Retrospective Recap…WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2008 (Wii)

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I miss the days of Smackdown Vs Raw. The last few years of the WK games have been awful. Glitch infested- rush jobs. I can’t remember the last good one I played (but maybe we will come across it in this series)

The problem with any game of yesteryear is the tendency to view them with rose tinted glasses. Are they ACTUALLY good? or did I just remember them to be at that time?

Well, I thought it would be interesting to look back and see for myself. Not only will I be looking at the older games, but I will also be doing it on the Wii. I thought this would add another level of intrigue to the review given the use of motion controls (as opposed to the much more common, and easier to use controls of the Xbox and Playstation)

I may not play them in chronological order (I want to mix things up a little) but I will do all the Smackdown Vs Raw titles before I move over to the WK ones.

Also, please note, these are recaps. They are not full in-depth reviews covering every teeny tiny detail. My aim for this series is to cover the vast majority of the game enough to get you salivating for a replay yourself.

Will that work? who knows, but I’ll damn sure give it a go, and (hopefully) enjoy finding out for myself.

Smackdown Vs Raw 2008 (Featuring ECW)

As you can see from the Main Menu there are 4 different types of game-play; Play Now (which is basically an exhibition mode) Main Event (which is the…story? I use that term very loosely) and Tournament.

Before we delve deeper it’s worth noting that this game is very much of its time (a phrase I shall use throughout this recap) The main giveaway is the constant barrage of nu-metal playing throughout. It’s like the soundtrack to my teenage years! I still enjoy it, but I can appreciate that some people may have seen this as a phase. Just something to note if you’re not a fan of metal.

Play Now

When selecting Play Now you are treated to 5 of the above match types. It’s a pretty nice selection to be fair, and very basic in that there is no TLC or cage match etc and I’m quite happy with this. The controls (for the Wii) are tricky enough at times (I felt at least) so adding too many technical aspects to game types would just leave you perplexed and exhausted. Some of you may feel there should be more to it, but for me personally, it’s a good little mix.

Once you’ve selected the game type it’s time to select who you want to be. There are 50 superstars on the roster in total. 11 of them are locked (people like The Rock, Stone Cold, Roddy Piper & the McMahon’s) & 7 of them are female.

While on the subject of the Divas, it’s interesting that you can only play them via Play Now and not in the Main Event story mode. It seems such a waste, as it would upon up way more story, but alas, it is what it is. Thank the Lord those days have changed.

Player Select

Right. I know this is 2008, & using the power of the Wii…but dear Lord, some of these scans/skins/models are…eeeesh. I mean, take a look for yourself.

Randy Orton here looking like Lord Voldermort…

Sandman looking like a cartoon supervillan eggman…

and my personal favourite (I swear this isn’t a custom job) …Snitsky.

The less we say on that, the better. But again, I am aware of the year of release and hardware powering the game (and to be fair, they’re not all bad) but yeah, some of these designs are interesting to say the least.

Main Event

Before you delve into any game-play you are asked if you want to be on Smackdown or Raw, and also if you want to be Heel or Baby-face. This is a simple, yet nice, touch as it clearly gives you multiple ways to play (& go back to upon completion) if you so wished to do so.

The HUB of the Main Event consists of a gym (to the left) the locker room (right) and the (what I assume to be) arena where you start the actual match types. Much like the Play Now set up, it’s very basic and simple and again, something I appreciate.

You can also see how well you are doing in the game via your popularity bar. Spoiler alert…i’m terrible! but we’ll cover that later.

Gym

In here you can do 1 of two things; 1) have a massage or 2) build up your weaknesses. The latter is good in that, you don’t have to win to earn points. Every match you compete in (regardless of outcome) gives you 300 points which you can then use to boost up your stats. The former is…well, odd. The idea is that you ‘relieve yourself’ of any fatigue, but from all I can tell, you just change your little Mii from Yellow, to Green. I personally haven’t noticed any in game issues when I haven’t had one, but at least you get to see this still shot of a masseuse, so….

In fact, this is the perfect time to raise the issues this game has with the female athletes. Again, I’m very aware that it’s a product of it’s time, but it still shocks me to see how women were portrayed back then. Not only can you not use a female superstar in the Main Event, but any images used of the Divas (from the loading screen to the wall of the Locker Room) are clearly there for some mild titillation.

