SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009 First Look

We make the tag in our first look at the latest WWE game from THQ.

ORLANDO--There was a time, just a few years back in fact, when it seemed as if you could barely find a working tag team in the WWE. For whatever reason, the two-man team had fallen out of favor with fans (or at least, it seems, with WWE management). As a result, tag teams were practically nowhere to be found. That's changed recently and, if the upcoming SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009 is any indicator, tag-team wrestling is going to be a big part of the future of the series going forward. As we discovered today during a THQ press event in Orlando announcing SVR 09, working as a team in the ring is one of the central focuses of this year's game.

That focus on tag-team wrestling will emerge in a number of different ways. Key to the new tag-team approach is a number of different ways to interact with your partner in the ring. These can be things like "illegal" partner actions. (You know, choking an opponent while the ref's back is turned, holding the rope down while your partner tosses your opponent against the ring, thus tossing him out of the ring, and so on.)

In addition, the developers are working to ensure that even if you aren't in the ring, you'll still have plenty of opportunities to interact with the game. For instance, you'll be able to rally the crowd or distract the referee. Then there's the always-popular hot tag, used to describe those moments in a match when a wrestler who's spent a good deal of time getting his butt kicked manages to tag in his partner, who runs into the ring like a wild man and destroys anyone who gets in his path. Of course, not all tag teams are smooth partnerships, and SVR 09 will also let you mimic that aspect of the real thing, be it blind tagging your partner when he's not looking so you can hog some of the glory, or flat out turning your back on your teammate and launching an attack on him.

However, the team aspect in SVR 09 will be more than just dramatic swerves. As a tandem, both members of a tag team will share the same momentum meter, which means that if your partner is sucking it up in the ring and tags you in, you'll need to fight back to regain the momentum. There will also be plenty of team-specific moves and attacks that you'll be able to pull off on opponents; during the presentation, THQ showed footage of the Hardy Boys roughing up Randy Orton with tandem moves such as double slams and dual drop kicks, as well as more elaborate tag-team finishing moves.

Create a Wrestler modes have been standard fare for wrestling games for years, and the SmackDown! series has had Create an Entrance tools in the series for a while now as well. With SVR 09, you can add one more create mode to that: Create a Finisher. Here, you'll be able to string up to 10 moves together to create finishing moves from scratch from a pool of more than 500 animations. The tool shown during the presentation looked similar to that found in the assign move set tools found in previous SmackDown! games, which is to say that it wasn't exactly pretty to look at, but appears as if it'll get the job done. The most important aspect of this feature, beyond its apparently flexibility, is that you'll be able to use any created finisher anywhere in the game, be it in the single-player game or online.

We'd like to be able to tell you about all of the new online features in SVR 09, but THQ is keeping most of the details under wraps for now. What we do know is that there will be new match types to play and that online play will be available on the Wii version of the game for the first time. Downloadable content for the game will also be available, though we don't know the specifics. What we did manage to wrangle out of THQ producers was the hint that the DLC would "extend the life of the game"; it remains to be seen whether that means an extended storyline, new match modes, roster updates (our odds-on favorite), or some combination.

The story mode--dubbed Road to WrestleMania in SVR 09--will see some changes. Instead of running through a generic catchall storyline designed for any character, the stories in Road to WrestleMania mode will be specific to a handful of WWE Superstars and will feature a storyline that will take your character from the Royal Rumble all the way to his or her big match at WrestleMania. There will also be a cooperative tag-team storyline that producers are promising will have plenty of twists and turns, including the ability to decide whether you and your tag-team partner remain as a team along the way.

Although new features are always important for keeping any game fresh, one could argue that THQ has a lot to do in improving some aspects of the previous years' games that have become extremely tired; namely, long load times, crummy collision detection, and subpar animations. It seems that THQ is listening on all of those points and is promising improvements to each of these aspects of the game, as well as an improved AI that will see the virtual Undertaker acting in the ring as he would in real life. We're most curious to see how the hit detection and load times improve. Producers claim that the game already has 50 percent shorter load times than last year's game, with the overall goal of reducing load times completely (which sounds optimistic, if not necessarily realistic, to us).

In addition to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game, we'll also see Wii and Nintendo DS version of SVR 09 this year. The Wii version will have the aforementioned online play, and will also let you manually control your wrestler (to an extent) during the ring entrance and after victory in the squared circle. The interaction is pretty basic, mainly just lifting your arms to acknowledge the crowd, but we got a kick out of the Yuke's developers who showed off the feature, including one guy who managed to do a pretty good Jeff Hardy arm-swinging stage dance with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The DS version has taken a step away from the rock-paper-scissors screen-tapping fest that was last year's game; with a new developer onboard, THQ is promising an experience that's closer to the console games, including a Create a Wrestler mode, an RPG-style season mode, and more than 30 wrestlers on the roster.

SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009 will be the 10th version of the SmackDown! series (which sort of makes us feel old). As the series prepares to head into its second decade, it seems to be focusing on both the new features and modes that will keep fans coming back, while addressing the important issues that SmackDown! vets have been clamoring for. We'll be tracking the game's progress all summer and fall as we lead up to its release later this year, and we'll be bringing you much more in the near future.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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215 comments
marvel456
marvel456

adding a playable inferno match and create a finisher mode is a good innovation even the fact that there is a tag-team storyline.

animefanyaaaaaa
animefanyaaaaaa

someone send me a messege buy there is no stoyline at all in career mode!!! soemone tell me if there a way to get in match commentairy

JT_Skywalker
JT_Skywalker

I hope someday that they will put a feature where you can upload vid and music for ur CAW and keep the Create-A Finisher mode. I have not got the game yet, but it sounds awesome!!

DXMember3
DXMember3

I got SvR 08 on Wii last year and it was the gayest game ever. I recently got a 360 so now I'm gonna get 09 on it. I hope it doesn't dissapoint. Also, GM Mode was pretty fun, they shouldn't have tookin it out.

619_clean
619_clean

isn't it out yet?? Where is the review?!

Gamelova08
Gamelova08

totti_freeman, i'm thinking the same..I wanna get this game soo much!! This is why I sometimes think about what the Gamespot dudes are doing cuz they take 2 months to tell me that a game sucks badly and I figure out the miserable way :(

totti_freeman
totti_freeman

why there hasnt been a score yet for this game?isnt it out? can some1 tell me pls,i am thinkin about buyin it :)

ranga85
ranga85

great but will there be for psp?

the_black_one
the_black_one

I'm getting this game for my PS3 ASAP. I can't wait until it comes out it looks like it has a ton of potential.

tdillo67
tdillo67

sounds grate i cant wait

Chronologo
Chronologo

oh and I forgot to say that the backstage brawls are back, like the old times,sniff... almost nostalgic there XD

Chronologo
Chronologo

svr 2008 was a great dissapointment, but I hope 2009 gets better

danwarecritic
danwarecritic

I never played previous games but creating my own finishers sounds like a heck of a lot of fun. I doubt they'll let you make anything ridiculous though. I hope a fighting game comes that lets you make your finishers funny. That'd be awesome.

gamerkiduri
gamerkiduri

even wwe prefers ps3 more, cause if u go to wwe.com they are giving ps3s instead of xballs 360.anyway this game is gonna rule.thankz to the rpg for season mode. cant wait.

rowdy_lewis
rowdy_lewis

yo!!!!!!!!!!!! waitin for the game to come............heehooo!!!!!!!

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

I know what they should do! They should take the HORRIBLE music out of these games (menu songs) and allow us to import our own songs into the menus and entrances. I'm mainly talking about the PSP version anyway. :P They let me listen to my own music in the GTA games for PSP! Why couldn't these add this in there too? Of course ONE thing I want in this for PSP (besides shorter load times) would be COMMENTARY!

danbrake
danbrake

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

KillerOfGiant
KillerOfGiant

will there be "add your own music" feature for ps3 now??? damn stupid if you can do it only with xbox 360...

K696969
K696969

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

getthemost
getthemost

This game looks cool because me and my friends made up our own finishing moves that we use on each other when we wrestle

domot
domot

gunit0627 yes it does the last smackdown game for the ps2 is 2010 i think

K696969
K696969

they have inferno matches in svr 09 i cant wait to burn my rivals

Venom_Tinsley
Venom_Tinsley

first of all they need to bring bac the bra and panties match,increse it to 8 players in the ring,have more back stage options,have more divas,new matches. They also have alot 2 make up for. i still hope gm mode is kept though. they also need more weapons and in story mode they need to let u pick which title to compeite 4 and a diva storyline.

Dirtymonke
Dirtymonke

what needs to happenis they need to go back to the old smackdown story modes where you could make your own decisions every night and go see whoever the **** you want to and the way you could go out into 10 different backstage arenas like when you went to the street and jumped off thre building 100 ft

bigd575
bigd575

I hope the season mode ain't like 08's I hated the story in 24/7 mode.

Nicksta101
Nicksta101

Please be how it's written unlike last year, the 24/7 Mode was awful!

bigmouthkid
bigmouthkid

C'mon THQ I'm counting on you to make this game real good. Not like the last one.

ga2k5
ga2k5

WWE SmackDown vs. Raw Grievances My cousin & I are avid WWE fans, especially of the games, & often praise its improvements each year, but currently have issues with them in regards to the inablity to play as legends in the season mode, limited selection of moves, & limited create a player items, like having a wrestler wear a cape! And what about allowing players to load their own entrance themes to the game? These issues may seem little to some, but mean the world to wrestling phenoms such as myself. Many may feel the same as I, so now I will serve as their voice.

