WWE SmackDown versus RAW 2007
Genre: Simulated Professional Wrestling
Developer: YUKE’s Future Media Creators
Console: Xbox 360
Release Year: 2006
Media Format: DVD (Xbox 360)
Number of Players: 2 to 4
Online Multi-Player: 2 to 4
Memory to Save: 2 MB
HDTV: 480p/ 720p/ 1080i
Headset Support: Yes (Xbox Live)
Audio: In-Game Dolby Digital
Voice Support: Yes
Rumble Support: Yes
Other Console Ports: PlayStation 2 (PS2), PlayStation Portable (PSP)
Instruction Manual: 30 Pages in Black & White
ESRB Rating: Rated “T” for TEEN (Contains Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence)
SERIES LEGACY: WWF SmackDown, WWF SmackDown 2: Know Your Role, WWF SmackDown: Just Bring It, WWE SmackDown: Shut Your Mouth, WWE SmackDown: Here Comes the Pain, WWE SmackDown vs. RAW, WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, WWE’12, WWE’13
So, you wanna be a hot-shot WWE SuperStar or Diva? You think you have what it takes? Well, you are about to find out the hard way! You are going to start out small, and work your way up the ladder of opponents, rivals and even so-called friends! Battle past established WWE Wrestlers to earn the chance at a Title-Shot! Team-up with other wrestlers to form a Tag-Match and plow through other rival groups! Go for the gold in the form of Championship Belts at any of the many different WWE Pay-Per-View Events!
WWE SmackDown versus RAW 2007 (SDvR’07) is the next installment in the very long-running WWE Wrestling Video Game Series. The storylines involve your character (either an existing WWE Male SuperStar or your own Created Male Character) fighting against other popular WWE SuperStars & Divas, in an effort to become the Number 1 WWE Champion. The storylines vary: you can start out on the RAW roster, play all the way through it, and then you can get traded over to the SmackDown Roster by the RAW General Manger, and vice versa (traded from SmackDown to RAW). This “trading” is part of the story, so it’s pretty much automatically triggered after you progress forward through the plot.
Expect to butt heads with the Undertaker, Chris Benoit, John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL), Carlito, the Big Show, Rey Mysterio, Triple H, Chris Master, Mickie James, Batista & Trish Stratus, Edge, Randy Orton and many other WWE SuperStars. Some of them will be your allies, while many others will simply seek to crush you. Time to lace up your boots & enter the ring!
Some of the plotlines are better than others in SDvR’07. For example, the one involving Chris Masters & Trish Stratus tends to stand out from the rest of them, for reasons which will become clear to you once you actually play through that part of the Season Mode.
The storylines are pretty much standard WWE fare, similar to what you find on the TV Shows. Since this is a video game, the plots can take some interesting, “unrealistic” twists, but this does not happen often.
During the course of the storyline in "Season Mode," you will be given the option (on your Cell Phone as a Message or during an Important Conversation) of selecting your own Match-Type, deciding which WWE Wrestler you want as your next Opponent; or perhaps you have to choose whether to trust or believe someone or not. Making any of these choices will change the structure of the story a bit; you may have one Specialty Match instead of another, or you might fight a totally different character altogether.
These choices are very few when they do show up, but they offer you a chance to playthrough the Season Mode more than once, just to see how many slightly different paths you can take, which is a good thing (similar to SDvR'06). However, your choices are not as profound as you may think, though; they mostly lead you to alternate paths, but the end results of the plot are almost always the same.
Also, there are discrepancies in the Season Mode plots, in which a Cruiser Weight character for some odd reason can compete for and to win a World Heavy Championship. Cruiser Weights clearly are not even in the same Weight-Class as a Heavy Weight, so it makes no sense for them to battle for a belt outside of their own Weight Division. Interesting to point out is that “discrepancies” like this are actually part of the main plots in the storyline of the Season Mode (most likely done unintentionally by the game developers), particularly when it comes to the separate tales involving Rey Mysterio & Trish Stratus.
There are some text errors in the messages your characters receives in the Season Mode. They are few, but some are noticeable, like spelling mistakes, omitted words, incorrect statements etc. Also, some of the voice-messages say one thing, but the corresponding text states something else, instead of exactly matching up with what is being said.
GRAPHIC & ANIMATIONS
SDvR’07 has awesome visuals and that’s no lie. It is certainly a noticeable improvement over those of the 2006 game.
SDvR’07 is the first official WWE Video Game on the Xbox 360, so this title takes good advantage of the processing power of Microsoft’s Machine. Expect to see great lighting & shadowing effects on and around each character, as well as at various spots around the arenas.
Create-A-Wrestler (CAW) Mode returns and is a visual improvement over that found in the 2006 game. There are more details added into the physical aspects of the CAW. After you make your Created SuperStar or Diva, they all look very impressive. For example, you can make them look very muscular or even make their skin glow or shine (almost like a “sweating” effect). This gives them an even larger-than-life presence in the ring when the lights reflect off their bodies.
Unfortunately, even more of the past problems which plagued the CAW Mode return in SDvR’07. One particular problem involves how clothing parts look like they are “painted” onto the bodies of their CAWs. This is true for things like necklaces, belts, straps & harnesses: they tend to look like they are painted onto the character’s bodies. They don’t look like they are correctly layered onto the body, and they also don’t “hang” off the body in a more realistic way.
