WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007 Updated Hands-On

Time to play the game! We get our hands on the new analog controls in SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007.

The Undertaker is stalking Triple H around the ring. The Game has had a rough go of it so far, and the Dead Man has no intention of letting up on the former WWE champ. Since the beginning of the match, Undertaker has been taking it to Triple H with a variety of suplexes, choke slams, and pile drivers--at times, it feels like he's just toying with Triple H, holding him up in the air, dragging him across the ring, and only slamming him back to the mat after he's humiliated him a bit. At one point, 'Taker has Triple H out of the ring and in the crowd, tossing him into monitors or up against gigantic stadium speakers. The crowd loves it; one old lady even tosses her cane to The Undertaker so he can bash Triple H over the head with it. These are just a few examples of the kinds of interactivity that THQ's WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007 will feature. We had a chance to see the game in action and get a hands-on look at the new controls, and we came away impressed with what we've seen so far.

In addition to making appearances on the PS2 and PSP, SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007 is the first entry in the series for the Xbox 360.

With SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007, the Yuke's development team behind the game has taken a step forward in the game's control, moving the vast majority of the grapple moves to the right analog stick for easier access by players. Last week we took a look at exactly how these new moves are controlled, and now that we've had time to play the game for an extended period of time, we can safely say that the analog controls do add something to the gameplay. For one thing, the moves seem that much easier to access--a quick flick of the thumbstick is measurably easier on the fingers than holding down combinations of buttons. For another, the game seems to be pretty responsive to your input when compared to the old button system from previous versions of the game.

So how do the controls work in practice? For the purpose of explanation, we'll use a virtual version of Kurt Angle and his default moves to discuss the different grapples you can pull off. The first set of moves, quick grapples, is pulled off by moving the right analog stick while in the vicinity of your opponent. When standing in front of your opponent, pushing the right stick left or right has Angle perform a simple knee takedown. Push up on the controller and Angle will flip his opponent over his body and onto his back. Finally, pushing down on the right analog has Angle wrap his opponent up and deliver a quick knee to the stomach. The quick grapple move set is different when you are standing behind your opponent. Pressing left results in a slam, pressing right executes a reverse suplex, pressing down results in several strikes to the lower back, and pressing up puts Angel's opponent in a choke hold.

Strong grapples are executed by combining the right bumper and the right analog stick. In Angle's case, pressing RB and down will make Angle twist his opponent's arm, RB and up will have Angle lock up with his foe in a traditional manner, left and RB will have Angle grab his opponent's head and give him a kick to the gut for good measure, and RB and right will put his opponent in a front face-lock. When you are behind an opponent and try a strong grapple move, you will simply turn your opponent around to face you, setting you up to be in a proper strong-grapple position.

The new control scheme replaces button combos with the right analog stick.

The strong grapple is really just a setup for the subset of moves that you can pull off once you have your foe locked up. In the case of Angle (or any of the other WWE superstars that will appear in the game), that can range from a variety of suplexes and slams to painful-looking submission moves. Which moves are available to your wrestler depends on his or her style, though it's important to know that not only can you set up your move sets from scratch for your created wrestler, you can also edit the moves of any of the current superstars to your liking.

The variety doesn't stop at the strong grapples and its associated move sets. From any strong-grappling position, you can access a host of specially designed interactive holds by clicking on the right analog stick (pressing the R3 button, as it's known). Depending on where you are located inside (or outside) the ring, you'll pull off a specially designed move that you will be able to control yourself. Let's take a look at some of Angle's special interactive moves.

From a standard lockup position, Angle's interactive grapple move is the fireman's carry, which has Angle place his opponent up on his shoulders. Once he's up there, you can move the right analog stick in a circle, and Angle will begin to spin around; the faster you turn the stick, the faster Angle will spin. Once you set down your opponent, he will be dizzy and stumble around the ring, giving you the perfect opportunity to really lay into him. If you have your opponent in an arm twist and press the R3 button, Angle will scoop up his opponent and then slam him down on his knee repeatedly. Here, you control exactly how many times Angle slams his foe by pressing up and down on the right analog stick. As a variation on that move, you can first push down on the controller, then up, and Angle will toss his foe over his head.

Plenty of different match types will be playable in the game.

