• Publisher: THQ
  • Release Date: Nov 2, 2004

Generally favorable reviews - based on 46 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 46
  2. Negative: 0 out of 46
Buy On
  1. 75
    One of this year's biggest new features is the inclusion of online play. Though this sounds like a great addition, the actual implementation is far from stellar.
  2. It's not the best wrestling title of the year, an accolade that goes to the Gamecube's "WWE: Day Of Reckoning."
  3. AceGamez
    Even with all the minor and major issues I have with this game that aren't fixed for the umpteenth time, the core gameplay is very, very good and improves on the Here Comes The Pain engine in every way, bringing back all the match types (some with modifications) and the all new and great Parking Lot Brawl.
  4. Has everything (and a bit more) that made last year's game such a huge hit. A must for all wrestling junkies.
  5. The best wrestling game on the market, period, exclamation point.
  6. Cheat Code Central
    What you've got here is a new and improved version of last years game, with more modes and lackluster online play.
  7. The story mode is still quite impressive and has plenty of length to it.
  8. The bare-bones online mode is a start, but it's not enough to hold interest. With today's proliferation of sophisticated online games, this is pitiful.
  9. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    The other big addition to this year's Smackdown! is nearly lag-free online play, though playing only standard singles matches quickly grows boring. [Holiday 2004, p.122]
  10. 80
    The first wrestling game to offer online matches, but sadly this feature just isn’t up to snuff. You can select either a standard match or a bra-and-panties match, and then after venting your frustrations on a silent, nameless opponent, you’re done.
  11. If you’re a wrestling or a Smackdown fan, you’ll go nuts over this year’s Smackdown! vs. RAW. However, if you’re looking for an in-depth, stat-tracking online wrestling title, you’ll want to hold off for future installments and simply rent this one.
  12. Game Informer
    The only thing missing is custom entrances for created characters. [Dec 2004, p.174]
  13. Appalling online support, terrible voice acting and only incremental updates to the core gameplay make this a somewhat disappointing instalment, but it's built on rock solid foundations, which means that anyone who enjoys wrestling games will still get a whole lot out THQ's latest title.
  14. 80
    There aren't as many improvements as we thought there would be, and with games such as "Wrestlemania 21" on the way for the Xbox, one would have expected that THQ would have released a much higher quality game than this one.
  15. For those who’d see this as their first foray into the world of virtual wrestling, the surprisingly addictive, and much improved story mode is quite the draw. All in all, highly recommended.
  16. Still the top wrestling game you can buy but it's not without its faults. The series is becoming dated. Here's hoping for a major make-over next year. [PSM2]
  17. A wonderful new edition to the SmackDown! family, serving up slick graphics, vastly enhanced gameplay, and lots of other bells and whistles that make the whole package shine. Online play is a bit of a disappointment, but better than not having any online play at all.
  18. Despite being the first WWE game ever to offer a full roster of WWE voice talent and the first North American-released wrestling game to feature online play, neither of these features live up to their potential, and the other random gameplay upgrades just don't feel like a significant enough progression for the series.
  19. 80
    It's odd to see as many steps back -- smaller roster, no Cruiserweight or Tag Team titles, no backstage -- as there are steps forward -- Internet, voiceovers, heel/face discrepancy.
  20. This is the best game yet in the Smackdown series, and the best WWE game on any system. It has its share of problems, but when taken as a whole, this game is almost impossible not to enjoy.
  21. With a robust story mode, a deeper grappling system and the addition of online play, this is the best wrestling game available today.
  22. A great wrestling game still, but one that is falling into uninspired rehash territory very quickly.
  23. In the ring, inconsistencies abound-weird collision detection, random selling, neutered submission moves, and A.I. that revolves between timid and simply schizoid.
  24. If it were the first I’d ever seen it would be approaching classic status, however we’ve been here so many times before that it’s starting to get difficult to try and argue a case for trading in to get the new incarnation.
  25. 84
    At the end of the day, though, it's gameplay that's king. And in the case of WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW gameplay is something that it has in spades.
  26. On the one hand it’s a fantastic game, and on the other, so was Here Comes the Pain, which has a good deal of what SvR does and some things that it doesn’t.
  27. This is indeed the best version of WWE Smackdown there has been yet. To be honest, it's really the best wrestling game out there right now.
  28. Pelit (Finland)
    There is nothing truly new, though. Time for a real update? [Jan. 05]
  29. A very good game that any WWE fan should play. However, those looking for a leap as huge as "Here Comes The Pain" introduced will be disappointed. The much vaunted online mode isn’t nearly as great as it could have been.
  30. Play Magazine
    Some of the changes are hits, others are misses, but the bottom line is that this is another quality effort from Yuke's and THQ. [Dec 2004, p.102]
  31. PSM Magazine
    The best WWE game ever made for the PS2. Why didn't I score it higher? Despite the extra polish and new additions, it isn't that different from what's come before. [Dec 2004, p.70]
  32. It’s a very good game, but there’s just not enough improvement, and the big new features like online play and wrestlers’ voices couldn’t have been done any worse than they were.
  33. If you can live without its busted online brawls and missing wrestlers but love WWE matches then Smackdown! Vs. Raw is worth the fifty bucks.
  34. The season mode will last you a fair old while and if you decide to create a character, you won't even play a match for the first two hours, thanks to the depth and breadth of CAW options available to you.
  35. 80
    And while the computer AI plays like an in-bred Appalachian boy, the wrestling mechanics are on-point.
  36. The fact that Smackdown! Vs RAW manages to both encapsulate the essence of the WWE while also delivering a highly skill-based and technical beat-'em-up means that even those without a taste for wrestling will be able to enjoy at least most of what the game has to offer.
  37. 82
    The gameplay is starting to get pretty stale, and the online play is a major disappointment. However, the insane amount of match types available, and the best Season and Create-a-Wrestler modes out on the market makes up for it.
  38. The biggest plus is the fact that it's a whole lot easier to pin, escape, counter, and it's a huge step up in graphics department, although the game's voiceovers and the movement residing solely on the digital pad ruins this for me.

Awards & Rankings

#30 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2004
#31 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2004
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 90 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 75 out of 90
  2. Negative: 6 out of 90
  1. Sep 4, 2014
    No doubt one of the best WWE video games of all time. Really enjoyable game and definitely my favorite wrestling game along with "Here Comes The Pain"
  2. Aug 21, 2014
    It's an average wrestling game. No more no less. Not that big of a wrestling fan either. But it has it moments of fun (usually when I'mIt's an average wrestling game. No more no less. Not that big of a wrestling fan either. But it has it moments of fun (usually when I'm playing with friends) Full Review »
  3. Feb 13, 2014
    This is the best wrestling game ever made. And it has a lot of things that are more realistic than the new wrestlings. The best characters areThis is the best wrestling game ever made. And it has a lot of things that are more realistic than the new wrestlings. The best characters are included right here in this game.
    It's feking epic!!
    Full Review »