WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009 (DS)

A Nintendo DS game review.

In place of a screen capture, I present to you, a toy suplexing another toy. Hey, it’s vaguely wrestling-ish.

In short, this game is highly NOT recommended. Here’s why, but first, the good bits.

I don’t have too much expectations for my DS, it’s a handheld after all. And so far most of the games I’ve played haven’t been especially graphically stunning in terms of polygons and stuff. So truth be told, I was fairly impressed with how WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009 (DS) looked. Sure, it’s not console level, but this isn’t a console, so yeah, graphically, it’s fairly impressive. There’s a wide array of moves and all sorta nice stuff animated, as well as a fairly customizable Create-A-Wrestler mode. Also, there’s a decent selection of match types.

That’s the good. Here’s the bad… which is also ugly as hell. The gameplay for this game stinks like a 3 day old zombie. It uses the stylus extensively. I’d say exclusively, but you also get to use the D-pad. There is no button control at all.

In theory, it offers an innovative gaming experience. If you’re a righty, it’d still be very similar to playing regularly. Your left hand would still be controlling the D-pad and holding the DS up, while your right would be stylin’ with the stylus.

In practice however, what you end up with is a highly unresponsive button masher. Because you have no idea whether the reason why your wrestler didn’t perform a grapple was because the circle you traced was off or the wrestler was just slow and unresponsive. Also, ‘weak’ type grapples are pretty much pointless, since more than likely, you’ll trace the double circle required for a ‘strong’ grapple rather than the single circle for the weak. Additionally, any action which requires you to rapidly tap your stylus on the DS doesn’t sit well with me, as I keep getting scared that such vigorous tapping might eventually damage the DS.

It’s a good thing that the game AI is so stupid, forgiving and unaggressive though, otherwise, you’d get curb stomped.

Thing is, control system aside, this game ain’t that much different than say, the original Playstation Smackdown game. Maybe a bit more sluggish, but I would have been fine with that. I would have been fine with a mindless button masher. I loved the original Smackdown games, and I play countless hours on them. Alongside the Monster Rancher games and Final Fantasy Tactics and maybe Azure Dreams, Smackdown was my main game. WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009 (DS) on the other hand… is not.

A potentially fun game mired by a poor choice of controls. This is a gamble that just didn’t pay off. Avoid.

0.7 out of 4.0

0.0 – 0.0 = I’d pay to get rid of it
0.1 – 0.5 = I’d give it away
0.6 – 1.0 = I wouldn’t take it for free
1.1 – 1.5 = Very Bad
1.6 – 2.0 = Bad
2.1 – 2.5 = Average
2.6 – 3.0 = Good
3.1 – 3.5 = Very Good
3.6 – 4.0 = Excellent

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