Despite all this, Smackdown 2007 is the quintessential example of how to design a good in-the-same-room multiplayer game. See, unlike PES, there's not really a competitive edge - winning the match comes second to having a good, competitive bout. Like real-life WWE, there's a feeling that both combatants are colluding to provide the result - but at the same time conspiring to produce an utterly engrossing spectacle of gay exuberance and heart-stopping drama. Whether it'll have the same appeal online is up in the air, but with every mode up there (aside from the Elimination Chamber and the Royal Rumble, which we're told is a priority for SvR 08), there's so much to see and do that this'll easily last you until next year's edition, even if you only do everything just once.
Once more for emphasis: this is one feature-packed game. Are you going to remember that? Do we have to put an unpleasant image into your head so you don't forget? Okay then. This is a bigger package than The Big Show's 'lunchbox'. Urgh. Now, remember that, because we don't EVER want to print it again.
This is the best wrestling title on Xbox 360 by a particularly exhausting country mile, yet its reputation among grappling titles doesn't give it permission to start treading water. As a starting point on 360, Smackdown Vs Raw 2007 is certainly strong enough, but we're hoping that the series starts to undergo the same degree of metamorphosis during the 360's lifespan as it has in the time since the series' seminal PS2 debut, Just Bring It!
For now though, WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2007 is more than enough to be going on with. It's clearly not going to be for everyone, but this incarnation of Smackdown should be praised for refusing to bow to beat-'em-up conventions and just be another face in the crowd. This is a game made for wrestling fans by people that truly understand wrestling and its many intricacies, and no matter which aspects the fan prefers - pure, Hollywood entertainment, more exact mat-based science, stunt matches or hardcore brawling - Smackdown has the answers. And in the end, it just goes to show that when it comes to putting square pegs in round holes, there's no better place than Squared Circles.
A verdict by guest reviewer Umaga: "HURAGAGAGA!" And a translated verdict by us: it's flawed but brilliant.
- Far more accessible this year
- The first great WWE game on Xbox
- Slightly choppy, sometimes awkward