What Was The Best Smackdown Vs Raw WWE Video Game?
WWE has been the biggest wrestling promotion since the 1980s and naturally that was when the company ventured into the video game business, producing a few games but none of them had too much impact.
The gaming industry grew massively over the next two decades as consoles evolved and WWE teamed up with THQ to produce a series of video games about the latter, under the name SmackDown.
THQ’s partnership with WWE spanned many years
However, during this time, THQ also developed and released WWF No Mercy for the Nintendo 64 and the game went on to be considered one of the greatest wrestling video games of all time, with an enjoyable depth of play as well. than a highly fashionable customizable character creation game.
THQ then continued the SmackDown series and with the advent of Playstation 2 the franchise gained momentum and each successive game was considered better than the last. SmackDown Here Comes The Pain, released in 2003, was the pinnacle of the series until then.
The robust gameplay was complemented by a well-thought-out season mode, but despite critical praise, the game was still seen as a bit too unrealistic. After all, players could drop elbows flying from the tops of buildings, and the game lacked a system to account for fatigue as matches progressed.
Regardless, the franchise was on the right track and with the promotion of wrestling pushing the concept of brand warfare, THQ renamed the series, Here The Comes Pain being the latest entry under the SmackDown name.
Smackdown turns into Smackdown Vs Raw
THQ then adopted the name “SmackDown vs RAW” and the first entry was released in 2004, building on the foundation of the previous game and adding a host of new features to enhance the experience. The series would continue to operate for a number of years, producing a total of seven games, the latest being SmackDown vs RAW 2011, released in 2010.
With so many video games released under the banner, the debate among gamers lasted for years as to which installment was better. The response was unanimous for the previous series, with Here Comes The Pain declared as the crowning glory of the SmackDown series but the debate for the successor has raged for years and continues to this day.
Previous games focused on smooth, fast-paced gameplay while newer versions introduced Road to WrestleMania modes, but the overall presentation was slowed down in order to compensate for better graphics. According to video game reviews, the best game in the franchise was Smackdown vs RAW 2006 and it’s hard to argue with.
According to experts and fans, SmackDown vs Raw 2006 is the spiritual successor to WWF No Mercy on Nintendo 64. Gameplay is fast-paced and addicting, possessing the thrill of Here Comes The Pain but with the perfect blend of realism as there is a system to account for stamina, as well as a better method of calculating damage to a player as the match speeds up.
Additionally, the much-loved GM mode was first introduced, and gamers were tasked with booking the shows and the headaches that come with it, such as superstar fatigue, expensive contracts, and injuries.
Season mode was better booked than real wrestling
Finally, in addition to the smooth gameplay, the season mode produces a gripping storytelling throughout, with a number of gripping stories keeping players busy for an entire year of wrestling action.
Surprisingly, the in-game storylines are more engaging than the actual WWE programming on TV. The game even throws a nasty heel to John Cena in the “Uneasy Allies” saga. Heel John Cena in a WWE video game, folks! It’s the closest thing fans can get to a canon turn for Super Cena.
Overall, SmackDown vs Raw 2006 is the best entry in the series and the game is playing well even in 2021. The following installments weren’t to be joked about either, but never really got to capture the awesomeness of the 2006 version. Either way, the entire franchise has served wrestling fans well.
Of course, in the end, THQ went bankrupt and 2K games came into the fold and ended up polluting the genre for years to come.
Minimalist ‘WWF Betrayal’ has a crazy history involving kidnapping, beating up of referees and an anti-climate ending. A weird WWE game for sure.
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