WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011 – Too late to the party?
So to the latest instalment of a series that has lasted 7 years, had 7 games so far, and, judging on next years’ game title (WWE 2012), will be the last with the Smackdown vs Raw moniker.
ECW has gone, with its roster divided amongst Raw and Smackdown, the original brands. The major change (finally) to be incorporated into the series is the new physics system. This means moves can be performed on weapons such as chairs, ladders, and, most importantly, through tables. Yes, that means you can recreate that moment from Unforgiven 2006, where John Cena drops Edge from the top of a ladder, through 2 tables, to the mat below. Not only that, but any regular moves such as suplex’s can also be used, on a propped up table, to smash your opponent through. This makes for some very entertaining multiplayer matches, and also some damn fun single player ones, too.
Unfortunately, there are the same issues as before; the AI wrestlers are far too easy to beat, even on Legend setting. Most of the time, its one finisher, and you win. Even against the toughest characters. Having watched WWE (preferably the ‘F’ days) for a number of years, the best matches have an air of unpredictability, even though it’s staged entertainment, such as multiple finishers, dramatic kick outs, momentum swinging one way or the other. This is possibly too much to ask for a wrestling game, certainly one with this current grapple system. It has certainly been done in previous wrestling games, the best example being WWF No Mercy on the Nintendo 64 only, where many counters can lead to a switch in fortunes for your character. This was also adopted in WWE Day of Reckoning (also Nintendo only, this time on the Gamecube), which is still a better game than any of this series, but was dropped by THQ.
There are however, a few other plus points to SVR 2011, the roster is pretty good, fairly up to date (as WWE has released most of the deadwood), and there is a whole host of classic wrestlers to unlock/purchase via Xbox Live/PSN. The WWE Universe option (activated by flicking the controller’s right stick up), is also a very welcome addition, and replaces the Career Mode from previous games. The Raw and SD rosters can be amended at any time, and allows your created wrestler to be put straight into its respective brand’s matches straightaway. WWE Universe match ups are the only way that belts can be won/lost; the option of doing this from exhibition matches has been removed. This is no bad thing; WWE Universe covers all the PPV’s over the calendar year, and creates matches based on who is the no.1 contender or other close to that.
All in all, this is by far the best next gen wrestling game, albeit due to lack of competition, but is a decent game in its own right. If you are a WWE(F) fan, it’s worth a look. Hopefully, WWE 2012 can only improve on this.
In the meantime, there is an alternative option for WWE fans……