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WWE SmackDown! vs RAW 2008 - hands-on style showdown

Sep 17, 2007

In the real world, an ass-kicking is an ass-kicking. It doesn't matter if the other guy is a street brawling gang banger, your martial artist dorm buddy, the bully on the playground, or the girl scout from down the street - the fundamental problem is someone is pounding their knuckles into your face and stomping on your spleen. As such, any further details are ultimately inconsequential.

In the world of professional wrestling, however, the fight is largely secondary to the show. It's not enough to whip the other guy; you need to give him (or her) a distinctly different, unique assault and batteration in your own special style. This is obvious in real world wrestling, in which wrestlers all have larger-than-life personalities to go with their inhuman chest girth. But in the video game world, these differences are too often overlooked, with all the wrestlers pulling from similar move pools.

Until now. One of the biggest differences in the PS3, 360, PSP, and PS2 versions of this year's SmackDown! vs RAW 2008 - aside from much more fluid, better blended animations - is the addition of eight "styles" that will determine what kind of moves each of the 53 wrestlers (56 on PSP) has.

The styles names describe what you can expect from the fighter: High Flyer, Brawler, Submission, Showman, Dirty, Technical, Powerhouse, and Hardcore. Each wrestler has two styles, one of which you'll designate as major and the other as minor. They'll influence the action in several sensible ways. The most obvious is in the moves at their disposal; Rey Mysterio is a High Flyer and a Showman, so he'll be vaulting off the turnbuckle constantly. Undertaker, by contrast, is a Powerhouse and a Brawler, a massive man-mountain whom you'llrarely see climbing up onto the ropes.