I am SO glad we are where we are today with female athletes. Because even as a lad in his 20s (which I was, during this era) this type of business always made me feel a little weird (bra & panties match anyone?)

Locker Room

Here in the locker room is where you can start feuds and accepts matches. There is also a calendar, but I never once used it, so couldn’t tell you what it actually involved. The fact that I didn’t use it shows you just how unimportant it is when actually playing the game.

The main purpose of the locker room, I found, was the phone. Occasionally Coach would send you a text with some tips, but more often than not you would get a txt from an opponent asking you to fight. These are GENIUS in the most ridiculous of ways. I mean, how would you even respond to this?

So cheesy, but it made me laugh, so it gets a pass. There is the option to start a feud, but you get that many offers, it just made sense (especially when you are still getting use to the controls) to accept what was on offer first. In my story I was CM Punk, and the most people I ever seem to have Interacted with were Umaga, William Regal and JTG. A decent mix at first, but very repetitive the 4th or 5th time you faught them. Not that I ever won many…

Tournament

The final game mode to chose from is Tournament. This consists of KOTR, Beat the clock, Quick Play & Custom.

It seems a little odd that this has it’s own section. I know I have praised the games simple set up and style, but this seems to be fluffing things out a bit. It’s almost like they realised they do only offer a small selection of match types, so they should give at least one type it’s own section. Very odd in my opinion, but at least it is there.

Speaking of ‘fluffing out’ let’s talk Create mode.

Create

Full disclosure, I hate this aspect of any game. I don’t have the patience (nor desire) to spend actual hours faffing around making my own…whatever! I bought the game to play, not to practice being a developer. I also appreciate that some of you do enjoy it, and if that’s the case…well, you’re in luck. Not only can you create a tournament, but you can also create a move set, and of course, your own wrestler. So let’s take a quick look to see what 2008 had to offer.

Despite not being able to compete in the Main Event with a female superstar, at least you have the option to create your own.

As you can see, there are plenty of categories to keep you busy when creating your own masterpiece. I’m sure there are other games out there with far more in-depth creation tabs, but in my opinion, this is all you really need.

Gameplay

This, I feel, is where the game will really divide people. It’s also the reason I picked the Wii to review these games on too. Motion control is a pain at the best of times, but playing a fighting game that requires constant motion…man alive! I really struggled to play more than 50 mins at a time before having to stop for a break. The constant wagging of the Wii-mote plays havoc on your entire arm. It’s crazy, and one of the downfalls of the game.

The annoying thing is though, it’s actually a fun game to play. It took me 5 or so matches to get use to the controls (and even then I still haven’t fully mastered them) but I enjoyed playing it. It didn’t feel like a chore, and despite not being ideal, the need for motion control wasn’t off putting either. It just got to the point where I literally couldn’t play as well as I wanted to, due to my (literal) achy arm.

It’s not like it’s overly complicated. You wag the controller to dish out kicks and punches, and you wag the controller while pressing B to grapple. While you’re in the grapple you then wag the controller to complete the move. As you can see, there is a hell of a lot of ‘wagging’ and it’s no wonder you get so tiresome an hour or so in.

It’s very much a turn based type game in the guise of a fighter. Yeah you throw down some kicks and punches, but it’s not always fluid. For example. At one point I threw Regal against the rope and all of a sudden the camera just cut to a completely different shot (almost like a cut scene) ready for me to do an ‘against the rope’ specific move. The problem was, the angle was so out of the blue and disconcerting that it actually made me stop. Like I was expecting a quick time event mini game or something. Before I knew what was going on, Regal had reversed the move and my sorry ass was now on the floor on the outside of the ring. It’s not so bad now that I know what to expect, but it’s still off putting and took me a while to get to grips with it all.

Final Verdict

This game definitely has it’s flaws, and some of you may feel it’s lacking in certain areas, but playing the game is actually fun. Tiresome yes, but ultimately fun. And you can’t say that of WWE 2K20.

Do you agree with my views? or am i talking absolute BS? Whatever you think, let me know in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter.