Home > Gaming, Ported Reviews, Wii > “WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008” Wii Review

“WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008” Wii Review

Hey, Frayed Wire readers! This is a review Josh made on his old site, but is now being moved here!


Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 for the Wii attempts to become the king of the ring in terms of arcade-style fighting games on the Wii. It uses simple gestures of the Wii Remote to execute all the strikes, grapples, and throws. The nunchuk is used for moving your character and Irish Whipping. These controls work well, although furiously waggling the Wii Remote when you’re down can get a bit tiring.

The character roster is huge, featuring current WWE Superstars, Divas, and Legends. Each of the many types of fighters also have their own move set (with character-specific specials and taunts), so there’s a lot for the player to master. Many are unlockable through the single player campaign, called Main Event. The Main Event mode itself is interesting. You choose your character (or create your own) and embark on a career of WWE professional wrestling. At first you can only fight opponents in the division you choose – Smackdown or Raw – but with time you can switch between the two at will. You can even try to win championships (and defend your position). Below is a commercial for the game that shows some of the gameplay that’s identical in all the console versions of the game.

It’s unfortunate that the Wii version of the game got short-changed on a number of things, including the lack of both the General Manager and the 24/7 Career modes (the lesser Main Event replaces the 24/7 Career), a smaller move set for each character, and most glaring of all – an absence of six(!) different match types the Xbox 360 and PS3 players can enjoy. It also sucks that the Wii’s “Hardcore” match type is really nothing more than a normal match with a couple of folding chairs. It could have greatly benefited from more weapons. Still, one can get a certain satisfaction out of brutally hammering your opponent with a steel chair while they cower helplessly on the ground…

The main selling point of Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 is its arcade-style multiplayer. If you’re looking for a fighting game that will attract the non-gamers in your house, this game is your best bet. I think it would be easier for your dad to learn this than Guilty Gear or Dragon Ball Z. Of course, they might just randomly waggle the Wiimote at first, which works surprisingly well in a fight. However, there’s two sides to that – 1. Your dad or whoever might feel confident that they’re doing well, but 2. It shows how little it takes to dominate a human opponent in this game. I say human because the computers seem to counter such moves often, making them formidable foes. The counter system isn’t as easy to use as the computers make it look though, since it relies a bit too much on random guesswork.


If the player you face in a multiplayer match does in fact understand the grapples and throws as well as the strikes, it can be a fun time. The three-player Triple Threat matches I played with my friends were an absolute blast, mostly because of their intensity and difficulty to win. However, I was a bit annoyed at how Triple Threat really felt more like a normal two-player match with an extra person who happened to show up. If two players are in the middle of some throw, the third can’t do anything about it, no matter how many times they punch and slam the others’ bodies. But like I said, it was still fun.

There is more than striking in the game’s combat system. Quick throws can be executed with a jerk of the Wiimote while holding the A button, while “Interactive” grapples are done while doing the same but holding the B button. They’re called interactive because once started, you have to follow on-screen queues to finish the attacks. Unfortunately, the actions you must take are nothing but swinging the Wiimote in a certain direction. The player’s actions don’t feel even close to the actions being performed on-screen. A quick wrist snap to the left just doesn’t replicate that feeling of twisting your opponent’s head and smashing it into the floor while jumping backwards. But I do remember one thing that did actually feel like it was controlled right – it was a certain move where you sat on a downed opponent and used the Wiimote and Nunchuk like your fists to punch. If you were lucky, your opponent’s face might start bleeding.

The fighting really isn’t only about the limited number of grapples, throws, and strikes, however. The best part of the fighting in Smackdown Vs. Raw 2008 is how many of the attacks you execute are determined by the situation you’re in. For example, if you lift your opponent up over your head, you can walk over to the edge of the ring and throw them out of it onto the cold, hard floor beneath. Then after a simple flick of the Wiimote, your character will jump off the ring onto the downed opponent below. While fighting outside of the ring, if you get your opponent close enough to a table, instead of throwing your opponent when you press a certain button combination, you might just grab their head and smash it repeatedly into the edge of a table.


All in all, no Wii fighting game has gotten the controls perfectly yet, but I have a feeling the next iteration of Smackdown Vs. Raw will fix its simplicity and go for a more deeper approach with the fighting mechanics. I had a good time with this game, but the simple battle system and lack of play modes cuts the fun short. The multiplayer is where this game really shines, however, and that will add to the replay value considerably. Because of its easy to learn fighting system and variety of characters, gamers young and old, experienced or not, can play along and have fun. For 2009, I hope more moves can be added to each character and the Wii version of the game can have all the play modes the other systems do, but for now, I think Yuke’s has done a good job taking the Smackdown Vs. Raw series to the Wii. The controls and fighting system haven’t reached their full potential, but then again, no fighting game on the Wii really has yet. The other consoles may have a better version of the game, but fortunately even a watered-down edition is enough fun to be worth your attention.

Final Score: 7.8 out of 10

By Josh60502

  1. September 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm

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