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It’s that time of the year again when Yukes decide to crank out the Smackdown licence, steal another one of The Rock’s catchphrases and make themselves a game. The 4th one of the series now, Shut Your Mouth (Catchy name, no?) is looking to promise more modes, more features and improved gameplay. After the disappointment that was Just Bring It, the game is set to includes quite a few new changes. Let’s take a rundown of them-
Play By Play
Yukes have decided to keep the commentary in the game from the last incarnation of Smackdown, which may cause some to rejoice, and others to cry. However, JR and The King are added to the pool of commentators, which already sees Tazz and Michael Cole. But will this actually improve the commentary? The makers are looking to add double the amount of play by play that SD!3 contained.
Create A Wrestler
Not much change here. Yukes will most likely tweak one or two features, but this mode will probably remain mostly untouched.
More PPV arenas are expected to be added, as well as the brand new Raw and Smackdown sets. Also, the backstage arenas will be based on Madison Square Garden, which may please some New York natives.
For the first time, PS2 gamers will be able to play as RVD, Booker T, Lance Storm, Billy Kidman and many more former Alliance superstars who were excluded from SD!3 because of legal red tape with EA. Hogan and Nash are also included (Scott Hall was featured in the official trailer, but it’s quite likely he’ll not make the final cut). Each of the new character has his/her own signatures moves. From RVD’s 5 Star Frogsplash (With post-impact Bounce) and his patented Van Daminator, to Hogan’s trademark taunts and Legdrop, Yukes has captured the little subtle signs that make each character true to their real life form.
The early pictures show that the visuals have been turned up a notch, with a much greater “Next-Gen” feel to them. The smooth character models are instantly recognisable, and Jericho and RVD’s hair seems more realistic; it flaps about just as it does in real life. No more static “drawn on” hair to be found here.
One or two videos were shown in the trailer. Vince McMahon even extends his perverted ways to the PS2, as he is seen fondling Stacy Keibler. In another movie, Austin is shown driving his truck into the arena. As for the format career mode will take, it’s unknown for now.
There’s now much more interactivity with weapons. Moves can be done onto ladders and chairs, with extra impact. The foreign objects are also more effective, as Yukes have implemented new Weapon Grapples. This allows trademarks moves to be done with the plunder found littered about the arena.
Also, new game modes include a full size Hell In A Cell, Hardcore Slobberknocker matches and the favourite match from down Mexico way, Tornado Captain tag match matches, where pinning the captain of the team results in a win.
The game plays at much the same pace as the previous Smackdown game. The graphics have definitely been improved, as have the Menu screens. The new ways to use weapons adds a new dimension to Hardcore matches, it’s not longer about button bashing. However, the “selling” of moves is just as bad as ever: If you hit a big move, don’t expect your opponent to stay down too long.
If Yukes can polish up a few things, it might just be the best Smackdown game to date. However, the big test is when it comes to playability and longevity. Will this game hold your attention for long enough? Find out here, when it’s released in Nov/Dec 2002!