Mramazing07
Mramazing07

I HAVE A GREAT IDEA! GO BACK TO WCW:REVENGE AND WWF NO MERCY. NOW TAKE ALL OF THAT ADD SOME KICK ASS GRAPHICS AND VUALA, YOU WILL HAVE THE GREATEST WRESTLING GAME OF ALL TIME.... TIL THEN. I SEE US ALL DISAPPOINTED.

latinoheat21504
latinoheat21504

SMACKDOWN VS RAW 08 WAS THE WORST WWE GAME EVER MADE,2 WORDS(WHERES EDDIE)HE WAS THE BEST EVER TO ENTER THE SQUERD CIRCLE ,NO GAME SHOULD BE WITHOUT HIM,I WONT PLAY ANY GAME WITHOUT HIM ON THE ROSTERAND I STILL DONT,SO MARK MY WORDS"IF EDDIE IS NOT INCLUDED INTHE GAMES PAST,PRESENT OR FUTUE I WONT PLAY IT",WHEN I FIRST TURN ON A WWE GAME I CHECK THE ROSTER AND IF I DONT FIND LATINO HEAT I IMMEDIATELY SHUT IT OFF AND NEVER PLAY IT AGAIN, EDDIE DESERVES TO BE ON EVERY GAME HE IS A LEAGEND R.I.P. EDDIE GUERRERO THE LATINO HEAT WILL BURN FOREVER I PROMISE U,VIVA LA RAZA,LIE CHEAT STEAL!!!!!!!!!!

Shinobi_Daisuke
Shinobi_Daisuke

dear god, my friend and i just spent $50 on 2008 each. we figured that gamespot always gives good games bad reviews and we were convinced that it had the co-op career (the game box says online AND offline co-op 2-4) which 2009 was actually promising. create-a-superstar was great and we were happy to see its new additions (thank god for baggy pants without that annoying white stripe) and modifications. however, we were outraged to find that not only did you have to PURCHASE pre-set moves (what were you people thinking!?) but there was absolutely NO STANCE OPTION!!!! why would you take out that function!? were you people on drugs!?!?!? ugh! when we found out that the game had zero co-op (for god's sake it didn't even let two players compete in a tournament, FOR THE TAG TEAM TITLES) we literally shut off the xbox. i hope to god that 2009 is all it's cracked up to be.

AjayRaz
AjayRaz

smackdown vs raw 2008 was one of the worst sports game I have ever played. I'm not exicted for 09. 07 06 and HCTP ruled, it's never going back to that kind of fun. If 09 is worse than 08...oh man i'm gonna go nuts..

Darkestrah
Darkestrah

i have 08 and the last smackdown i played it was on Play Station 1 .... anyways 08 is full of bugs and the loading time sucks. the generic storyline sucks. i hope THQ will do something about it for real this time.

Playtation
Playtation

I hope they do something with the awful commentary.

elite396
elite396

THQ, the tag team improving would be a good thing, but personally i prefer single matches. A few things improve collision and realism. Improve the AI to how they actually fight. Don't improve loading times, because loading times aren't even slow. Good luck, i'll buy this game either way, just dont make it a waste of money.

mohi_91
mohi_91

i wish in this new game they don't make things disappear... like in the past games after using the chair it disappears, after the table breaks it disappears. i hope here we will be able to fight in more places other than the parking lot, etc. like in smackdown 5 here comes the pain. and the season should also not repeat for different wrestlers. anyone who is interested in commenting on wwe games please message me mohiuddin mohi_91

K696969
K696969

SVR 09 should have money in the bank in the story line and let you cash it in at any time you want to.

no_cultureicons
no_cultureicons

God I hope this is as good as it sounds. I didn't buy 08 because of the terrible reviews it received. Now... fingers crossed for some great tag team legends!

jonzilla_basic
jonzilla_basic

2008 Sucked so bad. I hated it. Lets hope that this one is better

bruceylee
bruceylee

this is so going to be way better then 2008 y2j rocks

is0lati0n
is0lati0n

Not sure about this game. Seems like last years but with 1 or 2 add ons.

ErkiB
ErkiB

I have been waiting for 09 for a long time altough I like 08 I would still like to see the new game.It sounds great I just hope they have a better GM mode this year than 08. Bigger roster and making loading screens shorter is great.

Solid_Acid
Solid_Acid

It looks like that you can now finally use a WWE Diva in the story mode which is going to be great I can't wait to do a season with either Mickie James, Melina or Beth Phoenix. I just hope the roster will be a lot bigger and knowing Y2J is back its gonna be awesome.

heartbreakkid84
heartbreakkid84

can someone tell me if ECW is going to be in it like in 08. Yes, I agree, 08 was a rip off, the only good things was ECW, thats why I want to kno if they're at least keeping ECW Superstars and rings