There are many new Animations which have been added into SDvR’07 & most of them occur in the ring during a match. Basic grappling now has a new set of initial animations, many of which were not present in the last title. This is all welcome, as it adds more of a visual variety to the gameplay. The problem arises when you try to “read” these animations, so as to predict or counter grapple moves. You can do this for the most part, but sometimes no amount of being aware of which attack animation is coming at you will help you to counter the throw coming against you.
There is an option to turn on in-ring “Cut-Scenes,” so that you can see the entire scene shift, which lets you know that you or your enemy has just countered a grappling attack successfully. This cut-scene animation can actually help you to properly time your counters to your rival’s grappling attacks.
Also, when you perform & successfully connect with your Finishing Move, you will automatically witness 4 different camera angles of your attack connecting against your opponent (each scene shown one after another). These animations are very cool looking & very welcome additions to the visual presentation to SDvR’07. Overall, the new animations are very welcome since they alleviate the boredom of looking at the same grappling attack animations over & over again.
When comes to the visuals of the venues, some parts of some of the arenas can be too dark, however, which may be a reflection of how some of those real-life locations actually look. Well, it’s either that or it may be just a clever way for the developers of this game to hide any graphical short comings. On a more positive note, in darker corners of the arena, your characters show off the sweat, reflecting light off their bodies, which is all very realistic & a nice touch to the visuals of this game.
In general, arenas follow the various WWE TV Show or WWE Pay-Per-View (PPV) designs & themes. For example, the two flagship TV Shows, SmackDown & RAW, have their huge banners & logos draped all over the arena, at the ramp entrance & on the side of the ring. This is also true for arenas like “Backlash,” “No Mercy,” “Royal Rumble,” “Summer Slam,” “No Way Out” & the grandest stage of them all, “WrestleMania.” Each of them is similarly decorated & each of them has their own design which reflects the name of the PPV or the theme of the PPV.
Backstage is not off limits for brawling either. Beat the tar out of your rival at the Bar, or in the Parking Lot. The Bar is very colorful & one of the best looking non-traditional “arenas.” The Backstage Bar has WWE Memorabilia in forms of posters, statutes, pinball machines & dart boards, many of which are “interactive” (see the gameplay & content sections for more information).
In the Parking Lot arena, it’s a lot darker, as the lighting here is much more subdued. The odd thing is that there are actually a couple of flood lights present here, but they don’t seem to illuminate the Parking Lot they way you would expect them to. Maybe it’s the developers once again trying to us the dark shading effects to hide any graphic short-comings. Or maybe the shadow effects are meant to give the player a more sinister feeling concerning the Parking Lot. Still, there are nicely detailed vehicles parked there, all of which look realistic enough.
Crowds look okay from a distance until you examine them up close; then you start to see the lack of detail in the models of the people. It does not turn you off completely from SDvR’07, to be honest. People in the crowds do hold up your signs (which you can customize specifically for your CAW in the Create Mode); they point, make gestures, cheer, shout or boo as your CAW & other WWE Wrestlers enter into the arena. Overall, despite the repeating animations, crowds in SDvR’07 look slightly better than they did in previous entries in this series.
The usual “Collision Detection” or “Clipping” Issues round out the main graphically problems that SDvR’07 has; these occur when two solid objects pass through each other instead of “clashing” or “colliding” or pressing against each other, like they normally would so in real life. This can happen with the body parts of wrestlers clipping through each other, or a wrestler’s body parts passing through the ring ropes. One of the most noticeable visual clipping problems emerges in the CAW Mode, as you are making or editing your character. Sometimes, your character’s hair will pass through head accessories like hats, helmets & head bands. This can make them look odd & even ugly on your CAW. Clipping of this nature can also occur around other parts of your CAWs body like around their waist, when you try to put a belt on them.
When you or your opponent counters a Strike or a Grapple, a new of set animations is present. Typically, the person who counters will: punch, kick, duck, dodge, eye-poke or eye rake their opponent and will be able to have enough time to get into a better position to retaliate. Many of these moves are new to the series and weren’t in the last game.
For the most part, the animations & visuals are very well done in SDvR’07. The problems arise when developers try to strike a balance between how good new Striking & Grappling Animations look versus how practical they are. Many of the new animations look smooth & have smooth transitions, but their movements do not always seem to translate very well into actual gameplay, especially during a very heated, fast-paced match, in which countering strikes & grabs is essential to winning. Good as some of the new animations look they can actually throw your timing for your strikes, grapples, dashes & counters.
AUDIO & MUSIC
The music is the one aspect of the WWE Wresting Video Games which changes very little. In other words, the typical selection rock & rap tunes fill in the soundtrack of SDvR’07. Groups & singers like “3 Days Grace,” “Non-Point,” & “Ghostface Killah” are among the artists who lead their vocal talents to music you hear during the course of navigating menus & playing through t the rest of the game. The rest of the tunes are the Entrance Songs for each WWE Wrestler.
Of course, after hearing the typical rap & rock selection for a few times, you will most likely tire of listening to them, and you can thankfully turn off the music in the options menu if you so choose.
