By Jen Hunt
Triple H and John Cena threw down today at the THQ press conference today in front of top gaming editors.
Well, kind of.
In reality, two developers were demonstrating the upcoming SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 video game, packed with new features.
The audience knew they were in for a show just by the entrances of the developers. The first came out in a John Cena shirt and did The Champ’s signature Marine salute. The next developer strode out intensely with a DX shirt while taking a swig of bottled water. Soon after, he stopped in the middle of the stage to do the Triple H flex. The two developers picked up their Nintendo Wii controllers and went at it — as Cena and the Cerebral Assassin of course.
The punches the men were throwing into mid-air on stage were mirrored by the Superstars on the big screen. The crowd burst into laughter as the developer and video game Triple H did the DX crotch chop in unison.
“I think this early demo of Wii game play is exactly what will give Wii fans more to sweat over, and WWE fans the kind of action they are looking for,” said G4’s Director of Games Editorial Tom Russo. SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 will be available on multiple platforms this fall, including Nintendo’s Wii and DS handheld; Sony’s PlayStation 3, PS2, and PSP handheld; Microsoft’s Xbox 360; and THQ Wireless.
There are four key features that set the new version of the game apart from its predecessors. The most significant is that each Superstar is now defined as having one of eight different fighting styles. Now, gamers can use strategy based on the strengths and weaknesses of each Superstar. It also brings into play their fighting style and the type of match they are going to compete in. The eight styles are hardcore, high-flyer, submission artist, powerhouse, brawler, showman, dirty and technical. Each Superstar’s strengths, exclusive moves, and use of weapons will be influenced by their fighting style. For instance, Randy Orton is a dirty Superstar, so he is able to do moves such as the Con-chair-to, and also use the referee as a shield.
The second feature deals with submission holds. In an attempt to give gamers much more control over the action, both apply the hold and try to break out of it. This is controlled by a pressure-based system using the analog controls. In other words, when a player is applying a submission hold, they can control whether they want to use a lot of energy to go for the submission, or to just hold it longer to wear out their opponent. Likewise, when you are in the hold, you can control when you want to power out of it between grips as your opponent is try to wrench it in.
Another feature shaking up game play is essentially the combining of Season Mode and GM Mode into WWE 24/7 Mode. This lets the user live the life of a WWE Superstar, with the goal to become a WWE Legend. You can start as a budding Superstar in the developmental system, and work your way up to the Hall of Fame. WWE 24/7 Mode will have faster load times than previous versions.
ECW fans will be excited to know that the final new feature added to SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 is equal presence by the Extreme brand. ECW has been completely integrated including Superstars, announcers, weapons and arenas.
The SmackDown vs. Raw gaming franchise has been the top wrestling/fighting video game for the last seven years, and looks to continue the streak.