WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2011
Developer: Yuke’s Media Creations
Power-bombing, body-slamming and suplexing its way onto your console is the latest edition of the WWE franchise, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011. Boasting a few new perks, an updated roster and creation features, Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 looks to keep fans entertained in our own squared circle. Is this year’s edition a future world champion or just another local jobber?
Looking The Part
Everything you would expect from the franchise still stands as far as visual presentation goes. All the minor details in a superstar’s appearance are represented, from the grand entrances to the lettering and design of their boots. Unfortunately, some superstars and divas don’t look like their real life counterparts, but that only applies to a certain few. The audience does have an updated look in certain areas, but their motions mostly remain repetitive while you are in a match, as they usually do in wrestling games.
The biggest change to this year’s SvR is the physics of weapons such as tables, ladders and chairs (oh my). In past editions, a broken weapon would just be dropped and disappear. SvR 2011 has changed the way weapons get broken, and they also remain in the ring for a much longer period of time before disappearing into thin air. It adds a bit of strategy but is also a hindrance when, for example, setting up a ladder in the middle of the ring for a ladder match. When there’s a broken table in the middle of the ring, it makes it difficult to set up the ladder properly. Still, the fact that things break down differently than in past years is a nice addition, but it still needs a little work.
The Roar of the Crowd
The sound in this game is average at best. The music really shines during the entrances, navigation menus and creating modes. During the entrances, while the music takes front-stage, the audience sound consists of canned cheers, claps and boos. While in a match the crowd will occasionally chant for you or your opponent, but it’s not something that sounds natural.
The announcers in the game tend to get repetitive, but they do add some different comments depending on which WWE Superstar or Diva you’re using. If you’re using two created superstars in a match then the announcers will do play-by-play rather than a character’s background commentary, simply because they don’t know your character. While the actual WWE superstars and divas voice their own characters, some of them sound stiff, and the animation doesn’t sync up with the voices, giving the appearance of a movie dubbed from Japanese to English.
Your Ring Work Needs Work
When it comes to gameplay, SvR 2011 seems to be a little more limiting, although it adds a few new options at the same time. The complicated grappling system creates a bit of a learning curve for newer SvR players. However, series veterans will not notice too many changes. The changes to the move-sets apply when you have a grounded opponent. You get six moves applicable to three different areas of an opponent, depending on whether they’re facing up or down, and three submission moves. Though the move count remains about the same, it still feels very limiting because it’s one move for the head, body and legs, rather than three different options for the head/upper body and three different options for the legs/lower body facing up, and another three if the opponent is facing down. The corner moves have had an overhaul as you can now lift your opponent to perch them on the top rope, or hang them upside-down from the “tree of woe”, along with a couple of regular turnbuckle moves. A few other things have been added to the overall arsenal of moves to give a deeper experience, but most of them rarely, if ever, apply to the matches.
Still, the majority of the time a player might find themselves doing the same things over and over just because they’re effective, and repetition becomes something of an underlying theme in this game, especially against other players. While the matches can become repetitive, it’s more fun to switch up the style of a match and throw in a cage, hardcore, or even a ladder every now and then to get a little more fun out of the game.
From Parts Unknown, Weighing in at 19 Stone…
One of the strongest features of the WWE games has been the “Create-A-Superstar” mode. This returns as strong and as deep as ever. Mostly unchanged from previous installments, one thing that stands out this year is that many of the colors on your items can be changed. While not everything can be altered, the limitations on getting the right look have decreased, and you no longer have to worry about wearing a certain item only available in one color which you don’t like. While still not perfect, Create-A-Superstar still shines through as a strong feature in this year’s game.
Also returning this year is the “Road To Wrestlemania” mode, where you can select a pair of superstars to team up and end the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania winning streak. You choose two of eight pre-set superstars, or even a created superstar if you prefer to try to overcome the odds yourself. However, the addition of backstage interaction can land you in backstage fights and extend the number of fights on your way to Wrestlemania. Another addition is the integration of role-playing game elements, which seems like a fun idea but ultimately falls flat.
It’s Your Moment
New this year is the WWE Universe, which allows you to create matches for Raw, Superstars, Smackdown and pay-per-view events. This new mode puts the player right into the story, although you don’t have to create all of the matches as the WWE Universe mode creates storyline feuds based on matches. This mode can be turned on and off with the press of a button, so title rankings don’t always have to be affected. Adding to the “realism” of the programming you normally see on Monday and Friday nights, superstars can be attacked during their entrances.
And The Winner Is…
For all the positives in this game, there are a few problems as well. The gameplay does tend to get repetitive, and while a valiant effort has been made to improve the physics, there are still some bugs and glitches. The voice acting is comically bad, and not in a good way. The other sounds need a lot of work as well, including fall sounds, grunts and many other effects.
The pros of the game are the WWE Universe mode, which is a great addition, and the Create-A-Superstar mode, which still remains a deep, gratifying experience. User-generated, online content does provide some good entertainment as well. As most would expect, the best part of this game is the ability to create a superstar. Created superstars are usually used more than the WWE superstars themselves, and a creative enough player could come up with their own roster of superstars and create their own matches to begin new feuds, adding a little more life to an average game.
While this game might not be the top-tier main-eventer, it is certainly no local jobber. WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011 is more like a mid-card type of guy that needs more time to hone its basic skills. This game is not worth the full $60 price tag. Our suggestion is to wait for a lower price point, somewhere around $35, where you will get the most out of your money. It’s an average game that still needs work and players will have more fun creating their own roster than using the ones given.
Based on the experience of the game as a whole, WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011 gets six tombstone pile-drivers out of ten.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Playstation 3 version of WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011 by THQ Games
- WWE Universe mode
- User-Generated, Online Content
- Repetitive Gameplay
- Poor Game Physics
- Several Bugs and Glitches