The latest installment in the Raw vs. SmackDown! video game series, Raw vs. SmackDown! 2007, has proven that some things just get better with age. Packed with better graphics, new integrations and enhanced realism, Raw vs. SmackDown! 2007 could be the perfect stocking stuffer this holiday season.

It’s true, Raw vs. SmackDown! has come a long way since it first came out and each year it does something to top itself. Released in November 2006 on the Playstation 2, XBox 360 and PSP systems, Raw vs. SmackDown! 2007 has combined a unique blend of features to create a rock solid game worthy of a lot of praise.

Gameplay – 9.5/10
The gameplay is excellent, thanks to some serious work that has been done to improve the realism of the game. Stamina meters and such are better than ever before. Much like last year’s version, you have to employ strategy when launching an assault on your opponent, as a star such as Rey Mysterio can’t lift a star such as The Big Show.

The actual bumps the grapplers take look more realistic as well. When hitting an opponent or getting hit yourself, the wrestler actually sells the area in which he/she was attacked, as opposed to just flopping around like in previous editions. On certain moves such as a press slam, you can watch you’re stamina meter and decide when to drop your opponent. It’s details such as this that put this game in a class of its own.

Modes – 9.0/10
The season mode has improved drastically. The storylines flow and there is a new feature involved where you can visit to get the latest on what’s going on in your particular storyline. This is a pretty cool new feature that adapts the game to the ever growing popularity of There are also a few unique storylines scattered through the game. Ever thought Stephanie McMahon had the hots for John Cena?

The General Manager Mode has also returned. It’s good if you’re into the fantasy type stuff, but if you are a hardcore gamer who likes to physically play the game this feature isn’t as intriguing.

Match Types – 9.5/10
Everything is back from previous games, plus there is the addition of the Money in the Bank Ladder match. It’s similar to a ladder match, but at the same time there is more available in terms of ladder usage than a typical ladder match. Overall, the match choices on this game are vast and there appears to be something for even the pickiest gamer.

Roster – 8/10
This game probably has the best roster of any in the Smackdown! series, or perhaps any WWE game, period. From Paul Burchill to Umaga, this game has it all. The only downsides are that Umaga’s manager, Armando Alejandro Estrada, as well as the entire ECW roster, are not available; however, previous games have had much less than this one. Even the WWE Legends roster has improved. Bottom line, this game should sell based on the roster and play list provided – it’s immense and impressive.

Create – 9/10
The create mode has also made some advances from previous games. If you want the ECW roster to be available on your game, simply look up the codes on various gaming sites and you can create them – everything is there. The usual additions in terms of moves and choices are there, nothing out of the ordinary. Over the year, the create mode has made so many strides, that I highly suggest taking the time to create at least one superstar, whether is be an ECW Original or yourself in WWE form. Whatever the case may be, give that mode a shot; you’ll be glad you did.

Unlockables – 8.5/10
The unlockables are all WWE Legends. Dusty Rhodes has been thrown into the mix and is a welcome addition, while others such as Bret Hart, Jake Roberts and company have made their return to the Raw vs. SmackDown! Series. With the use of the WWE Legends contracts, we can only hope that WWE incorporates even more legends into their games down the road. Just as in previous games in order to unlock the legends you have to visit the WWE Shop and purchase them with money that’s awarded to you during season mode. While the have a fair amount available here, there is plenty of room for improvement. Honestly, who wouldn’t want Demolition strutting down the SmackDown! Stage?

Sound and Graphics- 9.5/10
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, they have. The realism in this game is off the charts. Everything sounds crisp, looks crisp and comes together to provide a gaming experience unlike anything else. From entrances to wardrobe, everything matches what the stars are currently wearing and doing, something that the Raw vs. SmackDown! games have lacked in previous versions (i.e. having Spike Dudley in the game months after he was fired). This game shows the technological advancements that THQ has made in the gaming industry and is a piece of work they should be extremely proud of.

Comparing the Platforms: PS2, XBOX 360 AND PSP
Between the system, the differences aren’t huge, but there are a few. Besides the actual controlling of the game which would obviously vary by system, little intricacies do pop up. For example, due to the XBOX 360’s enhancements over the PS2, the game’s graphics appear much crisper on that system than they do on the others.

All in all there isn’t anything that sets the games apart too much, just little odds and ends. If you have all three systems I would probably jump for the XBOX 360 version. If you are used to the traditional play and can survive with a few button changes, jump for the PS2 version. If you’re on the go and want to play the game on the road or whatnot, the PSP version is a great choice as well, but keep in mind, there aren’t any major differences between the different platform versions.

Overall – 9/10
Raw vs. SmackDown! delivers bigger than ever before, offering up the best game in it’s illustrious series. If you haven’t purchased yours yet, be advised to do so. All the factors listed above come together to make this game a definite must have. Easily one of the best wrestling games created.

Chris Sokol is from Long Island, NY and was so enthralled by the Raw vs. SmackDown! game that he got himself backlogged on a lot of work that needed to be done, including this review. If you have the game, you know how he feels.