" Spend time back stage walking from location to location making allies and starting backroom brawls, run in on matches so that your allies prosper and your enemies flounder, make career advancing contacts, and generally do anything you think your favorite wrestler would do if wrestling were real (Wait! What am I saying…? It is real, isn't it?). "
Title: WWE Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth by THQ
Format: PS2 Wrestler
Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult
The Hype: With its fourth installment, THQ has promised that Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth won't just be more of the same. They've added a more detailed story mode, a refined control scheme, and some nifty new match styles. But will it be enough to keep Shut Your Mouth off the mat? Read on, my monkeys…read on.
What This Monkey Thought...
Graphics: Oh, mamma- does Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth (SYM) do the job graphically. Long since the focus of any wrestling game, SYM may well be the first game on the market where the models unequivalently look like the wrestlers they portray. The faces, without a doubt, are the most refined and lifelike of any wrestling game I've ever seen and the depth and dynamics they portray kicks serious ass. Added to that pleasantness is the wide range of levels, the details of the backdrops, and some pretty cool effects. That's the good news. The not so good is that SYM still suffers from a ton of old industry hang ups, including some significant clipping issues, bodies that are all fairly universal and undefined, and the single worst lip synching to ever appear in a game. Still, the draw backs sit way to the rear of the pluses and SYM is definitely a fun game to watch. 4 out of 5
Playability: The single biggest gripe about the other Smackdown games has been the controls and their responsiveness. Ranging from fair to down right poor, previous Smackdowns have struggled to get the rhythm and flow that games like Wrestlemania have had from the get-go. Thus, it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I approached SYM and started mashing buttons. I am pleased to report, however, that the problems that once plagued the series are evidently now laid to rest and that SYM is one of the most fun and playable wrestling games I've seen in years (though, they still occasionally try to overcomplicate things). Matches are smooth and even, and the core of the game (wrestling) is plenty enjoyable enough to go the distance. Moving from there, however, we go into the play modes which are, simply put, vast. Expansive. Extensive. Un-frickin'-believable. To begin, you'll have the standards you've come to expect- single, tag, ladder, etc. But from there they have not only expanded into just about everything anyone else has covered but also included a few of their own (6 man tag, anyone?). Also amazing about SYM is the season mode, which is far and away the most expansive and entertaining thing I've seen in a sports [entertainment] game in years. It starts with a draft (a la the Raw vs. Smackdown one on tv) where you select your wrestler and move through 2 years of matches, pay per views, and back stage antics (well over 100 fights total). But unlike your daddy's wrestling games, SYM doesn't just parade you from match to match, it gives you a free form environment to participate in. Spend time back stage walking from location to location making allies and starting backroom brawls, run in on matches so that your allies prosper and your enemies flounder, make career advancing contacts, and generally do anything you think your favorite wrestler would do if wrestling were real (Wait! What am I saying…? It is real, isn't it?). It's an amazing experience that is dynamic, fluid, and- arguably, too damned involved! 4.5 out of 5
Story and Drama: The bulk of the story the game offers occurs in the season mode, which allows players to create their own stories through random encounters and strategic choices…and that, without question, if phenomenal! Finally, all my dreams of a non-linear story have come to light amidst the chaos of a wrestler…and that's good. The bad is that SYM may be, no…probably definitely is…the worst written/dialogued game I've ever had the sad luck to lay my eyes on. Expressed primarily through sub-titles, the communications in SYM will make your eyes bleed and your rectum spontaneously open- spilling your intestines across your couch. Ah, well…it still gets a 4 out of 5 for having a dynamic story.
Multiplayer and Replayability: Oooh, yeah brother! Multiplayer had damned well better be great in any wrestling game and SYM doesn't disappoint. Offering carnage for up to 6 players, it's a killer experience for you and your friends. And forget replayability, the season mode is so damned long I can't imagine you'll finish it once, let alone twice. 4.5 out of 5
|If you, like me, lost interest in the WWF when it became the WWE and decided it was a good idea to have Triple H rape a corpse, then this might be just the thing to get you back in (or, at least, back into playing the video games). Fun, dynamic, and deep…Smackdown Shut Your Mouth will give you everything you need from a wrestling game.|
The Good: Great graphics, play modes, and action.
The Bad: A script so scary you'll be tempted to hide from it anywhere…even in Rosie O'Donnell's ass (fortunately, it's big enough to hide all of us).
The Overall Ugly: Wonderful game. Go enjoy it.
What it's Worth: Market