PSP Review: Smackdown Vs Raw 2008
Unless you are an avid WWE fan or you have a lot of friends to play it with, then I would not recommend for you to get the latest offering in the Smackdown Vs Raw series. Even though there are no actual bugs, there are many problems in the actual gameplay. They range from undocumented controls to boring static storyline, that are unaffected by your performance. Also the graphics aren’t that great (just checkout the attached screenshot of the divas), and I believe they are a downstep from Smackdown Vs Raw 2007. Overall the game is very repetitive and outright boring.
Let me start with the single player campaign mode, called 24/7 mode. You are allowed to pick a superstar and place him on either the Smackdown or Raw roster. Then you have to fight your way to the top by competing during the live show by an opponent that was picked for you by the GM. The opponents are based on a storyline that progresses as you win or lose matches, and they can be quite creative. However apart from the lose/win outcome, your match does not affect how the storyline progresses. For example, if I dominated without taking any damage (I was playing with the easy setting), the aftermath (including the article in WWE magazine) will still claim that it was a very close match and my opponent is still in the contendship for #1 contender. This does not make sense at all! I literally beat some of the guys in under a minute, yet they are still considered to be at my level? Without such dynamics, Smackdown vs Raw 2008 gets boring very fast.
During the days you are not competing, you have an option of either training or taking part in activities. The training consists of an in-ring match against a random opponent. Your objective is to perform a set amount of moves (ei: 3 power moves for the strength training) in a set amount of time. Upon success, your stats will be increased by 1%. This is a good attempt at making the game more dynamic, because it allows you to advance your character, but it is repetitive. You have 4 days in between shows to train and can you imagine just having to perform three chokeslams every day after a minute of loading? It gets very boring very fast.
To be fair, I have to mention that there are several improvements over the 2007 version. The loading times are much much faster. In Smackdown vs Raw 2007 and 2006 it took several minutes to load a match that lasted only a few minutes, but now it takes maybe 1 or 2 minutes per match. This is very good in comparison to other PSP games on the market.
Finally, the game can be quite fun if you have friends to play it with. You are not stuck with the static storyline, which is the biggest problem I had with Smackdown vs Raw 2007. The matches can be quite fun to play, especially if you choose one of the gimmick matches like the Hell in a Cell or Tables, Ladders and Chairs. Sadly Game Sharing is not supported, so you have to purchase two copies. At $40/UMD disk, this can be quite steep for multiplayer only purposes.