Review: WWE SmackDown Vs. Raw 2011
Wrestling is fake, hearing that as a small kid was like being told Santa doesn't exist for some. Well, this game is real and so is your money.
- Worth The Time?Yes, beating the metaphorical 'crap' out of someone always is
- Things LovedThe FIFA style main menu, WWE Universe, Road to WrestleMania backstage concept; The ability to create, upload and download stories
- Things HatedLip syncing, Road to WrestleMania backstage graphics, Road to WrestleMania backstage controls
- RecommendationA great game that can always be enjoyed, even more so when there are friends over
- Name: WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011
- Genre: Sport
- Players: 1-2
- Multiplayer: local, online
- Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
- Developer: Yuke's Co Ltd
- Publisher: THQ
- Price: R600
- Reviewed On: PS3
Smackdown vs Raw offers a FIFA-like mode where you can fight before pressing start to enter the menu. This feature sees John Cena against Randy Orton. And beauty behind this feature is that it doubles as a tutorial and a practice arena.
Upon pushing the start button you will travel to the main menu where you will have the option of selecting:
- WWE Universe
- Road to WrestleMania
WWE Universe is a new mode that’s basically a never-ending career mode. It includes Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown and all other main events such as Backlash, The Royal Rumble, etc. WWE Universe also keeps track of rivalries, important match results and more. Universe allows you to add a created superstar–more on created stars later–and simulate a decade. During this time you can see how far your champ has climbed, or how hard they have fallen.
Furthermore, Universe serves as the exhibition mode as well. The match you choose is added to the line-up for that night, and if you don’t like the match line-up for the night — you can change it. All matches can be played or simulated. Standard match modes range from one-on-one to six-man matches, but you are also able to create your own type of match-up. This can be awesome. I decided to have a Battle Royal where instead of opponents being eliminated by being thrown out of the ring, they were eliminated by first blood, which is insane.
However, you can’t simply put a superstar–created or not–into a title match. They need to earn that right by climbing the ranks, or winning a No. 1 contender match like in real-life.
My only grievance is the way characters are unlocked in this mode. This happens via one of the two cut scenes in the whole WWE Universe mode.
Vince McMahon introduces another opponent after you’ve won a match with these exact words: “This match isn’t over yet. Did you forget about your…other opponent. Ring the Bell!”
And of course this announcement is done with subtitles accompanied by a voice sounding nothing like Meneer McMahon. His mouth is moving out of sync as well, which makes it worse than them ol’ Chinese movies.
There are a whole two cut scenes: One being the above, and the other being your opponent playing dirty by attacking you from behind as you walk out to the ring. The match starts with your momentum drained to about half.
WWE Universe is a combination of general manager mode and exhibition.
Road to WrestleMania:
This is your classic linear story mode. You get to play through five stories: John Cena, Christian, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho or a list of superstars (created included) vs. The Undertaker.
In Road to Wrestlemania you play as any of the above mentioned superstars and follow them on their journey to the greatest wrestling stage of all: WrestleMania.
Free roam has been brought back, but it’s on the same level as it was in the PlayStation 2 titles. The graphics, except for the characters, look as if they belong on a PS2 and this really destroys such a great concept. The controls are clunky and you could find it difficult to talk to someone because you have to press the button when it lights up, and no matter if you are in Jacksonville, Florida or Chicago, Illinois the back stage areas are always exactly the same.
The backstage roam mode serves as a mini-RPG, where you might have to speak to someone before a match. You can also go to the training room, that has no equipment only big Creatine tubs and medical supplements, to upgrade your attributes by using points earned from matches and backstage brawls.
However, the whole upgrade-your-attribute-thing is not worth it and can be ignored completely, unless you want to walk every repetitive hall fighting each spandex wearing steroid addict in a bland match where you will only be able to level up 4 out of the 16 levels.
And then backstage brawls, which are quite cool, because you can fight any male superstar you find. Push them three times, and knock them out to win. But then again, these brawls could have been made more exiting with some music alongside the side-effects.
But, if you’re the “do everything person,” there are a few conversations to listen in on, with even fewer people to talk to, and bland fights to participate in.
However, if you’re not the “do everything person,” you can just charge in to the match because the whole WrestleMania mode is quite low-budget, cheesy and boring.
The traditional Create a Superstar mode is still alive, and it allows you to add all the attribute points you want.
Aside from the traditional options when creating your own Superstar, the game allows you to modify their entrance by adding a song from your hard-drive as their theme; the ability to create your own tattoos; modify outfits, and create your own finisher move.
There’s also a new feature where you can create you own story. With this feature you can add your own match line up, make your own cut scenes, type your own dialogue, add your own rivalries, and even partnerships. If you want, you can even decide to make your story linear or branching.
With time you can make a great story and share it with the world as WWE Smack Down vs Raw 2011 allows you to download stories created by others.
Online and Store:
First of all, to play online you will need to redeem your Online Axxes code that comes with the game. This is a treat to players that buy the game new, because if you bought it second hand you’ll be be punished without online modes as you need to redeem a online pass. But don’t worry, it only costs R75 for an online pass. With the online code you are able to play all the online modes, as well as download a few free items from the shop.
Also, the Fan Axxess pays for all DLC, and THQ has vowed that the cost will act as a down payment for all future DLC as well.
The online mode offers the same type of matches as WWE Universe: one-on-ones to six-man matches, followed by Royal Rumble which can hold upto 12 players.
Players can also earn Online Prestige just by providing popular content.
The gameplay is nice and smooth, and the controls are simple and easy to learn, which is a relief from the code that had to be bashed out in some of the previous titles. The 2011 version makes great use of the right Analogue stick for grapples and similar body-on-body maneuvers.
The gameplay works extremely well and allows you to have fun.
The Online Gameplay:
Well it’s not bad, it’s just let down by people spamming running attacks, and lag. People spam running moves because they are harder to reverse than grapples. After they spam you, they pin you. And pins are harder to kick out of when lag is involved.
SmackDown vs. Raw 2011’s online gameplay is actually much better that the past two years titles, but it’s ruined by the same old noob-play.
Overall it’s more of the great violence and entertainment we love. It’s a great game even with the horror that is Road to WrestleMania. It adds to the WWE franchise on a whole, and even though it is not as ground breaking as SmackDown vs. Raw 2010, it still holds its own which is a hard thing to do when compared to its predecessor.