The music isn’t bad; there are some great tracks which stand out from the rest. It’s just that there really isn’t that much in the way of genre variety when it comes to the music in SDvR’07.
The biggest audio problems come with the speaking lines of the ring announcer & the ring-side commentators. There are audio bugs & glitches in which the person introducing your very own Created Wrestler, for some odd reason, gets their name, and or, their hometown, completely wrong. Even after you enter your character’s name & hometown correctly in the CAW Mode, the ring-announcer sometimes says utter nonsense during your CAWs intro-sequence.
Other times, turning “ON” the “Interference” Option (which allows members of your Tag Team Stable interfere in your match in your favor) also triggers an audio glitch, in which the ring announcer makes mistakes about your name or hometown. Interesting to note is that this mainly occurs with your CAWs, and not with any existing WWE SuperStars & Divas.
The audio also has even more problems when it comes to the Ring-Side Commentary, which is done by JR & King for the “RAW” Show and Michael Cole & Tazz for “SmackDown” Show. If you have a Diva or a Female CAW as your wrestler, the commentators cannot seem to correctly acknowledge that. The Show Commentators will keep on referring to your female CAW as a “he” or a “him,” using words like “his” or even “that man.” It is an old sound glitch problem carried over from SDvR’06 & sadly it still has not been fixed in this version of the game. There are only a few exceptions when the Show Commentators correctly identify a very specific established WWE Diva, but that is only typically during the course of a match (like talking about a Diva’s Photo-Shoot for a Magazine). If your Female CAW or even a WWE Diva wins a match, the Show Commentators never seem to refer to her as a, well, “her.” This problem is inexcusable at this point.
On a more positive note about the audio, the Show Commentators can be funny at times. Their very differing opinions about the wrestlers in the ring & their back-and-forth banter about each other is often well-paced & well-timed and of course very witty, all of which are big pluses.
The various body slams & suplexes sound fine, but the punch, kick, elbow, slap & knee attacks sound a bit dull. The punches especially don’t have an exciting “impact” when they connect. It may have been an effort by the developers to try and go for a bit more “realism,” but the end result of tuning down the sound effect, led to a less exciting sound wrestling game. It’s not a deal-breaker, to be honest, but the lack-luster sound effects do take away a bit from the on-screen wrestling action.
The biggest changes in SDvR’07 have to be those made to the gameplay. The old grappling system from SDvR’06 is pretty much gone and has been replaced with a new one.
LEFT ANALOG STICK: Move your Wrestler around.
RIGHT ANALOG STICK: Quick Grapple Attacks (Press UP/DOWN/LEFT/RIGHT)
Press DOWN on the RIGHT ANALOG STICK when Opponent is on the mat: 3 Count Pin Fall
X-Button: Strike Attacks
Y-Button: Run (Press Y again to stop running)
A-Button: Enter or Exit the Ring/ Pick up or drop objects/ Remove Turnbuckle Cover/ Storyline Interactions
B-Button: Regain your Stamina/Cancel certain Submission Grapples/Cancel UCM/Cancel EHS Attacks (See Below)
RIGHT TRIGGER: Counter Grapple Attacks
LEFT TRIGGER: Counter Physical Strikes
Press & Hold RIGHT BUMPER and Press the RIGHT ANALOG STICK: Initiate Strong Grapple
Tap RIGHT BUMPER and A-Button: Irish Whip
Press & Hold down RIGHT BUMPER and A-Button: Strong Irish Whip
Press LEFT BUMPER & LEFT TRIGGER: Store a FINISHING Move Icon
LEFT BUMPER: Perform a FINISHING Move
LEFT TRIGGER & RIGHT TRIGGER: Counter Your Opponent’s FINISHING Move
DIRECTIONAL PAD: Taunt your foe
Press RIGHT BUMPER and DIRECTIONAL PAD: Call in your Tag Team Partner or a Member of your Tag Team Stable to interfere in your match in your favor
After a STRONG GRAPPLE, Press in the RIGHT ANALOG STICK: Activate your “ULTIMATE CONTROL MOVE”
Press BACK Button: Change your targeting Icon from one Character to another
START Button: Bring up the Game Menus
The Momentum Meters & the Damage Meters both return in SDvR’07 and both of them are integral to the gameplay in this title.
Perform a variety of Wrestling Moves or taunts to build up your Momentum Meter. Once it’s full, you get to perform a Finishing Move, which does a lot of damage to your foe.
You can press both the Left Bumper & Left Trigger to store a Finishing Move Icon, which you can use later on as a weaker Finishing Move. You can also use the Stored Finishing Move Icon to steal your enemy’s taunts or steal their own Finishing Moves (the latter requires 1 store Finishing Icon & a Full Momentum Meter).
Target your opponent’s head, arms, body or legs with a variety of Wrestling Moves. Each attack will progressively turn your foe’s body parts from yellow, to orange to red, with red indicating that the most damage has been to their limbs. When your rivals limbs have been damaged sufficiently, you can pin them with a 3-count or force them to submit.
