WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007
From the 1990s right up until the present day, the WWE or WWF before the world wildlife federation stepped in, has always been a household name in entertainment. Childhood heroes and world-class athletes have been formed in the ring and video games didn’t miss the opportunity to have players emulate those amazing feats from the comfort of their living room. There were many games that came before, paving the way but Smackdown Vs Raw 2007 still stands up as one of the greats.
In terms of how this one plays, if you’ve played an older title such as WWE Smackdown! Here Comes The Pain or Smackdown! Shut Your Mouth, this won’t feel massively unfamiliar. Though for those with no experience of any digital WWE outings, it plays sort of like old school fighters like Tekken or Mortal Kombat but in a more open plan and three dimensional plain.
Coming to grips
The thing you’ll notice as a returning player is that this game aims to change gameplay up. We will be the first to say that the genre as a whole has relied on the same directional grappling and melee punch button mechanics for a long time. Though, this isn’t because of ease of laziness. They are easy to understand for the player and inherently fun, so it seemed mad to change the formula. This title would aim to move to an analogue stick grapple mechanic and the risk paid off. It’s a welcome change which adds a new skill to master. Though, if being critical, it’s not one that drives the game forward in the slightest. It has some success in making the quicker moves seem more fluid but has the opposite effect on the power moves. It makes these seem sluggish and the matches tempo drops as a result.
Additions for more carnage
The additions that really matter are those that add more entertainment and excitement. Those that make the player feel like an Adonis in the ring. So the inclusion of ultimate control moves that allow the player to make use of the environment are truly wonderful in action. You can toss opponents over the top rope to a table that is waiting for them on the other side. You can take apart the announcers table for a handy set of speakers to bash your adversary with. It’s exactly what the players wants, more ways to be a badass.
Unfortunately, these moves to feel very limited with only a handful being accessible within the game. It feels like something that the developers could have went all in on and really pushed the boundaries of representing the profession authentically. All in all though, its a positive.
A wealth of modes
The best thing about this series of games, especially in the years leading up to this title, was the plethora of content on offer. This is something that Smackdown Vs Raw 2007 continues to deliver on. The career mode, if a little suspect in the harsh light of 2020, delivers a brilliant and entertaining set of stories. Voice acting from superstars on the roster became a thing, which undeniably lowered replay value but upped production value tremendously. That’s a matter of preference I suppose. Then there is the excellent creation options, the wide variety of modes and matches, the unlockable content and the GM mode that returns for a second year running. Overall, this title offers a cavalcade of content for players to sink their teeth into, provided there’s no disqualification of course.
The series has always been praised for its consistently impressive portrayal of WWE superstars and the various PPV event stages. Not to mention their ability to constantly improve on their last outing. However, on this occasion the cracks begin to form. It’s by no means a terrible attempt doesn’t get us wrong. The stars are still as recognisable as ever, it’s the clunky animations that come with working simultaneously developing for two different types of hardware that causes the issue.
This along with long load times, a sound quality that clearly focused on voice acting and let other areas suffer, plus the soundtrack although on brand, for the most part, does feel a little bit eclectic and for that reason is slightly underwhelming.
End of an era
Wrestling games have failed to live up to the popularity within this era of gaming. Arguably, when the Smackdown Vs Raw series ended and 2K took over, the series was never the same. This game although still a fantastic representation of a wonderful period for the genre feels like the beginning of the end. Like old rock bands on their farewell tour. They all still have the talent, they all still have the passion but sheer resolve and willpower isn’t cutting it anymore. The decline has begun.
This may have been a step up to new hardware on the Xbox 360 or simply that THQ was on their way out. Either way, this game is still a shining beacon of what this team offered the wrestling community. Fans and casual players will both adore what is on offer here. There’s a tonne of content, a real love for the subject material present and aside from a few presentation issues, it’s still really polished for the time period. Give this one a go, you won’t regret it.
- New mechanics and gimmicks
- More modes and matches
- Voice acting in story mode
- Animations are slow and clunky
- Load times are long
- Changes are minimal from past outing