WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007
Sony PlayStation 2
"Don't just watch it! Live it!"
What I'd like to take a look at today is one of my favorite wrestling games of all time, WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2007. This isn't one of my favorite wrestling games because of foggy "nostalgia glasses" or fond childhood memories (Hell, I was already 26 when this game was released. Obviously a full grown man at that point). No, the reason why this is one of my favorite all-time wrestling games is simply that it's just that good.
WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2007 was developed by long-time WWE game developer Yukes and was published by THQ on November 14, 2006. This is one of the few WWE games I remember buying at launch. Usually, I'd play "last year's model" until the current game in the series dropped in price a bit. For whatever reason, I felt the need to pick this one up right away and I sure wasn't disappointed.
Anyone who has played any WWE games over the last decade or more pretty much knows what it feels like to play this game. There haven't been many huge changes over the years as far as gameplay goes but here, in this particular game, a few things still stand out.
This game utilized some moves that were dubbed "Ultimate Control Moves." These were certain slams or suplexes that allowed you to have more (perhaps, ultimate?) control over your opponent. I really liked these moves mostly because if you were having a No DQ -- pardon me, I'm old-school; allow me to use current terminology -- if you're competing in an "extreme rules match" and happen to have a table set up, which may or may not be on fire at the moment; the "Ultimate Control Moves" allowed you to control which direction you threw your opponent so it was easier to drive them through tables and other such "plunder".
This game also has a feature which allows you to throw your opponent over the ringside barricade and into the crowd to battle it out. Well, it's not quite into "the crowd". It's more like fighting in a sectioned off area that features a table, a few other weapons, and a high ledge to dive off of. Still, it's pretty cool.
This game also has one of the greatest all-around rosters of any WWE game, in my opinion. As far as superstars who were currently on the roster at the time, highlights include Kurt Angle, Edge, Rob Van Dam, Mick Foley, and Kid Kash.
Why did I throw Kid Kash into that highlights list, you may be asking? I admit, he's not the greatest wrestler of all time; far from it. He does happen to be from my hometown, though, and I saw him in the very beginnings of his career, wrestling at local shows in front of 100 or fewer people. He was actually good enough to go from wrestling at "Eastside Speedway" and the local volunteer fire department parking lot (two places I've legitimately seen him wrestle) to be featured in this game. That's pretty awesome in my book.
I digress. Highlights of the legends featured on the roster include Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Piper, Mr. Perfect, and Tazz. This game sports a very strong roster indeed.
What really made me really fall in love with this game was the GM mode which is something that I really wish they would bring back. I mean, they borrowed this idea from some Fire Pro Wrestling games that use the same concept but still, it's a great concept nonetheless. You get to play as the booker (or GM) and draft which wrestlers you want on your roster and then begin to run your own "brand" trying to be more popular than the other brand.
I spent countless hours deciding who was going to be in the next big feud and what angles to go with and which wrestlers should get interview time. I came to enjoy this "management mode" more than actually playing the matches themselves. Oftentimes, I would watch the AI control both sides of the opposition and just see what happened. You know, just like watching a match on television. I still have a habit of sometimes "watching" WWE games more than actually playing them, as strange as that may be. Even today, if you're watching me stream a WWE game on the official Mostly MMA channel on Mixer (I am known to stream some late night rasslin'), more than likely I'm having a "nightcap" and just watching the game play itself, the same as you are at that point. I enjoy being the booker and then watching the boys go to work.
I really enjoyed revisiting this one. I logged more hours into this one particular wrestling game than some people do into modern day RPGs. I never got tired of the GM mode and trying to book Mr. Perfect into a championship position or trying to book Kid Kash in such a way so he was much more relevant than he ever actually was in the WWE. Seriously, I used to try to shove him down the throats of my "digital audience" at the time, Roman Reigns style. I would suggest to anyone who's never tried this game to seriously give it a try. One of the best.
Until next time... keep mashing those buttons!