Back in SDvR’06, the Male WWE SuperStars could lock-up against each other in a series of “Test of Strength” Mini-Games. Basically, at the beginning of each Singles Match, two Male WWE SuperStars can lock their fingers & palms together to try & physically force down their opponent; or they could lock their arms over each others shoulders & try to push their foe backwards & down to the mat; or they could stare each other down face-to-face & the first wrestler who is fast enough can throw a powerful punch to knock down their enemy. These were all Button-Pressing Mini-Games in SDvR’06 which required the player to be quick & precise in activating the correct buttons when prompted to do so by an on-screen message or a “struggling meter.” The advantage was that the winner of these mini-games would do quick & early damage to their rival, as well as get an opportunity to apply ground-based strike or grapple moves on their now fallen foes. These 3 Pre-Singles Match Mini-Games are no longer present in SDvR’07, which isn’t a deal-breaker, but they were a fun & welcome addition to SDvR’06.
The emphasis in SDvR’07 is a switch to using the Right Analog Stick together with the Right Bumper to perform Strong Grapples. Using the Right Analog Stick by itself executes fast-paced “Quick Grapples.”
Quick Grapples are moves that involve fast-paced knock-downs, quick trip-up moves or fast punches, and they are basically designed to get your opponent into a vulnerable position quickly, or to drop them to the ring mat as fast as possible.
After you initiate a Strong Grapple, you have the option to continue with a follow-up grapple, depending on the Grappling Style your Wrestler has. You follow-up your initial Strong Grapple by pressing the Right Analog Stick UP, DOWN, LEFT or RIGHT. Then, the next set of animations that follow will finalize the Strong Grapple Attack.
For some odd reason, smaller Wrestlers of a lighter weight category, can use Quick Grapples to throw, slam, and in some instances, pick-up Heavy Weight Wrestlers. This is not realistic, seeing how Quick Grapples pretty much enable Lighter Cruiser Weight brawlers to toss around the much Bigger & Heavier Brawlers.
This is of note because the same Light-Weight Wrestlers can NOT pick up, lift up, slam or throw Heavy Weight Wrestlers using their Strong Grapples. The discrepancy here basically implies that Quick Grapples & more powerful than Strong Grapples, when in fact they simply are not.
If you like the more traditional Grapple Mechanic from SDvR’06, then you’re out of luck in this game. In 2007, you will have to get used to the Right Analog & the Right Bumper to perform Strong Grapples. That will take time to get used to & there is an increased possibility of making a mistake because of the odd positions of the button & stick are in relationship to each other. These errors can lead to missed moves and can leave you open to counter attacks from your opponent. In other words, the new Grapple System isn’t as smooth as the old one.
In addition, there are other layers of Grappling Techniques added to SDvR’07. They are called “ULTIMATE CONTROL MOVES” (UCM). Basically after you initiate a Strong Grapple, you press in the RIGHT ANALOG Stick to activate a set of Ultimate Control Moves. These are essentially Grapple Attacks which can only be controlled using the Right Analog Stick.
UCM can make your character look really powerful as they hoist their rivals high over their heads before slamming them down to the mat. Using UCM, you can walk around the ring with your opponent locked in your grapple. This depends on your characters Weight-Class, so the bigger & heavier your character, the more likely they are to have access to the most powerful-looking UCM Analog Grapples. Light Weight characters have their own set of UCM Grapples, which typically involve dragging their standing foe around the ring by their head, before the follow-through with the next grapple attack.
UCM are an effort by the game’s developers to make the grapple moves a bit more accessible to casual gamers. UCM simplifies how almost anyone can perform Powerful Grab Attacks during the course of a match, which is a good thing, to be honest. It does not hurt to add innovations that invite more gamers to enjoy playing this title.
The biggest problem is that Yukes (the game devs) decided to remove several other Grappling Moves that existed in SDvR’06, in order to add in the UCM Grapple Attacks in SDvR’07. Many of the Grapple Moves removed from the old games were very fun & practical attacks to use, but alas they are completely gone in this title.
In SDvR’06, you had 5 Front Grappling Options: the Grapple Button by itself, or any of the 4 Directions on the Control Pad/Left Analog Stick plus the Grapple Button. Now in SDvR’07, your Strong Grapples are initiated with the Right Bumper & the Right Analog Stick: in this case you only have 4 Grappling Options in one of each direction. The UCMs can be considered as a 5th grappling option, though they work a bit differently from the normal Strong Grapples.
In SDvR’06, you had a whooping 10 set of Back Grappling Options: 5 for when your opponent is in their normal state & 5 for when your opponent is in a dazed state. In SDvR’07, you have just 4 Back Grapple Options. If you add in Running Grapples at the front & back of your standing opponent, SDvR’06 still has waaay more Grappling Attacks than SDvR’07.
Also new to SDvR’07 are so-called “ENVIRONMENTAL HOTSPOTS (EHS).” These are areas or zones inside & outside the ring, which you can grapple & drag your foe towards. Once you are close enough to these EHS, a new set of attack animations are triggered. Now, with your opponent at your mercy you can attack a specific part of their body to wear them down. This could involve using the Ring Ropes to give them a very painful ride between their legs, or it could involve you mounting your enemy at the turnbuckle & punching them for a 10 count series of strikes. Other EHS can have you choking your rival using your foot on the back of their neck, while their neck is being pressed down against the bottom ring rope. Outside the ring, EHS include banging your foe’s arm or leg against the metal turnbuckle, or slamming their head down against the steel steps.
