WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009
|WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009|
Tose Co., Ltd. (Nintendo DS)
|Series||SmackDown vs. Raw|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer, multiplayer online|
WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 is a professional wrestling video game developed by Yuke's and published by THQ for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS, Wii, and Xbox 360 video game consoles. It is the tenth video game in the WWE SmackDown vs. Raw (later renamed to simply WWE) series, and is the sequel to its 2007's predecessor, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 and is succeeded by 2009's WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010. TOSE oversaw development for the Nintendo DS version. The game was released on November 9, 2008 in North America.
The video game is based on the professional wrestling promotion, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and is named after the promotion's two brands, Raw and SmackDown. The game introduced a few key new features including the Inferno match, a revamped tag team match, and four new game modes: Create-a-Finisher, Road to WrestleMania, Career and multiplayer season.
Road to WrestleMania
The Road to WrestleMania (RTWM) mode debuted in this game, replacing the popular Season mode from previous games. It was then featured in every new game in the series as well as WWE '12, before it was removed for WWE '13. This mode allowed the player to play through personalized storylines for John Cena, Triple H, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, and a tag team storyline for Batista and Rey Mysterio.
One of the game's most prominent features is the enhanced tag team match. Additions in the match include new ways of tagging the player's tag team partner such as the hot tag, which can help save the player in the match if they are in trouble, and the forced blind tag, where the illegal partner can tag his or herself into the ring. The legal player's tag team partner has more of a part to play in this match and will aid the player by holding an opponent on the ropes while on the apron (pictured), and pulling down the ropes for an opponent who is dashing towards them, sending them out of the ring. Teams will now share their own momentum meter, attributes and double team finishers.
SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 is the first WWE video game to include the Inferno match, a match where the player has to set their opponent on fire. It is similar the real life match which takes place with the ring surrounded by fire coming from gas fed pipes. To win the player must increase the temperature of the ring by performing more devastating moves. As soon as the temperature reaches 500°F (or in the EU version 300°C), the player can then begin to set their opponent on fire. To set a person on fire, you (as previously stated) raise the temperature to max temp. and drag the person towards the ropes provided that the opponent is badly injured. However, this match is not available for the Nintendo DS or Wii.
Several matches absent in previous games also returned to the series. The backstage brawl, where players can battle in either the locker room or the backstage "Gorilla position" with a variety of weapons at their disposal, returned and replaced the parking lot brawl match featured in the last game. The Gauntlet match also is a newly featured match selection in the Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 series where one superstar takes on three others one immediately after the other. Unlike the other WWE games General Manager mode, Create-A-Championship, and Create-A-PPV were removed from the SmackDown! vs Raw 2009 version.
Fighting styles, a major feature from the previous version, were removed. However, the fighting abilities used there were kept and enhanced with each wrestler possessing six out of twenty different abilities that would aid the player in specific areas. New to the game is the inclusion of signature moves, moves secondary in importance next to their finishing moves. When in full momentum, the players can choose to store a signature move instead of performing a finishing move which they can perform later.
A new semi-auto targeting system was implemented into the game, which will generally automatically target a particular wrestler the player wants to attack but can also be controlled in-game by the player.
Japanese company TOSE took over from Amaze Entertainment in development for the Nintendo DS version. Unlike the previous year's game whose gameplay was focused exclusively on the handheld's stylus, this year's edition instead uses by default the D-pad for movement and the left shoulder button for finishing moves. The DS version's gameplay is now similar to that from the other consoles with full movement control around the ring for the wrestler and a stamina meter to build up for a finishing move. Grappling, attacks and submissions would still be controlled by the stylus.
Road To Wrestlemania: In this new mode, players can choose from five superstars to play as in single-player storylines: Triple H, CM Punk, The Undertaker, John Cena, or Chris Jericho. The storylines featured in the mode are tailor made to fit the chosen wrestler's character with each cutscene made exclusively for the wrestler.