The interactive moves available to you depend not only on your strong-grapple choice, but also on your position in the ring. If you're close to the ropes, you might be able to toss your opponent crotch first onto the top ropes, then violently shake the ropes up and down to give him a truly painful ride. Another move lets you rake your opponent's face across the middle or bottom rope. With your opponent in a vertical suplex position, you can push him up and down, demonstrating your raw power for the crowd, before letting your opponent crash to the ground. If you've got your opponent prepped for a power slam, you can walk him over to the edge of the ropes and then slam him outside of the ring, a truly devastating move. In cage matches, you'll have the ability to drag your foe's face back and forth across the steel grating of the cage itself. The scope of the different moves and the variety for each makes this feature pretty impressive right from the outset.

All of these interactive moves have one thing in common--they drain your wrestler's stamina. That makes perfect sense for power moves such as choke slams and suplexes, but the same system is in place for relatively low-effort interactive moves, as well. It's a bit strange to see your stamina meter quickly petering out when you're doing little more than standing on the back of your opponent's head as he chokes on the bottom rope, but it makes sense; the system needs some sort of limitation, otherwise matches might consist of nothing but a cycle of endless airplane spins.

Once again, the SmackDown! character models are an impressive-looking bunch.

Beyond the right analog controls, gameplay in SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007 will feel familiar to vets of the series. Strike and grapple reversals are tied to the triggers on the controller, and many of the button controls for things like exiting and entering the ring, throwing punches and kicks, picking up weapons, and Irish whips are unchanged, as are many of the timing-based minigames for escaping submission holds. The game includes a number of different weapons to fight with, and many of these are seen outside the ring in the specially designed interactive crowd areas. Here, wrestlers can take the fight to an entirely new area of the stadium, one rife with objects to crash into, tables to set up, and crowd members to offer their assistance. Most of that assistance comes in the form of weapons they will hand you. We already mentioned the old lady's cane, but crowd members will also offer bottles and even replica WWE championship belts, which can be used as weapons. The ubiquitous fan-made signs are there for the taking, too--you can snatch a sign from a crowd member and use it to taunt your opponent, or if you don't like what it says, rip it up and throw it away.

In terms of match types, one brand-new match style makes its way to the game: money in the bank. For those who aren't familiar, the money-in-the-bank match is basically a six-man ladder match that has competitors attempting to snag a briefcase that is hoisted above the center of the ring. Inside the briefcase is a contract for a match against the current WWE title holder, which the winner can choose to "spend" at any time. With that many wrestlers, that many ladders, and that sweet a prize on the line, money-in-the-bank matches rarely lack for excitement, and Yuke's hopes to bring that vitality to the matches in the game.

Though THQ's staying mum on the full roster for the game, we do know some of the big names that will be playable.

Because money in the bank is essentially a ladder match, it makes sense that ladder matches in the game have received something of an overhaul this year. You can do more with the ladders than ever before, such as stack them in different configurations, run up them to take out opponents near the top rung (think Shelton Benjamin at WrestleMania), or stack them sideways in the corner and toss your opponents into them. Another particularly devastating move will let you place your opponent in between the two sides of a ladder and repeatedly slam one side of the ladder down on his body. Ouch.

When it comes to ladder matches or the newly introduced money-in-the-bank match, one other important control tweak has to do with how you'll grab after the hanging prize (be it a championship belt or the money-in-the-bank briefcase). At the top rung of the ladder, you can reach with either your left or right hand by pressing up with the left or right analog stick. You can even reach up with both hands if you want to make a desperate grab. A grip meter will let you know how much of a hold you have on the object, and you'll only be able to yank it down once you've found the "sweet spot." In addition to ladder matches, table matches have also received a makeover of sorts. You'll only be able to put your opponent through a table if you have a finisher stored, for example, which is different from last year's game.

Though we still don't know much about the game's other modes, we do know that fan favorites such as general-manager mode and season mode will be returning for another go-round. Season mode, in particular, will be less linear in approach this time around--in SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007, you'll be able to jump back and forth between a number of different season mode "tiers," including champion (for those times when you have the belt), contender (when you're looking to earn a belt), and a general storyline. The game will also include online play, though no details have been announced as of yet. For those WWE nuts who are waiting for a full announcement on the game's roster, here are the names we have confirmed are in the game so far: John Cena, Rey Mysterio Jr., Triple H, Kurt Angle, Shelton Benjamin, Chris Benoit, Booker T, The Undertaker, and Johnny Nitro.