You can also Irish Whip your opponent into certain EHS and then perform a Quick or Strong Grapple on them. You typically get different grappling animations like slamming your target into the EHS object. Other times, you can actually perform an EHS Finisher on your adversary, provided that you have both a Stored Finisher Icon together with a Full Momentum Bar. These types of EHS areas can be found in other parts of the arena around the ring or backstage like in the Bar or Parking Lot.
The obvious benefits of making use of EHS to your advantage including have a very visually dramatic way of beating down your opponent, but also causing severe damage to one or more of their body parts, making it easier for you to eventually defeat them by a pin-fall or submission.
Now, there are some EHS attack animations which can be countered by the victim, while there are other ones which cannot be stopped once they are begun. For example, the lower ring-rope-choke EHS attack cannot be countered, while the 10-Punch in the corner turnbuckle EHS attack actually can be countered.
The problem with EHS gameplay is that you can accidentally trigger an EHS animation, if you drag your foe too close to the ring ropes, turnbuckle, or the steel steps. This then forces you to perform an EHS attack, even if you don’t want to; that, and the fact that your own EHS move, maybe able to be countered. Thankfully, you can instantly end & exit all EHS Attack Animations by just pressing the B-Button.
If you explore the arena around the ring, you can actually climb over the side barricade & enter into the crowd area to continue your fight in there! There are a lot of objects you can pick up and use as weapons against your foe. These include crutches, garbage cans, tables, chairs & even a fire extinguisher! You can also find a few more EHS to put some major hurting onto your opponent, like choking them with an electrical cord or smashing their head into a guard-rail in the crowd area.
There are also other cool opportunities you get to perform some really High-Flying, High-Diving maneuvers against your rival, regardless of your weight class. These include jumping off a very tall construction scaffolding or placing your foe on the announcers table & basically dive-bombing them from the top of the turnbuckle to the outside of the ring before landing on them & breaking through the table!
In SDvR’07, if you make your CAW a Heavy-Weight, you no longer have access to certain High-Flying Moves which are found in the Martial Arts, Luchadores & Technical Wrestling Styles. In other words, if you make your CAW well-over 200 pounds in weight, don’t expect to make use of the Wrestling Styles, which employ High-Flying jumps, dives & kicks. This is an unfortunate limitation that was not present in SDvR’06. Back in that game, you could make your CAWs tall, muscular, large & heavy and still be able to assign them most, if not, all of the Martial Arts, Technical & Luchadore Wrestling styles, without any restrictions.
In SDvR’07, any Lower Weight-Class CAWs of your making are able to use the Martial Arts, Technical, and Luchadore Wrestling Styles. In a way, this makes sense because that means that the Cruiser-Weight CAWs are small enough to defy gravity to perform their spectacular moves. Still, if you were ever used to having your Heavy-Weight CAWs perform any & all Wrestling Moves in the game, kiss all of that goodbye, because it is no longer possible to do in SDvR’07.
Countering Strikes and Grapples works the same way it did in previous SDvR video games. Just before your foe executes a Strike or Grapple, quickly pull the Left Trigger to counter Strikes or pull the Right Trigger to counter Grabs. This action is actually a bit tricky & it requires very good timing. You can’t just spam a button & hope for a counter to miraculously happen in your favor. Countering requires you to anticipate the next attack your enemy will throw at you; it also requires you to “read” your rival’s attack animation, after which you then press the correct trigger to counter their move.
Unfortunately, countering can almost be attributed to luck, as much as it can be attributed to your personal skill or timing. There are times when you try to counter but it just does not work, no matter how careful you are in executing it. There are other times when you think you mistimed or missed performing your counter but you end up nailing it & countering an attack perfectly.
After you initially start-up SDvR’07, you are presented with an option to watch Tutorial Videos. After that, you are presented with a few screens with a several modes for you to pick from.
GAME MODES (Contains SEASON Mode, GENERAL MANAGER Mode & PAY-PER-VIEW Mode)
Once you pick any of the Modes, you are then presented with even more Sub-Menus & Sub-Modes to pick from.
For example, under EXHIBITION Mode, you then have more Modes & Match Types to select from:
If you are still wondering where specific match types are located, check under “MAIN EVENTS.” In that Mode, you will find:
Buried Alive Match
Last Man Standing
TLC (Tables, Ladders & Chairs)
Money in the Bank (Newest Match-Type to SDvR’07)
Naturally, the more of SDvR’07 that you play, the more Wrestlers, Moves, Trophies, Belts, Decorative Items & Arenas you unlock. Successfully playing through Season Mode, General Manager Mode & Challenge Mode also gains you new Items, Money & Attribute Points for your Wrestlers (CAWs or WWE Stars). Typically, many of the things you unlock can be purchased from the WWE Shop (via the Computer in your Locker Room) & they can either be used during active gameplay (Unlocked Wrestlers & Moves) or other items can used to decorate your Locker Room.
