First, let's cover the part of this preview that WWE fans really want to hear: the confirmed roster for WWE SmackDown! vs RAW 2007 so far includes Johnny Nitro, The Undertaker and Shelton Benjamin, along with the previously revealed John Cena, Triple H, Rey Mysterio, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit and Booker T. With that out of the way, we can continue.
We've tangled with the Xbox 360 version of SmackDown! before, but this is the first chance we've had to really take our time with it. And while we're still a few months from its November release, the game looks great, with no shortage of hulking, realistically sweaty wrestlers. The developers have taken pains to model them as realistically as possible, spending lots of time rendering veins, muscles and faces to avoid the disturbing "sweaty plastic" look sported by certain other 360 games.
The new control scheme - with offensive grapples moved to an analog stick, instead of the controller's face buttons - worked surprisingly well once we got the hang of it. Quick throws were easily executed with a flick, while holding down the right bumper and flicking the stick locked us into a two-way grapple.
From there, it's a cinch to throw the other guy, or even to turn the tables if he's the one grappling you. You can also set up an Ultimate Control move, enabling you to kick him in the head, crunch his elbow or just spin him around, depending on how you move the stick.