Good graphics and a load of match-types can not save this installment of the smackdown franchise from feeling broken
Well lets start with the basic controls and gameplay mechanics. At first you may be confused on how to actually control your superstar, but tutorial vids are there to help (you should have watched them at the beginning, but anyway)
the new controls are very nicely done, they feel great and the new hotspots are also a worthy addition to a match of any calibre, however, your CAW might no benefit from this, i will elaborate on that later. but gameplay wise i would say its fairly solid, i still can have fun in a singles match now and then, due to the fact of the new ultimate control moves, which allow you to lay the smackdown anywhere you want, whether is onto the turnbuckle, or onto a table. Season mode this year has had an improvement, and so has the locker room. The locker room has two stories, and you can now walk around the locker room to activate certain spots such as your computer ect., customization is still high here too. Now season mode, well i must admit, being only two days into it, i have not seen it to its fullest potential, but i know its good so far, my CAW has not said much so far, and there aren't many scene's, mainly voice messages from various superstars. GM mode is back and slightly better than ever, its HUD is a little crowded, but you can get used it fairly quickly, hiring scriptwriters in and choosing story-lines from those scriptwriters may seem cool, but you soon realize its just a fancy rivalry between superstars, but overall its still as fun as hell, i probably spend most of my time in this mode. But, there is BIG AI problems that plague the game throughout
With all that gameplay aside, the game still has problems, one of which is the sound, its not very well built lets just say that, the mat seems very quiet for a wrestling game, and the crowd noises whilst being realistic can really hog most of the other sounds in the game, the commentary is an exact port over last years game with a few new lines for new superstars and hotspots, but these sound completely different for the current recordings, so they're easy to spot, and it becomes very repetitive very quickly. If that wasn't all, there are missing sounds too, when attacking someone who has a weapon, no sound is made, same goes for run attacking some one in the back,however there are still some good sound effects, but with some missing ones, its hard to compensate.but the soundtrack this ear is very, very good, less rap more rock (hurray)
Moving on to graphics, they're very nice, well made models, the superstars all look great (well most, there are some glaring ugly ducklings) and you do get a sense that you are fighting these superstars,the sweat system is minor but actually very good, so is the new blood texture, but yet again there are some niggles, viscera for example, his hands go right through his body, i guess they couldn't of said "your not in cause your too fat" so they put him the best they could, oh and of course there is teleporting moves, for example no matter where you are in the ring a triple H knee drop will always be in the center of the ring.
But now lets talk match types and create modes. This year, there is a new match...the money in the bank match, well what can i say this is fundamentally a six man ladder match, nothing more nothing less, and a bad one at that, since the AI is still a klutz, its just a technological mess, but im guessing with other players it would be ok, but the AI makes a mess of it, i was able to do some really cool stuff in this match, but i could do the exact same in a ladder match. Speaking of ladder, the ladder matches AND table matches have been improved, in a Ladder match, you can now slant another ladder on the current one and run up it like a scolded dog, you can also set it up sideways in the corner as well as setting it up vertically, grabbing the belt is also a much more tense experience, in a table match you can double stack these baby's, the match mechanic is also different, you must get your opponent in the red and then use a finisher on the table, now this is not just a finisher your superstar has, it also other various moves like a superplex onto double stacked tables, so you can end this match in a variety of ways, however you might not be able to end it the you want to, for example, you may want to finish it with a shooting star press, but no it HAS be a crappy bodysplash, so you might say, "oh well lets do a TLC match instead" TLC fans prepare to be disappointed, there is only one ladder and one table......*Gob smacked* this a major bummer, in fact it was ordered from major bummer himself, seeing as new features for these weapons are designed for two, this sucks, no gruesome double stacking tables, no running up ladders ect. Oh well you cant win 'em all...*sigh* no you really cant with the smackdown games.
Moving on, the backstage brawls this year are ended with a KO, just as well since these matches are terrible, they're just goofball matches, not to be taken seriously, they are very un-hardcore, and it may not come as a surprise that i am a big hardcore fan, and my hardcore belly is not satisfied, the bar brawl is just boring and the parking lot lacks imagination, oh except fora huge drop from the fire trucks cherry picker, ha ha, that was cool. Did someone say hardcore...no..must of been the wind, well that definitely went through Corey Ledesma's mind (sorry corey your the only one i can think of, and you said that when the fans don't like some feature of the game you cringe, well i hope you cringe on this one) the hardcore matches this year suck just as bad, chairs, chairs oh and more chairs, oh and what was the other one?.....oh yeah a CHAIR!, ok ok, there's sledgehammers as well, originally, light tubes were going to be in the game, but not any more, there is however a crowd area, that boasts a table, a trashcan (YES!), a fire extinguisher, some crowd weapons, environmental grapples oh and some chairs, now chairs would be ok if they hadn't removes the motion captured chair shots, but they have, and when you do get one magically, the chair just glitches up, now this crowd area is pretty cool, but far too cramped, and it forces the question: "why can't i have all of this in the ring", answer...there is none, its been 4-3 games now since the trashcan and table made it into the ring in a hardcore match and they are dieing for a return. Trust me the list goes on, heres a quick rundown, the HIAC are still the same, the EC has a weird glass smashing effect that sounds like electricity, and the buried alive match still fails to look like the original buried alive match, and i noticed my moves changed whilst i was playing it
Now, the create modes, the CAS this year is superb, better textures, bump mapped muscles and things dont tend to look painted on anymore, your CAW's finally look like superstars...well almost, they cant sweat, so they look a bit strange, but too strange. Downside, crotch blurring, ah yes the famous and pointless crotch blurring, the thing that disables you from making very good tights, overall the CAS this year is good, maybe a few more hairstyles would sell it over for me but hey, im good.
Create a move set this year is almost identical, but as i said earlier, the new controls make a glaring flaw IMO, you can only have TWO custom grappling styles, not three, instead the third spot is for clean or dirty, something that was reserved as the CIRCLE button last year, that said you can still assign a ultimate control move to it. Downside, you cant assign every move, for instance, some wrestlers can throw their opponent onto the barricade, some just smash their head into the barricade, now you can't choose which one you want, i believe you are forced, determined by your stance (someone told me this)
Now over to the big gun, Create an entrance, woo wee, this is a good improvement, if you have played the Day of reckoning games on the GC, you will be pleased you have got something very similar, you can assign the moves, the lighting, the fireworks and screen effects as usual all while seeing it on the screen, but if you press this little goldmine of a button called preview you can time the screen effects the fire works and camera positions seamlessly, a huge creative plus!
And create a belt, and create a stable are just good, though the created belts are still not handled well, its all good stuff
Just a few more glitches, your hometown's get read really strangely, "from houston, Texas.....FROM TEXAS!!!" as you can see that is strange, also i can confim it but there seems to be a belt glitch, where once used a created entrance the belt you CAW is holding does not where it, just as well seeing as the belts look terrible.
If you have been reading this, than thank you for your time, its much appreciated. Overall, this just feels like smackdown vs raw 2006 June addition, you may think the score is harsh, but its the cold hard truth, but if you are new to the smackdown series, then you are going to love this game, but if you are like me, and have stuck through every one thick and thin, than you can pretty much expect everything here