Your Locker Room is like your Mini-Hub; in this area, you can play the Challenge Mode, read your Cell Phone Text Messages, check out WWE Magazine Articles and listen to Voice Messages sent to your Phone. Don’t forget to use the Tools & Options to customize your Locker Room to make it look just the way you want it, by changing the color of the walls & floor, putting up posters on the walls, figurines on the tables, and furniture in various places.
Almost every mode & match type from SDvR’06 returns to this 2007 edition. There are some missing match-types; particularly of note is “The 3 Stages of Hell” which was last seen in SDvR’06. This was an interesting match-type in which you could pick 3 different or 3 of the same match-types and play them back to back, very similar to what you would do during a “Pay-Per-View” (PPV) Mode, but only shorter. It’s unfortunate that 3 Stages of Hell has been removed from SDvR’07, as it was a fun mode to play.
Also of note is that the selection of “BackStage Brawl” Arenas has shrunk from the 3 that existed in SDvR’06, down to only 2 in SDvR’07. The upside to this scenario is that the 2 backstage areas (the Bar & the Parking Lot) have a lot of new & original EHS for you to play around with, which are cool to discover & use on your enemy.
“Money in the Bank” is the newest match-type which actually exists in WWE shows & PPVs. It’s basically a ladder match in which wrestlers fight to climb up onto the top of a ladder before they struggle to untie, unhook, pull down or untangle a briefcase. You get that case down & you win the match.
On the WWE shows & PPV, the briefcase actually contains something valuable in it, like a unique WWE wrestling contract for whoever gets it, or it contains a unique stipulation which allows a WWE SuperStar the ability to at challenge any current male WWE Champion for their Championship Belt in a match. This particular process is called “Cashing it in,” or “Cashing in the case,” or something along those lines. This particular process just described does not happen in SDvR’07 ever; not in the Season (story) Mode, the General Manger Mode, the PPV Mode or any other mode at all. There is NO story or scenario in SDvR’07 in which you will ever fight for the coveted Money-in-the-Bank briefcase, so as to obtain a wrestling contract or a stipulation which allows you to challenge a WWE Champion for their belt; basically, a missed opportunity.
The Money-in-the-Bank match-type in this game is basically a variation of a Ladder Match, in which you also have to fight your way up to the top of the ladder to take down a hanging belt, before you can claim victory.
A serious bug/glitch plagues the Ladder & Money-in-the-Bank Matches, by the way. If one wrestler climbs all the way to the top of the ladder & tries to get the belt or briefcase, another wrestler on the ground who has both a Stored Finisher Icon & a Full Momentum Meter, can MATERIALIZE onto the top of the ladder & automatically grapple and slam the wrestler who is at the very top! This programming error looks ridiculous & very unrealistic, not to mention that it is very frustrating to deal with the CPU-AI when it keeps on materializing atop the ladder only to auto-slam you to the bottom!
Under “CREATE MODES” you get all of the digital tools you will need to make your very own character. They are called “Created Wrestler,” or “Created SuperStars,” though they are mostly known online by fans as Create-A-Wrestler (CAW).
You can make your own original male or female CAW. You can alter their height, weight & give them a more or less muscular look if you so choose. You can also change their facial structure, eyes, ears, hair, clothes, elbow pads, knee pads, and boots and so on. Editing options also allows you change colors of just about everything and to add patterns or designs to them. You can also use the editing options to add or remove layers of clothing & accessories. So basically, you can dress your CAW in clothes you want them to have for their entrance video and have a slightly different set of clothes (added to or taken away from your CAW) for fighting during the actual match.
If you are a fan of SDvR’06, you will notice that there are some articles of clothing missing from the CAW Mode. This means that if you created a wrestler in the last game using those particular parts, you have to find another way to make them in SDvR’07 because those items are no longer in this game. It’s a shame because this limits the parts & tools you need to make exactly the character you want.
For some reason, limitations are still placed onto the female WWE Divas & Female CAWs. You cannot use them in many match types like a Ladders Match, TLC Match, Hardcore Match, BackStage Brawl, Last Man Standing, etc. This is most likely because WWE has a new PG era policy which does not permit certain types of violence against women depicted in their products like their video games. Still, SDvR’07 is a fictional video game which is already rated “T” for “TEEN.” Games like this can still bend some of the WWE rules for the sake of making the gameplay more interesting for the fans by allowing WWE Divas & your Female CAWs the ability to participate in many more match-types. But, like in SDvR’06 & quite frankly most WWE video games, divas & female CAWs are all severely limited to just a few modes & match types in the 2007 Edition, which is a shame really.
And speaking of modes, SDvR’07 still does NOT allow any WWE Divas or Female CAWs to be used in the Season Mode of this game. You can’t give your Female CAW any voice-overs because they can never be used to play through the storyline, which has characters talking in it.
Basically, the Season Mode is the “Story Mode,” which tells a series of tales in chapters, about how the character you picked is making friends, enemies, rivals & challengers from the WWE Roster on both the SmackDown & RAW shows. The stories are all told through a series of Cut-Scenes in the ring & backstage, Voice & Text Messages on your Cell Phone, Audio Commentary during certain Matches and Online Web Articles on your Computer. These are realistic & interesting ways of communicating the on-going storyline to the player, which are more or less continued from what existed in the Season Mode of SDvR’06.
