Will This Be Your Moment? Or Will It Simply Pass You By?
The months of waiting are finally over, on October 26th WWE Smackdown vs RAW 2011 finally hits stores nation wide. The comparisons to Here Comes The Pain have been stagnant. Can this WWE title really over come what some would argue to be the greatest Smackdown game of all time? I’ll let you know my opinion here.
Now let me get this out of the way first, the game isn’t perfect. It has its flaws and short comings like all prior Smackdown’s before it. While some things have improved some things have gotten worse. Its a mixed bag for sure but what you get out of this game will be heavily determined on how you play it.
While most reviews are long winded where the reader really just wants to scroll to the end and see the final score I’m going to try to take a different approach. As I’m going to name three things that I do and don’t like about Smackdown vs RAW 2011. At the end I will give the game a score out of ten. (Sorry Mike, I don’t like the 5 star system) So without further ado, lets do this thing…
THINGS I LIKE:
- WWE Universe:
I have found that in my 4 days with this game that I have probably spent more time in this mode than any other aspect of the game. Taking the superstars I want and inserting them into the main event feuds that WWE won’t do on TV is fantastic. The moments that happen throughout the mode, although repetitive are tons of fun and add another dynamic that makes you want to keep playing and see what will happen next.
Thank God! Last year with 2010, online was unplayable. I mean the lag was so bad it killed my overall experience with longevity of the title. This year is no longer the case. As I have noticed a tiny bit of lag at some points it is no where near as bad as the last years game. I would put it right up there with 2009 in terms of online functionality. For everyone online that likes to skip entrances, I would suggest not doing so this year as allowing the data to load for the game during them makes for a much smoother match experience.
- The Swapped Grappling System:
While everyone was worried about this feature I would like to put all the worry to rest by informing you all that it works incredibly well. The amount of weak grapples have been expanded dramatically to moves that were strong grapples last year. Giving what I feel is a much more fluid motion to your matches. Some of the chain grappling sessions at the beginning of matches I’ve had with co-webmaster Mike Regan have been fantastic.
THINGS I DON’T LIKE:
- Road To Wrestlemania’s Backstage Areas:
Oh these can get annoying quick. Not only is it way too large, there just isn’t enough to do. You can also tell which wrestlers did or didn’t care about the voice over work they did for the game by how they come across when you run into them backstage, with even some people having no voice over work at all.
I found myself rushing through the backstage areas just to get to the next match. While I have enjoyed all the stories in Road To Wrestlemania so far, I could have easily done without the backstage areas this year. Or at least shrunk the size of them in half.
On a closing note on backstage, how sad is it that The Hurricane, who had some of the best voice overs in this mode isn’t a playable character…WASSUPWITDAT!?
- Poorly done, inaccurate Move Sets:
Oh boy…they’re bad. Just plain bad! Easily the WORST move sets I’ve ever seen in a Smackdown game. Duplicate moves everywhere, people doing moves they have never done. Lacking moves they do in almost every match. It’s down right bad. I really don’t know where to place the blame here but I have to point fingers at everyone at Yukes and THQ for letting this slide through QA.
While the problem with each superstar is fixable, its inexcusable that we have to go through and update every single superstars move sets when this should have been done by them well before the release of the game. When you have a game like Here Comes the Pain that was released over five years ago over shadow a game that comes out today, you KNOW that something is terribly wrong.
- Title Defenses in WWE Universe:
How frustrating is this? I mean come on! If you are the number one contender for your respective championship, you should be able to get a title shot on RAW or Smackdown whenever. Title defenses happen on WWE TV all the time, someone on the design team needs to be informed of this fact apparently.
On top of that, once you’re on the PPV the CPU books the title matches. If a title you wish to be defended isn’t being done on that show, too bad. You can’t change it. Even if you set up a match between the number one contender and the champion, its just a regular match. Down right disheartening. I’d really like to see this somehow get fixed, and I’m hopeful that it will.
While there are countless other things I do and don’t like about the game such as the improved physics engine and the down right horrible elimination of a TON of diva clothing in create a superstar, I won’t continue to bore you with the details.
Overall my opinion is this, another year…another Smackdown. This year they fixed the online and gave single player replayability value which the title so desperately needed. But at the same token, took away things such as freely decided title defenses and some key options in Create A Superstar.
While the game is enjoyable and I like it a lot more than last years game. I don’t see it overtaking Here Comes The Pain, THQ and Yukes still have a ways to go.
FINAL SCORE: 8.5 out of 10