- As part of the game's new emphasis on tag teams, a co-operative storyline was also included in the mode, in which players can take the parts of Rey Mysterio or Dave Batista. For the first time. the Wii version will also include the Road to WrestleMania mode, replacing their equivalent Main Event mode in the previous edition.
Career Mode: Unlike the Road to WrestleMania mode, all superstars and divas featured in the game are eligible to play including wrestlers created by the player in Create-A-Superstar mode. The main aim of this mode is for the player to fight their way up the rankings for a particular title of their choice, in match types that they can also choose. After each match, the player's character is awarded attribute points based on the style of wrestling the player used.
Nintendo DS: Fully inspired by the TOSE-developed game, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, the Nintendo DS version has an RPG element to their season mode. Players will be able to roam around the arena, improve their characters through the training room or WWE Shop and interact with superstars to start feuds. The player is given missions to complete in order to become a champion. Created wrestlers will be eligible to use this career mode.
The series features a new Create Mode: The Create-A-Finisher feature. In it, the player has the ability to chain a selection of up to 10 out of over 500 animations to make unique finishing moves along with the choice to speed up or slow down the animations. Created finishers are limited to moves starting with both wrestlers standing face-to-face  The Create-A-Finisher feature is not available on the Wii or DS versions of the game.
The other major new addition to the game's create modes is the "Highlight Reel", where players can record the last 30 seconds of an ongoing match, and edit the clips together afterwards with custom camera angles and added visual and sound effects. Players can save up to 20 files and can upload them for online users to see, custom reels can be used as an entrance movie for a created superstar. The mode is featured only on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Both Create-A-Finisher and Highlight Reel have replaced the Create-A-Belt feature, which was taken out due to its lack of support from fans.
The Create-A-Superstar mode is in the major consoles, but now features physics-based clothing items that will sway around realistically such as loose clothing and necklaces. About 70% of the parts in the mode are now 3D with about 25 to 30% of the mode featuring new content. For the first time, the Nintendo DS version features a limited version of the Create-A-Superstar mode.
A roster editor has also been introduced to change the wrestler's brand, face/heel disposition and titles for exhibition matches. The game's Create-A-Stable mode has also been incorporated into the editor under the Team Management name.
The Create-An-Entrance mode has now been extended to feature created entrances for tag teams. The Wii version features a Create-An-Entrance mode like the other versions except a limited created entrance for tag teams. Instead, utilizing the Wii Remote and nunchuk, it features interactive entrances and victory celebrations, such as posing or beating down an opponent post-match. Successful poses during the player's entrance give them more momentum and bonuses at the start of the match.
The Wii version now includes online gameplay as well as rankings. Voice chat functionality for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions were confirmed. Also note that if a tattoo is used on your created superstar, he/she will be prohibited from playing online. However, online play is not available for the PlayStation 2 version.
After complaints about outdated rosters in the previous games, THQ stated that the game will provide downloadable content to keep the game as up to date as possible with new wrestlers and alternate attires.
The in-game commentary in the major console versions feature three announcing teams like the previous version but is considered to have a more play-by-play aspect this time. According to THQ, loading times for the game have been reduced by 50%, affecting such areas as wrestler entrances.
Like the previous games in the series, the soundtrack consists of a mixture of entrance theme songs used by the wrestlers (many of which are composed by WWE's music director Jim Johnston) and the following licensed songs.
|Bloodsimple||"Dead Man Walking"|
|Burn Halo||"Save Me"|
|Egypt Central||"Taking You Down"|
|"You Make Me Sick"|
|The Exies||"Lay Your Money Down"|
Also, some wrestlers' entrance theme songs can be played in the game's menus. You can also give any wrestler their own entrance music from any audio file saved on your console's hard drive, although this feature is restricted to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game, as the PlayStation 2 has no capability to save MP3s or other format sound files, and this is not the first game to include the feature on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as the previous game, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 was the first game for both systems to allow the feature.
P.O.D. contributed with two of their songs, "Addicted" and "Booyaka 619", featured in the game's soundtrack.