How long until we see what the next-generation WWE divas look like?

Graphically, the Xbox 360 version of the game is obviously the most impressive looking, with wrestler models that are formidable for not only their sheer size, but also their accuracy. Triple H's familiar scowl and muscular physique were particularly impressive in the game (even if the real Trips isn't quite as ripped these days). We also have to say that the skin textures in the game were some of the best we've seen in a next-gen game so far--whereas so many games feature characters whose skin looks vaguely plasticized, SmackDown's wrestlers are wonderfully lifelike, even when they are sweating buckets. The build we played of the game was missing the vast majority of the audio that will end up in the final game--such as the roaring crowd and the match commentary--but we look forward to hearing the game's entire soundtrack later on down the road.

In all, we're excited by what we've seen so far of SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007. The game's new control twists seem to make the game more accessible right out of the gate and few are going to argue with the game's next-gen graphics. We'll be keeping a close eye on the game in the coming months as we approach its release later this year, and we'll be bringing you plenty more information in the meantime.

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

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73 comments
axes03
axes03

30 man rumble, dude get real man, even the strongest peace of hard ware in the world cant handle that. well be lucky if the six man elimination chamber works nice with out any major lag. i hope they put a rumble option may be not 30 but something like 16 or something

HatchetMan715
HatchetMan715

a few things 1.Cena Sucks 2. Will DX be in it? 3. When I play as Mr. Kennedy will he do his own ring entrance?....KENNEDY!!!!

NUK_SU_KOW
NUK_SU_KOW

can we have a 30 man royal rumble over live please! that would be insane!

soulknight63133
soulknight63133

lol..Wrestling is like a soap opera for us men...lol

shaymarx
shaymarx

Custom Music for CAWs and in-game characters was allowed for Rumble Roses XX so I don't see why not.

bjw8399
bjw8399

Does anyone know if you will be able to add customized must for your caw on the 360 version

bjw8399
bjw8399

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

wuzup14
wuzup14

SVR for 360 BABY. YEEAAAHHH

Keith4RFC17
Keith4RFC17

Wonder if the punches in the game are fake aswell

bigboyal
bigboyal

thats great we will get the first look at the svr on the 360 YA BABY

darkraven5000
darkraven5000

Smackdown 2007 is canceled on PS3. The one they get next year will be Smackdown 2008 so yes 2007 is not coming to PS3. They'll get the next one but then again so will Xbox 360.

jam_101
jam_101

Looks great, jus hoping dominant wrestlers such as Mark Henry, The Great Khali and Lashley are included in the roster.

Draykon
Draykon

For all of you guys that condemn wrestling for it being fake, you dont think reality tv shows are real do you?

Rocky_D
Rocky_D

Uhh WWE Smackdown! vs Raw '07 will be released for the PS3. The original release date was post-poned untill 2007. HHH looks awesome!

ff7cloudking
ff7cloudking

the PS3 version would be pretty much the same (except for the tilt) but it was cancelled. So, their is no PS3 version anymore

caspa_tfng
caspa_tfng

I think I'd rather wait for the ps3 version. This game just keeps looking better and better and I'm curious as to how far they've changed the custom settings.

firasgt
firasgt

it is fine but smackdown shut ur mouth is much more better

Hurricane66
Hurricane66

Sounds like dt2k (the facist) is projecting a little bit there with the constant gay comments. Now go erase all your tivoed american idol and OC episodes.

DuMichAuch64
DuMichAuch64

Thank you dt2k for telling me what i like.

shady_825
shady_825

He likes it. You don't. If you don't understand a principle as basic as freedom of choice/opinion then ton66 isn't the stupid one. That would be you, dt2k. ton66's love of the WWE doesn't hurt you and I doubt people need to confront you whenever they decide on their interests so uhhh chill out.

dt2k
dt2k

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

ton66
ton66

Wrestling is great, for all you who say its fake or gay... its just lke watching any other form of entertainment on TV or in the movies. Yeah it's scripted as hell, suspend your disbelief, even the wwe admits its not a "real" sport. And for the dude who was asking what straight guy wants to watch 2 men beat each other up... ever consider boxing? or mixed martial arts? those guys don't get much more "hetero" than that.

