We are concerned, however, with the inclusion - or possible exclusion - of 2007's promised new features. Despite repeated and increasingly frustrated experimentation, we could not manage to find any evidence of in-crowd battles (our cardboard audience members didn't look they could withstand a strong gust of wind, let alone hand us a heavy weapon) or environmental grappling (our fullest "interaction" with the surroundings consisted of entering and exiting the ring). Where are the drunken fans, the scaleable towers and the destructible arenas that we fell in love with on the next-gen platforms? At least give us a metal folding chair, for the love of Hogan!
The basic wrestling mechanics also seem unchanged from previous incarnations. Smacking face buttons in combination with the d-pad resulted in traditional attack, hold and whip animations, not the super customizable and super entertaining offensive moves we were able to pull off with the right analog stick on 360.
Above: Trust us, the game looks better than these screenshots suggest.
Hopefully, these 2007 specific features will still make it into the PSP SmackDown! before release. The game build we played definitely seemed unfinished... the only audio heard during matches were lonely echoing punches, and the wrestlers moved across the mat in disturbingly slow motion. So unless the developers are going for a Jello-filled soundproof room kind of vibe, it's probably safe to assume that this is not even close to the final product.
Check back for more details and updated impressions as we get closer to the game's planned November shipment.