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WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 08 - hands-on

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ECW will be a completely separate brand in this version of SmackDown!, and will come with its own story angles. As producer Cory Ledesma says, "The only reason we aren't calling it SmackDown vs. Raw vs. ECW is that it isn't a very catchy title." There's also at least one confirmed new match type: the ECW extreme rules match. In this, you can select what sort of weapons will be available from the start, up to a maximum of eight, and then when you're fishing around under the ring, you're given a brief time-window to pick the one you want. It isn't just chairs and sledgehammers either - guitars, crutches and even barbed-wire bats make appearances.



With the new fighting styles system, the wrestler you pick - and the primary style you choose - will affect how well you do in different matches. It's no good being a Hardcore superstar if you aren't in the ECW brand, for instance - you'll end up getting disqualified.

You can choose to steal an opponent's taunt any time with a Showman character - if you pull it off, you'll steal all their momentum, but if they hit you during the move you'll lose all of yours. The best thing about going on a rampage with a Powerhouse character is that you feel like Hulk Hogan - impossible to stop and really, really angry. Sadly, in two-player games this tends to lead to your opponent running away a lot.

Technical wrestlers can go on a reversal rampage where they'll stop anything their opponent does. This frees you up to try any attack you like. Dirty fighters like Kane can deliberately stop a count, just to make the crowd boo and hiss. This'll skyrocket their momentum.

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