The best improvement in the Create Modes has to be the “CREATE-AN-ENTRANCE” Mode. It has been streamlined & simplified considerably in SDvR’07: you can now pick your CAW’s entrance animation, their theme music, fireworks & camera angles, all without entering, exiting or switching any menus. Basically, you stay on just one screen & whatever changes you make to your CAW’s entrance video will all show up on that same screen. This makes the creation process much faster & much less frustrating than it ever was in SDvR’06. Create-An-Entrance has to be the best improvement in this game over the last one. Aside from a few seconds of loading time during the “fade-to-black” transition screens, this mode is well worth you time.
The only real downside to the Create-An-Entrance is a glitch which will not allow you to make use of certain wrestler’s animations. If you try to pick certain character animations (like, for example, the Body Builder animation for the in-ring portion of your entrance video), a completely different & unrelated character animation will play instead, with no real way of correcting this error. You basically have to pick another animation to replace the glitchy one. This is really a shame because it once again limits what you can do with your CAW. Also, this is a programming error that should have been discovered during play-testing but was missed somehow.
“CREATE-A-MOVE-SET” is the mode you go to if you in order to assign Wrestling Moves to your CAW to fight with in the ring (or outside of it for that matter). This mode resembles the Create-A-Move-Set Mode from SDvR’06, except for one major problem: a lot missing animations & moves. That’s right: in SDvR’07, many of the attacks from the last game have been intentionally removed.
For example, you can no longer select your character’s walking or running animations. Cruiser-Weights (both established & your CAWs) ALL automatically get one walking animation while Heavy-Weights (both established & your CAWs) also all automatically get assigned another different, generic walking animation style. You have no choice in the matter any more: just these two options.
Also, there are several grapple & strike attacks which were present in the previous title, but which are no longer in this game. This sadly includes some of the “FINISHER” attacks. Once again, missing moves like these, unfortunately, limits the attacks you can assign for your CAWs, and is a major drawback for this title. Now, if you never played any WWE Wrestling Games before, you probably won’t be disappointed by the omitted attack animations. But, any fan of this series will notice something is amiss in mode.
To be fair, there are some brand new Wrestling Moves in SDvR’07 that were not in SDvR’06, which is always a big plus. Again, fans of the series will notice the additions & they will appreciate the new attack animations.
“Create-A-Stable” involves you putting any of the characters in the game (WWE Males SuperStars, Divas, Male & Female CAWs) into a Tag Team or Tag Alliance. This means that when you turn the Interference Option “ON,” members of your Stable will run out from the locker-room to assist you during the course of a match. You can select up to 5 members to add to any Stable you want. You can also name the stable, give them a Tag Team or Tag Trio Video Entrance, Entrance Music as well as increase the “Attribute Points” of your Stable, which will make it’s Members to fight much better together in the ring. You can also create several different stables, or if you don’t like a stable anymore, you can disband them as well.
“Create-A-Belt” has you making your very own original championship belt. You can design it with different materials; add jewelry to it; put center & side-piece items to it and even name your belt whatever you want. You can select from specific materials for your design including plastic, leather, bronze, silver, gold or platinum. You can create an original Singles or a Tag Team Championship Belt & compete for them both on or offline. You even get a couple of short cut-scenes of the referee holding up your original created belt right before you fight in the bout to defend or obtain the belt.
By the way, you can contest for either established WWE Championship Belts or for your very own original Created Championship Belt, only in the “TITLE MATCH” Mode. Winning matches in which your own belt is contested over greatly increases the overall prestige of that belt, be it a Singles or a Tag Team belt. Also, the more expensive the materials you use to make your own original championship belt, the more valuable it is in terms of price, just in case you want to sell it off and get money for it.
Problems arise in the Create-A-Belt when you assign your original Created Belt to your CAW and then have them walk into an arena in their entrance video (in Title Match Mode only). For some reason, your Created Belt will show up on your CAW, only in some of the entrance animation segments, but not in any of the other ones. For example, your belt might be visible around the waist of your CAW while they are walk into the arena on the entrance stage. However, due to another major programming glitch, that same championship belt of yours is not always physically present on your CAW when they walk down the ramp, or as they enter into the ring, or when they are inside of the ring. Your created belt will only show up for some of the entrance animations & not in any of the other entrance segments which is another strike against this title. This is only true in some video entrances made specifically for your CAWs & not in all of them.
General Manger Mode (GM Mode), which is found under the GAME MODES Menu, allows you to play through an entire calendar year as the GM of either the RAW Show or the SmackDown Brand. In this case, you pick an entire roster of WWE SuperStars, Divas and you can also include your original Male & Female CAWs. As the GM in this mode, you can set up Match-Types, Main Event Matches, as well as building up hype & excitement for upcoming PPV events. As the GM, you have to keep your SuperStars happy or they will complain & leave your show. Make sure they are well-rested after & between major matches they have, and don’t forget to negotiate a pay-raise with them whenever they ask for it, or they might leave your show & go to the rival brand. If your wrestlers lose too many matches, they also get upset & you will be required to intervene to help them win so that they stay on.
