Smackdown vs Raw 2011 - Cheat Happens Game Review
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Smackdown vs Raw 2011
XBox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Developer:
Yuke's
Publisher: THQ
Rated: "T" for Teen



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
 
view user comments (0)
User Rating: 6
 
 
   
     

Eventually, it happens to every WWE superstar. Whether it's The Rock, HHH, Bret “the Hitman” Hart or even Hulk Hogan himself; after years of taking bumps - you start to show your age. Sure, you can still draw tickets, but you're nowhere near the main-eventer you used to be.

The same can be said for this year's edition of THQ's long running Smackdown VS Raw series. Sure it works, and with a robust creation engine mixed with a plethora of match types, it's sure to please wrestling fans, but it's obviously lost a step as the formula is clearly showing its age.

The biggest addition to this year's game is unquestionably the new WWE Universe mode, which ties everything into one big presentation. It's best to think of it as the career mode from previous Smackdown VS Raw games, but on steroids. In the new universe mode, the game creates a never ending series of WWE events including Raws, Smackdowns and PPVs, complete with backstage segments and storylines. You're free to pop in and change any card, or wrestle any match you want. The only catch? You'll have to work within the game's ranking system. So no, you won't just be able to place your created brawler into a world title match at Wrestlemania, you'll have to work your way up the ladder to gain any respect in this Universe. It's not as hard as it sounds though; the truly remarkable thing about the WWE Universe mode is that it takes all matches, even those played in the game's other modes and counts them towards your Universe rankings. It's a great addition to the franchise that encourages players to stick with characters and develop them.

"...here it feels even hokier than ever before."

 
   

With how great the WWE Universe mode is though, it brings to light the problems with the game's other career mode -- Road to Wrestlemania. If WWE Universe is the new generation of career modes, RTW feels much like a relic from a past generation. You choose your superstar, and embark on one of five different storylines in an effort to gain a main event spot at the biggest show of them all Wrestlemania. There's a catch though, rather than planning cards and rivalries, you're going to be spending a good portion of your time wandering around backstage arenas. You'll talk to superstars, go on quests (no really) for others and pick fights. It may sound familiar to those who have played WWE games from previous years, but here it feels even hokier than ever before. It's supposed to be an RPG in the WWE world, but it just feels out of place here. Why they didn't just leave it out and put the extra effort into The WWE Universe mode is unknown. It feels like a missed opportunity.

Most everything from the game's core mechanics to that of actual in ring competition remains almost untouched from last year's game. That's not to say that it's not impressive - each wrestler ...Ahem...I mean superstar feels remarkably different and features a vast array of moves. If you're in a match with weapons, you'll notice an interesting new physics engine that allows objects to be used like never before. Objects like tables break much more realistically depending on in ring damage, and you can also set them up against barricades and the ring ropes to set up some pretty cool ECW (the original -- not that watered down WWE version) style moves. Oh, and you can throw chairs at opponent's heads. So, yeah.

While the majority of the game's controls remain untouched from last year's game, there are a few changes that effect gameplay in a major way. The biggest change is that this year's game gets rid of the strong modifier for grapples, and will instead choose what move your opponent does based on the damage of your opponent. While this new system does have its benefits; like a heavier focus on old school style chain wrestling (reversing a pin into one of your own is incredibly cool) and making it harder for online opponents to spam you with the same move over and over - it also makes the game feel much like a dumbed down experience because it eliminates almost any sense of strategy. As you'd expect, it also really messes with the pacing of matches as you'll have to wait until the latter half of matches to pull off many big maneuvers.

"...easily the most fun experience to be found in Smackdown VS Raw 2011."

 
   

The final key element of Smackdown VS Raw 2011 is the game's online component. For the first time in franchise history, each match type in playable online - including the 30 man over the top rope Royal Rumble match. While it does have its limitations, including the fact that only 12 players can be on screen at one time, it's easily the most fun experience to be found in Smackdown VS Raw 2011. The match comes complete with button mashing mini games, and trivia to keep those waiting to enter the rumble busy. It's a long awaited match type that is a welcome addition to the series.

WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2011 isn't a bad game; it's just losing its steam thanks to year after year of minimal change between releases and questionable design choices like the elimination of strong grapples. Still though, fans of the franchise will love what this year's game brings to the table, including new weapons physics and an incredibly fun online Royal Rumble. If you can't get enough of the WWE product, and didn't buy last year's game, you're encouraged to check out Smackdown VS Raw 2011 - otherwise, you may end up disappointed. 

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Achievements/Trophies Lists, Unlockables, more

The most fun aspect of WWE Smackdown VS Raw 2011 is the ability to create your own storylines, and the game features a number of cheats that are sure to make fans of the company extra excited including new characters, arenas and attires.

Some of the secret characters, like Mickie James and Vladimir Koslov are welcome additions, but it's the classic wrestlers like Super Fly Jimmy Snuka and Jake “the Snake” Roberts that I enjoyed most. Perhaps I'm just old school like that.

 

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