WWE SmackDown vs. Raw is hands down the best-selling wrestling game on the market with the most licences under its belt to work with, but last year’s 2009 entry seemed to have hit a plateau making this year’s entry not entirely a necessesity. Yuke’s attempts to revamp the series by almost starting over from scratch, making minor tweaks across the board and some pretty significant updates to character customization and implementing the Road to Wrestlemania story mode. Can all these changes supercede last year’s entry in your collection though?
SvR 2010 is simply a complex game, there are more modes than ever and the available player moves are mind-boggling. Luckily the game acknowledges this by dropping you straight into the training module when you load the game. Even if you are intimately familiar with the series you should stop and get used to the involved controls. These controls are both complex to suit the myriad of moves available and intuitive once you get the initial sequences down which makes the intial tutorial even more important to master. That being said, the tutorial only helps you so much, I know that my introduction could have been faster had the training been clearer.
You will notice some tweaks to the SvR formula immediately, starting off with the improved head’s up display that simplifies momentum to a yellow/blue bar combination and removed limb damage from the display opting instead to show bruising and scratches on the characters themselves. The last one is a brilliant move by the developers as it simultaneously informs of damage and increases the effect of the brilliantly rendered character models. Some of the other tweaks will be debated by hardcore fans, such as the improved single button reversal tweak; some may find this too easy, watering down the formula, while others may see it as absolutely necessary to effectively control the matches. Overall the controls feel more fluid and intuitive even if it takes a little investment in training.
Once you get that done though, you are free and clear to truly experience all this game has to offer, and that is plenty. All of the standard modes are present this interation, and 40 superstars are available to play through many of the modes. While each have their own signature moves, they are mapped to the same button sequences limiting any cross-character learning. The only differences you may notice are associated with their base stats which feel appropriate for each superstar.
The character creation has taken a huge leap forward this year. Along with the standard bag of customization tools, you are given the ability to script out and share a storyline of your creation. One of the better utilization of online capability now you can show your friends almost everything you create for your star and will definitely lead to a few matches between friends who think they have better stories. When it comes to multiplayer though, even the beefed up stats of a fictional creation still lose to the existing superstars you could take online. So don’t even think you could create someone better than John Cena. It’s not going to happen.
The Road to Wrestlemania allows a break from the standard career mission allowing you to play the real-life stories of some key superstars. I found this to be a mixed bag, as I am not all too familiar with the lore of Wrestlemania and I found it frustrating that I occasionally had to lose after seriously beating the heck out of my opponent. Similarly attempting to hit some of the precise objectives for some of the matches is a bit time consuming as I barely could hit them the first time through. This mode works for the most part, showing yet another way to play, while at the same time it doesn’t add too to an already mode saturated game.
Characters, environment and sound all help suck you into the game effectively. Graphically it is a beautiful title; with the addition of the bleed effects on characters the main stars of the game are becoming more and more realistic. Crowds still look cheesy though, as you really don’t want to focus on them at all, unless you want a good laugh. The music and sound are appropriate for the game; thankfully the ability to skip intro songs is still there so I don’t have to listen to all the bands I hate.
SvR 2010 has succeeded in one-upping its predecessor; unfortunately it may only take a die-hard fan to notice all that this game has to offer. It’s a solid game that many people will want to go out and get, while the random fan may not be able to get past the complex controls with lack of tutorial to truly appreciate the game they are playing.
Plays Like: Action Wrestling
Pros: Very indepth controls that are intuitive to pick up and excellent create a superstar updates
Cons: Too complicated for the random wrestling fan, with little tutorial