WWE Smackdown!: Here Comes the Pain - PS2

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Sport: Wrestling
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Yuke's Soft. Co.: THQ
Publishers: THQ (GB/GB)
Released: 7 Nov 2003 (GB)
4 Jun 2004 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 16+
Features: Analogue Control Compatible: analogue sticks only, Multitap adaptable, Vibration Function Compatible
Accessories: Memory Card

Summary

A popular genre in video games for a long time now, the virtual wrestling game has seen countless releases across a great number of platforms - many of them sponsored by the WWE (formerly the WWF). But the most successful of the bunch, and exclusive to Sony consoles, is Smackdown from THQ. The company has had four best-selling Smackdown games in the past three years, and has now unleashed the fifth in the series, subtitled Here Comes the Pain.

The most extensive in the series yet, Here Comes the Pain comes complete with more than 50 renowned WWE stars including Goldberg, Rey Mysterio and Triple H, as well as the usual set of game modes and multi-player options. Single player games, tournaments and one-on-one multi-player games are all available options, as well as several new match types - Bra and Panties, First Blood and Elimination Chamber.

The most significant improvement Here Comes the Pain has to offer lies in the game’s play mechanic. Whilst controls remain largely the same to keep players of the previous games happy, new countering and submission technique have been introduced to offer fairer, more balanced gameplay. Additionally, each WWE star has been given a variety of skills and attributes based on their real life statistics and abilities.

Visually, Here Comes the Pain is the best-looking in the series. Animation is smoother, arenas and their surroundings are more vibrant, and developer Yukes seems to have mastered character likenesses and skin colouring. It also plays host to dynamic camera transitions, improved audio and superstar voice-overs.

Here Comes the Pain is the most polished game in the series and sets a new benchmark for other wrestling games to follow.