WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 – PS3, XBOX 360, and Wii
THQ returns with the latest instalment of one of the biggest sports franchises ever, and it sees a new direction which has come to the point where it was defiantly needed. Packed with new features and modes, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 comes to all the consoles in the usual October/November slot of sports games like Fifa and Madden. I’ve always been a massive fan of the series since some of the very first games like In Your House and the original Smackdown games, but with the new vs. Series of the last few years they have stepped up the enjoyment value to another level. No other wrestling game out there is as much fun and as exciting as the SVR franchise with so many different wrestlers, match types and customisation, it seems as though they couldn’t be a new step for them to take. But looking for finely into the game, it seems some points don’t work whilst others revolutionise the genre, from the new WWE Universe mode to the typical Road to Wrestlemania to the improvement of online matches and containing more wrestlers than ever before. Let’s get into some of the features that have a welcome return or are entirely new to the series.
Beginning with the obvious change in the way of weapons and the physics systems that before felt wooden or felt unrealistic, now with the changes, in the famous Tables, Ladders and Chairs match, you can finally place the table upon table upon table, Hardy Boyz style and throw someone off the ladder into them. The feeling of putting someone through a table feels much better now, you get the impact, you get the feeling of joy when you body slam or suplex someone in a waiting table instead of having to set them up and wait for them to move in front of it or luckily find themselves lying on it. Even the use of throwing a chair an opponent has a greater impact on the player than ever before, you really feel the connection with the weapons, and it makes for a much better experience, especially with one of the series best aspects, TLC.
One of the biggest features of the game is the introduction of WWE Universe, taking what the WWE is now and producing it in a game where it’s not necessarily a mode like Road to Wrestlemania or a normal match against an opponent, it sees you take control of WWE. Creating different matches on the live events and playing them out, you can take your favourite wrestlers from the bottom to the top and the results that happen constantly evolve your universe in who is champion, who is the number one contender to the belts, who is feuding and so forth. It’s a great feature for those who like to take control of the universe through every little detail including making new factions and having certain wrestlers be the champs. It’s a very thorough process which is highly enjoyable over time and you can jump in and play any match you want or you could simulate them until the very end. It covers all of the major events including the PPV’s, so you could easily make CM Punk the Heavyweight champion at Royal Rumble with a great Hell in a Cell victory over Randy Orton.
Finally with the Road to Wrestlemania mode now being a stable for the game series, it sees a new feature in how you can now free-roam backstage, talk to other wrestlers, visit the gym, go see the General Manager or even just run around for ages, it’s your choice. Normally you see yourself just beating up other wrestlers you don’t like but there are some hidden items and stuff so keep your eye out for it. The different paths in this mode is great too with Christian, Rey Mysterio, John Cena, Chris Jericho and a path where you choose one of 4 wrestlers to defeat Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak. Very challenging and rewarding and a lot of fun, all of the wrestlers have different strengths and weaknesses in their story, i found the Christian story really cool with the inclusion of tagging up with Edge again. YES!
A great game for all the consoles, sure if you’re not a big fan of wrestling you might not enjoy it, but it’s still enjoyable, it’s easily pick up and play, and the amount of hours you’ve got on your hand with the WWE Universe is massive compared to past instalments. I just hope they will step it up again next time, it feels the right time for an overhaul of everything including graphics and style. Move in the best direction like Fifa did.
VISUALS: Some of the wrestlers look spot on whilst others look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame 14%
SOUND: With the inclusion of the entrance themes of many of the wrestlers it’s great, including some of the old school ones. The sounds of when you fight, very authentic. 18%
GAMEPLAY: Still a bit clunky in places but the smoothness is getting better. Great pick up and play feel. 14%
LASTING APPEAL: WWE Universe will ruin your life 20%
SPECIAL FEATURES: Creation modes have endless fun, if your into that kinda thing! 15%