Prominent wrestlers of the series like The Undertaker, Edge, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kane, Matt Hardy, Randy Orton, John Cena, Batista and Rey Mysterio are included in the game. The game features new additions on the roster including Jesse, Festus, Kofi Kingston, Beth Phoenix, Layla, Maria Kanellis, The Miz, Santino Marella, Zack Ryder, and Brian Kendrick as well as the first appearance of John Hennigan as John Morrison (he appeared as Johnny Nitro in the previous games). This is also Curt Hawkins' only appearance as a playable superstar. This game also features the first appearance of Chris Jericho since the 2006 installment and Big Show since the 2007 installment. The game marks the last appearance of Elijah Burke, Charlie Haas, Hardcore Holly, Super Crazy, Snitsky, Victoria, The Boogeyman, Lance Cade, Trevor Murdoch, Paul London, Ashley, Jillian Hall, Candice Michelle and Big Daddy V (he has appeared as Viscera in the 2007 installment).
Evan Bourne, Ted DiBiase, Charlie Haas and Super Crazy appear in the game as downloadable content on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. It is the only WWE SmackDown game not to feature The Rock and is the second and last game not to feature Stone Cold Steve Austin, the first game being WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw. It is also the only WWE game where the Rock Bottom, People's Elbow, and Stone Cold Stunner are not referred to as such; they are instead called the People's Bottom, SmackDown Elbow, and Facelock Jawbreaker, respectively.
Marketing and release
Production of the game was officially announced on March 27, 2008 by IGN and THQ. IGN released their first video game trailer and screenshots for SmackDown vs. Raw 2009. The trailer featured The Hardys (Matt and Jeff) in a tag team match against Randy Orton and Mr. Kennedy at the SummerSlam pay-per-view and the new tag team match features were explained. A commercial for the game was released in October, starring Triple H along with John Cena, Batista, Big Show, Hornswoggle, Lilian Garcia and Kelly Kelly.
A demo for the game was released in October for the PlayStation 3 console, featuring the singles and tag team matches with Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Shawn Michaels and Triple H as playable characters.
As with the previous game, a special collector's edition of SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 for the PlayStation 3 was released, which includes the game, special steel cage packaging, and a Blu-ray Disc featuring matches from Raw and SmackDown shows as well as a behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the game. This release was exclusive to the North American region.
A similar collector's edition was released in European regions, which features a special plastic ring, which has the same dimensions as a Blu-ray case. It also has the same Blu-ray disc as the North American release included in this package.
In September 2008, the British wrestling and MMA magazine Fighting Spirit published a private memo sent by the WWE to the members of the gaming press that were covering the game's release. The memo instructed the press not to publish screenshots of any characters bleeding or using weapons. Specifically, the memo declared that no Triple H screenshots could be used that showed his character "in a defenseless or vulnerable position." In a blurb titled "Digital Politics," the magazine defied the WWE's demand and published a screenshot of Triple H being dominated by Kane. The magazine Power Slam later corroborated the memo.
On August 4, 2009, THQ re-released SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 as a part of PS3's Greatest Hits collection..
The game has received generally mixed to positive reviews from gaming critics. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 79.38% and 79 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 version; 78.28% and 79 out of 100 for the Wii version; 78.14% and 78 out of 100 for the PlayStation 3 version; 77.44% and 78 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version; 72.90% and 72 out of 100 for the PSP version; 60% for the Mobile version; and 56.76% and 58 out of 100 for the DS version.
Critics generally praised the Road to WrestleMania. IGN was, however, more critical of the game, calling the gameplay "noticeably stale" from previous games and citing the Highlight Reel and Create-A-Finisher modes as limited. GameSpot gave the console versions 7.5 out of 10, lauding the game's graphics and the large number of moves, match types, single player modes and improved AI. Some aspects of the game's presentation were criticized, particularly movement animations, clipping issues and weak sound effects. While the reception for the Nintendo DS version was varied between critics, both IGN and GamesMaster criticized its touch-screen control scheme, suggesting that button-based control would have been more ideal.