"SmackDown vs. Raw 2009" under review

"SmackDown vs. Raw 2009" under review

TAMPA, Fla. -- Gaming experts flocked to FCW Arena, where the SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 review event took place, to get a sneak peak at the latest installment of the No. 1 fighting game franchise in the world before it hits stores nationwide Sunday, Nov. 9. Critics spoke exclusively with WWE.com about SmackDown vs. Raw 2009.

"The graphics are so much better. The quality of the products that WWE and THQ put out get better and better each time and I think this version is no different," said Jim Varsallone, youth sports and professional wrestling editor for The Miami Herald. "It amazes me what THQ and WWE are able to do with this game. For fans who have [past installments], this is one that they'll want to get, because of all the new features."

Anthony Brawner, of PopCultureShock.com, added, "What THQ has done is listen to all the gripes. All the things that we wanted in the games are here. The customization is out of this world … You can tell how much dedication wrestlers have in their craft. That's the same kind of dedication that THQ and Yuke's have put into this game. Anyone who plays this game is going to love it. It's the single most important wrestling game since WrestleMania 2000."

WWE celebrates the 10th edition of the franchise with added new features. Now, players can utilize new modes such as Create-A-Finisher and in depth tag team action. These new features had critics raving at the review event.

"Growing up as a kid, I was always a huge fan of the tag teams. The fact that THQ has made the tag teams an intricate part of this year's game really takes it to another level," said Avi Burk, sports editor for IGN.com. "Being able to play it cooperatively and turn it into a bonding experience where friends from around the world can take on each other together impresses me."

"Create your own finishing maneuver, to me that's excellent! If you want to do a DDT and a Piledriver, you can do that," Varsallone said. "As a fan you want Superstars to do certain moves in their matches. Now, this is something that fans can do in the video games."

For Jose Sanchez, host of G4 TV's Electric Playground, it's the Highlight Reel element that he enjoys the most.

"It's amazing because when you watch WWE pay-per-view events, after a match WWE producers always have a highlight package created. How fast WWE works is insane. To be able to make your own Highlight Reel is something that I was like ‘Yes!' to. I want to do that with the Superstar that I created," Sanchez excitedly expressed.

During the holiday season, the competition in the video game market intensifies with entertainment companies releasing new editions to popular franchises. Critics agreed that SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 remained a step ahead of its challengers. 

"This year's game gives you non-stop action. I was extremely impressed with loading the game and how it got faster. Other video games take longer to load. What I like about this one is that you were able to get there quickly, but still not lose the presentation with the entrance music, the Superstar coming out and the pageantry," explained Varsallone.

"When you go pick up SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 you're getting hours and hours out of it. Thanks to the new aspects, it blows other games out [of] the water because you have months worth of gaming features to explore," recalled Burk.

In the new Inferno Match feature, gamers can drag their opponents over the top rope once the temperature hits 500 degrees. This match had experts at the review event elated. They were astounded with the fact that WWE stayed true to its target audience by maintaining a T-rating while enhancing the product.

"Video games are such an important part of pop culture that you don't want to take it too far. There are other matches that are more violent that they could've included, but it's not about that. It really comes down to the excitement of wrestling. Any hardcore wrestling fan will tell you that they prefer to see a beautiful wrestling match over a Superstar getting pushed off the top of a cage," Brawner explained.

WWE's SmackDown vs. Raw video game franchise has proven to be in the top of its class and if gaming experts are correct, the latest installment will exceed SmackDown vs. Raw 2008.

"If you're a wrestling fan and gaming fan, it's a no brainer you're going to want to go out and pick this game up. I'm already hounding my friends to go out and pick this game up so we can form tag teams and take over the world," said Burk.

SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 is available on XBox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, Nintendo Wii and DS and hits retail racks Nov. 9.

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