We liked the direction SmackDown was going on the Wii. But clearly we were a voice in the wilderness, because THQ has decided to tap out on the whole ‘arcadey’ alternative thing they had going on and have instead opted to make a more traditional SmackDown in line with that seen on the other formats. In fact, motion sensing is nowhere to be found – and the game is arguably best played with the classic controller.
Alternatively you can leap in on the action using the remote and Nunchuk, or you can even dust off the GameCube controller, although if you’re used to playing with a DualShock, you might find that they take a little getting used to. The Cube’s C-stick in particular isn’t suited for the important task of initiating grapples, while the lack of buttons on the Wii’s standard controllers means that to perform a powerful grapple attack, you have to hold down A and B while tilting the analogue stick. If that sounds like a bit crappy, then you’re completely right, but it’s nothing insurmountable.
Your reward for persevering is a game that largely matches its 360/PS3 counterpart mode-for-mode – the Story Designer, Create a Moveset and Road to WrestleMania options all make the transition intact, and there’s a sharp increase in match types compared to SmackDown 2009 on Wii. The Elimination Chamber, the Championship Scramble, Inferno Matches, Iron Man contests and many, many more all make their debut on Wii, and decrease in graphical fidelity aside, there’s little to tell them apart. The paint tool however is conspicuous by its absence and the game doesn’t allow you to upload or download content.
The shift in direction makes it impossible for the Wii version to triumph over its competitors on rival formats: the Wii has its own benefits but put it in direct competition as it is here and Nintendo’s flagship loses in every category. It’s still a great game, but only pick up this version if the alternative next-gen formats aren’t an option.
Oct 20, 2009