The very first wrestling game released on PSP comes from THQ in the form of WWE Smackdown vs. RAW 2006, expanding on the huge franchise with new features and a great tie in with the robust edition for PS2. From casket matches that force you to bury your opponent alive, to new attributes and a momentum system, there's plenty to experience that's brand new and action packed. Furthering the franchise into a true wrestling simulation is the amazing season mode that comes stuffed with storylines and decisions for the user to make on their quest for WWE gold.
The list of features as supplied by the manufacturer:
* New high-resolution textures and integrated motion-capture technology brings WWE programming to life like never before.
* Revolutionary momentum system adds increased depth with less complexity, while the all-new stamina system brings a new level of realism and strategy to matches.
* Challenge players online to gain prestige in a virtual WWE Championship.
* Improved cut-scenes and 2 full seasons to play without story repetition.
* Buried-Alive Match, Bar Brawl backstage area, a special surprise for the WWE divas and others.
* Fully customizable 3D locker room (first time ever in 3D), 3 levels of blood and other 'fan favorite' first time additions.
* A new roster of some of your favorite legends of all time.
For a first generation title on PSP, this wrestling game looks and acts stunning. Like most PSP games, the loading times are a pain, but well worth the wait since it boasts some of the best action on this portable platform. The variety of matches is impressive since gamers get to experience not just the ring, but also the popular 'hell in a cell' and backstage fighting too. The player models are absolutely astounding and look so true-to-life it's worth comparing to a DVD when watching the action. With amazing modeling and great action flow, the graphics of this title for both PSP and for the PS2 editions come as a wonderful surprise and will please any gamer.
Most of the voiceovers in the game are done by their real life WWE personas, so playing through as Rob Van Dam lets you experience the game through his eyes and voice. Voiceovers are absolutely key to selling the entertainment experiences of the story mode, letting you make decisions on whom to align or make rivals with. The in-game sounds of crashes and punches seem to be standard with all previous versions of the game and don't really stand out as a selling point.
If you've played any of the previous "Smackdown," "Smackdown vs. RAW" or the 2006 edition on PS2, the game will come very natural to you. The controls, created by the popular YUKE's development team, lets gamers utilize the grappling system to create a combination of moves. Make sure you have enough stamina to pull off maneuvers before your opponent does the same to you, and in the end, build up enough momentum and power to master a devastating unique finishing move to pin your opponent for the count.
The various matches and modes in the game are quite assorted, and it’s a big surprise how much of the PS2 elements are in this PSP version of the game. There's almost no drop off in modes and match types. Hell in a Cell, Cage Match, I Quit, First Blood … you name it, you'll experience it. Even steal a taunt from the opponent to humiliate him and pick up some power. Another mode outside of gameplay is a "General Manager" mode where you draft your roster for either Smackdown or RAW, balance a budget and hopefully get the better ratings. Overall, there's so much to do and experience in the gameplay of Smackdown! vs. RAW 2006 on both editions (we knew the PS2 version was fully packed, but the amount of modes for PSP was shocking), it gets top marks for gameplay.
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Since there's so much to do and experience in the game, the title gets a great score for longevity. Play through the story mode more than once since you have the full roster of not just WWE Superstars, but also the superstars of the past such as Bret Hart and The Rock. There seems to be more appeal for the PS2 version since playing against your friends is a huge draw for the game. 'Lets battle for the belt!' – 'Okay!!!' – it's a nice way to get a gaming party started.
Being the first wrestling game on PSP lends a high score for originality since no one expected the game to be this deep. It's the only one out there folks, and fortunately, it's unique and cool enough to be worthy your gaming dollar.
WWE Smackdown! vs. RAW 2006 for PSP and PS2 is an absolute winner and comes highly recommended for purchase. It's arguably the best fighter/wrestling title out for any portable console, is the best ever in the long history of the title for PS2, and has a great gameplay experience that it's hard to imagine any wrestling fan not immediately falling in love with this game. Both the PS2 and PSP editions come highly recommended for purchase.