SmackDown Vs. RAW 2006 Review
The PSP has taken some heat for it's lack of original games, but something it has done pretty well are PS2 ports. SmackDown VS. RAW 2006 is another example of ports done right. The developers have basically given us the PS2 game in a handheld. Even SmackDown VS. RAW's graphics translate close to PS2 qualify on Sony's handheld juggernaut.
Some people complain about the number of ports on the PSP. For me, because they are done so well, it seems more like the games are just coming out on a fourth, more portable, platform. I can't see the harm in that. I loved having Thug 2 on the PSP. I never got around to it on the home consoles, so when it came out on the PSP I was pretty excited. It turned out to be an excellent on-the-go game. SmackDown VS. RAW is a lot like Thug 2. If your looking for some great on the go action you'll get it. If your looking for more in depth experience, SmackDown VS. RAW is a powerful enough game on the PSP to give you that as well.
The PSP isn't quite as ergonomic in your hand as the PS2 controller and the screen probably isn't as big as your TV, but it is still pretty darn nice. SmackDown VS. RAW doesn't make any compromises either. Like I mentioned, the graphics are on par with its big brother console. The controls translate just as well. There are a plethora of modes and options for whatever you are looking for at the moment, or whatever you have time for. PSP owners who are wrestling fans should be very pleased.
The only thing that plagues WW SmackDown VS. RAW 2006 on the PSP are the lengthy load times. This seems to be a universal problem for the PSP. Usually I don't have a problem waiting a bit while playing the PSP because the games are just so amazing for a handheld. The reason SmackDown VS. RAW rubs me a little more than some games' load times is that matches can go by real quick. I haven't applied myself in a wrestling game since the original Nintendo. Obviously the first couple matches I got stomped pretty bad. By the time you pick a mode, a character, and a place to wrestle you have gone through at least 3 load screens, the last of which is especially lengthy. So, when my match didn't even last that long I was a little annoyed. More experienced gamers will find the load times more than justified but newbies may be turned off.
There are a lot of wrestlers to choose from, some you might recognize from your childhood wrestling phase, and a number more that you can unlock. I'm surprised by just how many venues you could choose from. You will find all your favorite spots from the TV show and pay-per-view events. To me a ring is pretty much a ring but I know there are a lot of people out there who will delight in the ability to wrestle in some of the more memorable arenas.
SmackDown VS. RAW 2006 gets an A for presentation. It features a vibrant soundtrack that fits the flamboyant wrestling style. Each of the characters' over the top entrances are wonderfully recreated on the PSP's sexy little LED screen. If you want a game that captures what you find on TV then SmackDown VS. RAW's latest installment will not disappoint.
SmackDown Vs. RAW has a Wifi Ad-hoc mode that allows more than one PSP to battle it out, if they both have a copy of the game. You can play single, tag, and main event matches from the single player mode. You can even create wireless title matches, allowing you and your friend to batle it out for the ultimate accolades. A nice little bonus are three mini-games (that are also available in the Arcade mode) for wireless play. Just like Pokemon you can trade your favorite, or probably not favorite, Superstars with you friends. It all adds up to some pretty nice multi-player action if you have enough friends with SmackDown to play with.
In the General Manager mode you can control either SmackDown or RAW as, you guessed it, the General Manager. You are given five tools with which to do this: Schedule, E-mail, Rosters, Weekly Reports, and Financials. You can check the schedule of events and get messages through you email with the first two. Rosters let you manage rivalries, propose trades, and look at free agents. You can look at past results, fan support and professional reports on you status with the Weekly Reports and check the income generated from your show in Financials. This feature adds a whole new depth that I wasn't expecting from a wrestling title. Fans should really enjoy being able to dive into the intricacies of the wrestling rivalry. After you have done some serious smacking down or , er ...RAWing, you can go to the locker room and view your trophies and various accomplishments.
For people who haven't experienced SmackDown VS. RAW 2006 yet, or those who want to have more of the same on a hand held, without compromises, then I highly recommend it on the PSP. If you really don't like wrestling games this one won't convert you but even casual wrestling fans should find SmackDown VS. RAW worth their time.