WWE Smackdown V.S. Raw 2010 Review

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THQ and Jakks Pacific’s latest iteration in the Smackdown series aims to redefine the genre by making customization the centerpiece of the game. Now in its 11th year, Smackdown Vs Raw 2010 steps into a bold new direction providing the true essence of a definitive WWE experience. Here are a few reasons why now is a good a time as any to step back into the ring.


Create your own experience:
Smackdown Vs Raw 2010 boasts an impressive new mode for story management titled Story Designer. This feature lets you craft your own WWE storylines to your heart’s content by creating moments, matches, or both. The use of these insanely deep tools range from adding text dialogue and camera cuts to developing a cast of wrestlers with no limit to your creativity. Once completed, you can preview the story or upload it to the online community via Xbox Live. PS3 fans have further upload options with the ability to post creations on You-tube.

When using the default roster of wrestlers you are allowed to create up to 500 scenes with over hundreds of precut animations. The only drawback here is that your limited to 10 created superstar scenes that your character can appear it. This seems like a strategy by THQ aimed at getting the consumer to purchase next year edition for the additional content. Overall though the tool has enough versatility that you can create up to a decade’s worth of material. If you want two divas to face off in a Hell In A Cell Match then it’s totally possible. Add in the fact that stories can be uploaded and this easily translates to new content always being available.


There have also been some worthy additions to the Create a Superstar Mode. Now not only are you able to design your own wrestler, but you also can edit the current roster using the Superstar Thread tool. With this device you can change the outfit colors for each wrestler or diva. Again the drawback here is your limited to threads only and therefore can’t change hairstyles, jewelry, or facial features. It seems pretty silly to be able to change MVP’s costume color but not be able to edit the color of his nose bandage. Once again I expect there to be more options available in the next update.


The Returning Features:
The Road To Wrestlemania mode returns to greatness with 6 new storylines including Edge, Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, and Mickie James just to name a few. Each story begins with a general introduction by various WWE superstars on what Wrestlemania means to them before branching off into there own individual story.

Overall the stories include the right formula of drama and suspense that you would expect from any Raw or Smackdown show. You’ll once again have to make choices throughout that greatly affect your outcome. It’s also worth noting that in some cases you’ll want to change the difficulty settings to gain certain unlockables. For example, you may be given the task of beating Kane in under 3 mins to unlock a bonus arena or hidden character. In this instance playing under the Legend setting will rarely get it done as the computer likes to reverse every move.

There are also stories that can be played cooperatively (Brand Warfare story) and as your created superstar. If Road to Wrestlemania isn’t for you, then you can always play the Career mode. This is a standard feature that follows you in your quest to collect every title belt the WWE has to offer. You can choose from any wrestler on the roster to participate in these challenges. There is also the new Championship Scramble Match, which will provide fun for up to 5 players.

Lastly, the Royal Rumble match has been significantly upgraded. Your now able to eliminate your opponents in one of four ways (Over the Top Rope, Bottom Rope, Corner Turnbuckle, and Special Finisher). You will often need to tap multiple timed commands to escape elimination. This element of gameplay not only refreshes an otherwise old concept but also forces you to develop a strategy for survival. The one match type that should be explored next is the legendary Survivor Series Match as many fans have expressed interest in seeing this.


Improved Gameplay and Online:
Once you step inside the ring you’ll notice the combat system has also changed. THQ decided to use the same system implemented in the Legends Of Wrestlemania engine. There is a halo bar that appears below each wrestler and gauges when your able to perform signature moves and finishers. This allows for a more smooth control mechanism, which won’t frustrate the gamer as much. The one area that determines your difficulty lies in the Game option settings. Playing on Easy will make the A.I. a pushover while upping the ante to Legend will provide for a more challenging foe.

The online play was vastly improved with no noticeable lag time. This of course will vary based upon the strength of the hosting connection. Last year many fans made created wrestlers and cheated by giving them a 99 overall rating. This year that concept has been fixed by forcing everyone to develop their created superstar’s attributes by participating in online matches. The one area that needs improvement with online lies in the addition of defending titles or creating belts. It’s bad enough that you can’t create a belt and even worse that you can’t defend one online. This also could account for creating a better reward system and point builder should THQ decide to explore this option at a later date.

Final Verdict:
WWE Smackdown Vs Raw 2010 does an excellent job of portraying the wrestling franchise that fans have known and grown to love. While there still are many customizable options and match types that need to be added, you can’t argue that THQ has taken a promising step forward with this release. The ability to alter your own stories is something past GM modes touched on but nearly really nailed to this degree. If you’re a wrestling enthusiast don’t hesitate to check out this game. Otherwise, you might as well book yourself for a one-night stay at the Smackdown Hotel.


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