GameplayEditHere Comes the Pain. The story lines encountered are generally the same for each wrestler, with the only differences being the opponents encountered, depending on which wrestler is chosen.
Several new gameplay features are introduced, including pre-match and in-match mini-games. The pre-match mini games are randomly chosen before every singles match, Test of strength, Stare down and Shoving match. Several in-game minigames were also introduced, chop battle, Spanking mini-game - in bra and panties matches, a female wrestler could enter a "spanking" mini-game. The meter mechanic from the chop battles are retained, but the player must perfectly time the button press three consecutive times to win. If the player does so, a cut scene of the two female wrestlers kissing is played.
The ability to sustain a submission till the count of 5 once a rope break had been reached was also implemented. The game features several arenas that WWE held events at in 2003 and 2004; there are also arenas based on each WWE TV show.
Also added to the game was the Clean/Dirty system, which influenced each wrestlers tactics. Players can choose if the wrestler is clean, dirty or neutral. A clean or dirty wrestler has a meter that can be filled up by performing special clean/dirty actions or moves.
This game was the first Smackdown game to not have Stone Cold. Instead, this game featured new superstars like Rene Dupree, and Mark Jindrak. Most of the legends were in the previous game, but this one also had new legends like Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, André the Giant. Mankind returned to the series as a legend along with The Rock.
The game features a season mode where superstars play a season on their respective brand. Both brands' seasons have several brand crossover and feature the ability to fight for divas to use as managers throughout the season if they are won. The divas include Molly Holly, Sable, Stacy Keibler, Torrie Wilson, Trish Stratus and Victoria. The player earns money throughout the season to purchase unlockables and legends. They also fight for their brands respective championships (the World Heavyweight Championship as the main title and the Intercontinental Championship as the secondary title for Raw, the WWE Championship as SmackDown!'s main belt and the secondary being the United States Championship).
WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW also includes a redone WWE PPV (Pay-Per-View) mode from its past games where the player can play sample PPVs from 2004, or create a PPV of their own by booking matches choosing matchtypes and any superstar, legend or created superstar in the game. Created Championships could be waged in the created PPVs. Before playing the PPV the game would show a generic highlight reel featuring two of the superstars in the main event of the show. Commentary began to improve and sync up with the matches more.
Also, the game featured an all-new Create-a-Championship mode where the player can create and defend the title in their created PPV. The game also includes the Create-A-Wrestler mode from previous games where the created superstars movesets, attributes, entrances, and brand could be customized. The create mode was improved from the previous game. Stables could be created featuring any wrestler game and entrances could be customized.
All new challenge mode provides gamers with opportunities to challenge themselves at different difficulty levels. In addition, several challenges put gamers in memorable matches from past and beating these challenges will help unlock alternate attires, arenas.
This is the first WWE game on the PlayStation 2 to have the feature to play online. However, players can only choose between a singles and a Bra and Panties match.