You are given more options in GM Mode of SDvR’07. Now, you can use the specific GM Options to decide who earns the right to challenge the champion for a title-shot. You can also turn on or turn off options which affect the fatigue meter, injury level & the morale of the wrestlers on your roster. This can be very useful if you want to go very quickly through the entire GM Mode.
To top it off, once you complete GM Mode, you are now treated to a new Cut-Scene, unique only to the GM Mode, which shows you what happens to the GM who has the better show and to the GM who has the worse show. It’s not a long cut-scene, but it is funny & worth watching after one calendar year of the GM Mode is concluded. Aside from this, there are no other real cut-scenes in GM Mode, other than just basic news reels which summarize which show had the better matches during the week, or how well or how poorly any given PPV event was rated.
And speaking of PPV, the Mode where you can Create & Name your very own original Pay-Per-View Show (located under the GAME MODES Menu) makes a return in SDvR'07. You can pick the Show Commentators you want, the number of Matches you want, the Types of Matches you desire, the Arenas you desire & so on. You can also use your personal CAWs or established WWE SuperStars or Divas in this Mode. All that, plus you can return and edit your own PPV if you feel like making any changes to your show. Remember that you can create & edit more than one PPV Show, so enjoy!
Under OPTIONS, you can change the Match Rules, turn Entrance Videos on or off, alter sound settings, turn Auto-Save on or off, etc. You can also alter how the A.I Opponents or your Tag Team Partners fight in match, by using the sliders to dial in the A.I’s response which will make them more or less aggressive. Basically, just about any conceivable option that affects the gameplay can be tweaked in this mode.
SUMMARY & CONCLUSION
Something not mentioned before in this review is that in addition to picking from a list of WWE SuperStars, Divas & your very own CAWs, you can also pick from a list of “WWE Legends” who are basically Old School or Retro Wrestlers who were pioneers that paved the way for others to follow. This includes Dusty Rhodes, Tazz, Dude Love, Jerry “The King” Lawler, “Bam Bam” Bigelow, and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart among many others. Fans of WWE Legends will definitely enjoy playing with these classic wrestlers available in SDvR’07.
However, the biggest drawbacks in SDvR’07 have to be the programming bugs, glitches & errors, as well as the many missing wrestling moves, which you can’t assign to your CAW.
There are too many noticeable audio glitches that hurt the game from the vocal entrance introduction, to the flawed in ring-side commentary, to the incorrect descriptions of the identities of the wrestlers in the ring. In some specialty matches (like Special Referee Matches), even some of the male wrestlers are incorrectly mentioned or identified by the flawed audio commentary track in this game. Sometimes wrestlers who aren’t even in the ring are named & talked about as two completely different wrestlers are slugging out with each other.
The limitations placed on the WWE Divas & your Female CAWs continues in SDvR’07. They still cannot be played in an extensive or appreciable way in the Season Mode or in many of the other more hardcore or exciting Specialty Match types, be them in the ring, in other parts of the arena, or backstage (where they ladies can never fight at all).
Other gameplay limitations occur when you increase the weight of your CAW; they then can no longer perform certain high-flying, high-diving or stylish moves. Back in SDvR’06, making your character heavier did not lock them out of any Wrestling Moves Category. In SDvR’07, it does. So essentially, your Heavy-Weight CAW will not be able to gain any access to any of the unique Martial Arts, Technical or Luchadore Move-Sets, even if some of their listed attacks don’t really require gravity defying athletics, but just happen to be part of those categories.
Your CAW has less diverse set of clothing items & accessories to pick from in the CAW Mode, since some of the older material was intentionally omitted from this game for whatever reason.
There are also too many interesting & useful wrestling attacks that have been deliberately removed from SDvR’07, which in turn puts limits on the number of moves you can assign to your CAW.
The UCMs are a very welcome addition to SDvR’07, since they actually do add another layer of gameplay to this series. They are simple and fun to play around with & they don’t hurt the game’s balance or pace.
The EHS are also an interesting addition to spice up the gameplay. A certain level of realism can be seen when your wrestler drags their foe to an EHS and basically beats the living tar out of them to wear them down.
It may have been better to make both the UCMs & EHS as optional moves you can somehow activate with your momentum meters. This way, you don’t accidentally drag your rival towards an EHS in or out of the ring, before you then get forced into triggering a set of attack animations which you may not have wanted to do.
Create-An-Entrance is probably the best feature in SDvR’07 primarily because of how simple and stream-lined it is to use, without any of the excessive & time-consuming menu swapping you were forced to do in SDvR’06.
It is a shame that Yukes & THQ did not make use of the Downloadable Content (DLC) features of the Xbox 360, to release Updated Digital Patches in order to fix the many programming errors found within SDvR’07.
So, for whatever reason, Yukes & THQ took some steps forward only to take a few steps backwards with SDvR’07. Sound & Video Glitches, subtracted character animations, removed CAW parts, very visible gameplay errors & omitted move-sets drag down the overall quality of this title.
With online multi-player competition available, vastly improved visuals, improved create-an-entrance, a few new welcome extras in the GM Mode, the UCMs & EHS round out what’s really good about SDvR’07 & these features will ultimately be the pillars which hold up this title as the first decent official WWE Wrestling game on the Xbox 360.
Reviewed by GameQuestEx