E3 '07: WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2008 Hands-On

THQ's popular wrestling series is making its way to the Nintendo DS, and we've got a hands-on look.

In some ways, THQ's WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW series has become the publisher's version of Madden--an annual sports release with a rabid following that seems to come out on more and more platforms each year. For the upcoming WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2008, you can add one more platform to that list: the Nintendo DS. We had a chance to try out a demo build of the dual-screen debut for the wrestling series, and though our overall reaction to the game is a bit mixed, we can say unequivocally that it's not your typical wrestling game.

The challenge with creating a wrestling game on the Nintendo DS comes in balancing the in-depth controls that wrestling fans expect from a grappling game with the need to make a game that's not only easy to play for newcomers, but also takes advantage of the DS's unique capabilities. To find that balance, the game's developer has had to make some compromises, one of which being that you won't be able to move your wrestler around the ring. Instead, you'll meet your foe in the middle of the ring and, as you land strikes and grapples on each other, you will move automatically around the ring in accordance with the move. Being knocked backward, for example, will move you closer to the ropes behind you.

From a control standpoint, the entire game uses the stylus and touch screen. As two grapplers face off, three color-coded icons--or nodes, as they're known--appear onscreen; each indicates a different strike or grapple you can pull off in that situation. When you tap a node with your stylus, you'll be given visual clues onscreen that you'll need to match with the stylus on the touch screen. For example, a light yellow node typically indicates a light strike, and a typical associated motion would be to sweep the stylus quickly up the screen in one direction. If you pull off the correct stylus motion quickly enough, you'll land the move on your opponent.

The color of the node determines what kind of move it is, as well as the position of your wrestler relative to his opponent. For example, pulling off a grapple move might put your opponent in a hold of some sort, whereby an entirely new trio of icons would become available to you to further deal punishment. The darker the node, the longer and more complicated the moves you'll need to pull off on the touch screen. In our hands-on time with the game, we found many of the onscreen instructions to be a unclear at first. We were able to find some success after some practice, however.

The game will include a text-based story mode that will feature your standard SmackDown story of in-ring struggles, backstage strife, and perhaps a few divas thrown into the mix for good measure, as well as head-to-head multiplayer that THQ producers liken to a wrestling equivalent of rock-paper-scissors. The game will include more than 80 moves you can pull off, as well as a host of WWE superstars to play as and challenge. The game is currently due for release later this year.

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Discussion

27 comments
The_Weekend
The_Weekend

Did you all look at the images of the game??? Why is Rey looking as huge as Bobby Lashley!? PLEASE ... don't release it for DS ... it's a waste!

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

NOOOOOOO.....PLEASE DON'T RELEASE THIS CRAP!

Maestri09
Maestri09

I don't feel very optimistic about this game...

zonetroperalpha
zonetroperalpha

hmmm,first i wanna see a trailer or someone play it then i will make my decision

DevlinTrask
DevlinTrask

Yep this is not a DS game. For the Wii it will fit.

samether
samether

Damn. What a waste. They almost had something great.

namdead01
namdead01

This game doesn't look as good as in gameplay as I thought it would be when i first heard of it. Finally a WWE game for the DS i was so happy even though I own a psp only. I was excited about telling my friends but now this game doesn't look/sound like i thought it would be. I THINK THIS GAME IS GOING TO FAIL FOR THE DS (Don't hate me DS owners)

Pazy160
Pazy160

They should simple release WWF Smackdown 2 (with updated chars + create a wrestler mode). The controls would fit the DS, its pick up and play freindly and the graphics could be handled on the DS. No sense making a game which from reading this appears to remove the sport and the fun from the game.

GFahim
GFahim

why can't they flippin make it like WWF No Mercy ( the best wrestling game ever)? the graphics are sorted but thecontrol scheme absolutely sucks

SolidSnake35
SolidSnake35

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

jimbo6923
jimbo6923

Wow.... the first paragraph summed it up... "WWE Smackdown Vs Raw has become... Madden" Too bad... I used to like Smackdown... but now they have lame liscensed music, and multiplatorm appeal... *sigh* but hey, the DS version looks like crap!

thechosenone827
thechosenone827

It is nice to see a WWE game coming to the DS. The graphics look decent, but the control scheme is holding me back from wanting to buy the game.

manittimonkeyto
manittimonkeyto

NOOOOO!my little cousin crushed my DS!NOOOOOOOO!!!!IM MAD NOW!!

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

If I am going to get this game I will get it for the Wii. It wouldn't feel right to me, using a DS.

Pete5506
Pete5506

I am going to pass on this

msudude211
msudude211

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

icytower
icytower

Different to say the least, could be a good take on the game.

GMAN32X
GMAN32X

Interesting take on wrestling: total stylus control. I'm interested in seeing how the controls really pan out.

Thorpe89
Thorpe89

I'd never thought I'd see this series come to the Nintendo DS. I guess it'll be worth trying.

vahid_xbox_360
vahid_xbox_360

I really want to see johnson (THE ROCK) in this game.

mdriscool
mdriscool

its gonna be hard yo do wwe on the ds

AnFangs_Endes
AnFangs_Endes

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Bansheesdie
Bansheesdie

Sounds like a point and click wrestler, wierd.