping issues that plague the overall look and the animations are the same things we have been seeing for years. The visuals look good, but there is still plenty of room for the developers to grow with future versions of the game.
Smackdown vs. Raw 2007 has a lot of improvements on the 360 version, with improved online play and a long list of modes and wrestlers to choose from that really make for a good solid game. There are a lot of areas in which the game can still go with a more comprehensive season mode, and just an overall deeper experience that we didn’t get in this game.
In the end, Smackdown vs. Raw 2007 is a good solid wrestling game that makes a great first outing on the Xbox 360. This isn’t going to be the best wrestling game that we will ever see, but for the first wrestling game on the Xbox 360, owners and fans of wrestling are really going to have a lot to enjoy in Smackdown vs. Raw 2007.
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.