2007 is shaping up to be a vintage year for fans of wrestling, fighting games or just the sight of grown men hurting each other. The genre's flagship franchise, WWE SmackDown! vs RAW, is continuing to expand from its PS2 roots to explore both next-gen and handheld territory. And while we've smashed many a photo realistic face and produced many a beautifully rendered drop of sweat in our previews of the Xbox 360 edition, we've only recently gotten our hands on the PSP entry.
How does it match up with its big brother counterparts? It's tough to tell at this point.
The graphics are certainly up to par. Each of the nine wrestlers available to play in our build had been very faithfully translated into miniature form. They're pixelated, sure, but we're still amazed at how much detail the PSP is able to cram into their tiny expressions and animations. You'll have no trouble recognizing John Cena by his cocky smile, The Undertaker by his blood-sapped features or Rey Mysterio by his crowd-pleasing showman flair. In fact, the fighters look surprisingly similar to how they appeared in the 2006 PS2 version of SmackDown!
All of the game modes should make the portable port as well. We were only able to try out a simple mano-to-mano match, but the options for tag teaming, three- and four-ways, rope side managers, Royal Rumbles and Title Matches were all right there in the menu screens... if currently blacked out.