TalkOfNewYork16
TalkOfNewYork16

Does Anyone Know If The Backstage Will Be Accessable ?

judge__judy
judge__judy

They better put some effort in to the graphics in the 360 version instead of just leaving it the same as the PS2 version with minor changes

diphed
diphed

I cant wait for 5 month!!!!

HaloMC90
HaloMC90

Havent bought a wrestling game since WWF for the N64 and not planning on getting this one either. Wrestling just seems like a gay sport to me (literally gay not figure of speach). I mean what straight guy would want to see a bunch of sweety guys beat eachother up? Its just retarded. Dont get me wrong I have seen some of the women they have on WWE and daaaaaammn... but still... WWE is really dumb and fake now and always has been (except when I was 10)

Doeshza
Doeshza

this game looks damn good. im lookin forward to this one. i havent bought a wrestling game since i bought smackdown "shut yer mouth" for ps2

Nub-Nubbly
Nub-Nubbly

kids were into wrestling in the 5th grade, its as old, boring, and FAKE as ever now.

lil50cent
lil50cent

this game looks sick i cnt wait

thekey
thekey

Im psyched that Smackdown vs Raw is even comming to the 360. I thought for sure THQ was going to screw the 360.

yuergo
yuergo

I can't wait to play this game.

wwf20112
wwf20112

looking forward to this game cant wait for more updates!

xavip
xavip

HAVEN'T WATCHED WRESTLING IN A MINUTE ALSO, BUT I AM LOOKING AT GETTING THIS GAME. SEEMS LIKE THE 360 WILL HAVE A LOT OF TOP NOTCH GAMES FOR THE FALL.

F0RS4K3N
F0RS4K3N

well i think that the game creators should really think about putting smackdown vs raw on PC as well. So far this game is limited to playstation and now xbox360. it would be really good having it as well on pc, because it is one of the best game platforms that shouldn't be understimated.

RedChuckz
RedChuckz

im a Sony fan but nah the game should be o xbox and 360 sience im gettin a 360 i aint spending 600 buks for no console after a year its goin to break down just like PS2 so ull have o get 3 of them until like slim ps3 comes out or some like that

fudger_07
fudger_07

i love the different games of wrestling, but this the best one yet!!

Attitude2000
Attitude2000

To bobhoffnee1985: That's the beauty of video games. Only in video games can Rey Mysterio, Kane, Booker T and Kurt Angle have a match against each other, and all their pyro is set up and ready to go.

Ironclash
Ironclash

Great game, but I'm also psyche that Oblivion will be going to the PS3, even though that I'm a XBOX 360 fanboy.

Cooketh
Cooketh

im really not a big fan of system exclusive games unless they are first party games (IE: Msoft, Sony, or Nintendo made games). I don't like capcom trying to make a RE4 only for GC while at the same time im not huge on the WWE game being exclusive to the ps base. Simple logic tells you that you will have a more beloved company and sell more units if you go multiplatform. Forcing you fanbase onto one platform isn't a very form of customer service in my opinion. So i like that a lot of 3rd party games are multiplatform lately. Even oblivion is ganna hit the Ps3.

sh4d0wc4st3r
sh4d0wc4st3r

looks like YOU'RE relieved that Xbox is finally getting a good wrestling game...

thatguytony
thatguytony

Love listening to all the Sony fanboys cry about this, grow up. It is simple economics, try using commonsense. The PS3 hasn't even launched yet, while 5 million 360's have already been sold. Putting this game on the 360 means they'll not only sell more copies, but expand the games fanbase. Thank God companies use this logic, and not go by the "this game should be on this system" fanboy rhetoric. It's not like your never going to se a wrestling game on the PS3, so quit whinning.

stewart24
stewart24

wheres the fricken xbox version

litafan4ever
litafan4ever

they couldn't finnish the ps3 version in time for the release date

Rated_R_Gamer
Rated_R_Gamer

Awwww poor Shazaila. The guy is sad cause Wrestling wont be on the PS3. Hahaha. Im thrilled. Im so happy that I can rub it in all your faces.

shazaila
shazaila

That's garbage, they take it off for PS3 but keep it on 360? pure garbage, smackdown series should only be for Sony, period.