While SVR 2010 was an impressive step forward for the team, there are still some glaring concerns that should be addressed as this franchise steps into a bold new decade. Here are a few detailed suggestions that THQ should consider to keep this title ahead of the pack.
Smackdown Vs Raw 2010 included an impressive lineup of over 60 wrestlers to choose from, including a combination of divas and non-playable managers. Match types were also revamped to better enhance the gameplay and provide for more realistic results. The perfect examples of these changes were displayed in both the overhauled Royal Rumble and Ladder Matches respectively. While these additions were considered fan favorites among wrestling enthusiasts, the lack of an updated roster failed to give further depth and replayability to this product. Most of the wrestlers on the lineup already parted ways with the WWE long before this game shipped, making the title outdated from day one. Even more embarrassing was the fact that some of those wrestlers missing from the group were holding significant titles at the time. Lastly, the lack of Legends made this game feel like it had no historical timeline reference. While it’s fair to argue that each character deserved a spot given THQ’s painstaking attention to detail, the likely next step would have been to add newer wrestlers into the mix even if it meant releasing DLC at a later date. As of this writing the creative team has failed to honor new DLC, which leads me to believe that they have traded in the idea of making more money off the next game in the series rather then adding value to the title you have already purchased.
SVR 2011 can rectify the update issue by staying true to WWE’s claims of being “ The World-wide Leader In Sports Entertainment”. This would begin with a complete presentation overhaul to make this game look and feel like a sports game. THQ should take notes from both NBA 2k10 and Madden NFL 2010 and commit to providing dedicated daily updates once major shakeups happen in the WWE Universe. This should include Raw and Smackdown Talent Acquisitions, News Ticker with Match results of both House and PPV shows, and the return of the Power 25 scale made famous on the WWE.com website.
They should also revisit the implementation of an all-new “Injury system” to stay true to the realities of sports. Back when the improved General Manger and 24-7 modes appeared in SVR 2008, the wrestlers on your show could get injured and knocked out of action indefinitely for weeks on end. However, where this concept went awry was in the single player 24-7 mode where if you were badly injured you ultimately had to play through the pain. These particular themes add strength towards communicating the effects of sports on the human body and thus should be pushed to the next level in future editions.
Story Designer 2.0 and More Matches:
SVR 2010 carried the powerful tagline “It’s your world now”. This concept was fully emphasized with the announcement of the infamous Story Designer mode, which allowed the gamer to craft a WWE storyline to their heart’s content. While this addition provided a new dimension to storytelling, the final result made for an extremely time consuming process. Diehard fans didn’t mind putting in the hard work knowing that once the story was complete they could post it online and receive feedback from a jury of their peers. However, what is a casual fan to do if he or she wants to explore this mode? The only other alternative would be to find ways to speed up this process by providing full sentences that can be edited accordingly based upon how you want your character to react to any given situation.
Another drawback besides time constraints was the failure to include virtually every backstage and PPV set to help build your world. While there are entrance pyros for both Raw and Smackdown, the same can’t be said for every other wrestling venue on the calendar. When you add in that several actions and scenarios are still missing, along with the created wrestler scene limitations, you’ll notice right away this mode still needs polish. Improving the usability and options within Story Designer 2.0. could be just the formula to spark more creativity among people, allowing them to compose multiple stories without taking up a significant amount of time doing so.
Throughout the years, the overall match types in the SVR series have seen both hits and misses. While some suggestions from fans have improved the experience, THQ has avoided tackling some other match types that could expand your options. Among the one most popular to never be implemented is the Survivor Series match, 5-on-5 elimination competitions between teams. Given the recent announcement that the Survivor Series PPV concept was being eliminated, it’s highly unlikely now that you’ll ever see this match in a future update. However, there are several matches from older versions that could make a return to the forefront to add more variety to the package. Ideas like a well done Lumberjack or Buried Alive Match are concepts that can spice up your storylines and provide for new obstacles in the single player career or Road To WrestleMania Modes. Most of the storylines on WWE programming today are recycled over and over again and provide little to no suspense as to what’s going to happen next. Being that the game is meant to honor your creations, it should go above and beyond to achieve that aesthetic flawlessly.
The New Career Mode:
As a direct alternative to playing the Road To WrestleMania storylines, THQ also provided a career mode where you would compete night after night in pursuit of acquiring every title belt. While this mode is pretty straightforward, the execution becomes a redundant chore. The real way to spice this up would be to implement the new WWE NXT concept into the equation. As a wrestler fighting for a contract, you should have to earn your way onto the popular shows and championship title bouts. Older chapters in the Smackdown series had a solid framework established earlier on for this, but slowly diminished each and every year afterward. Most athletes in sports had to pay their dues before they are able to win certain titles. Therefore, getting back to basics can add value to the Career mode and make the experience much more enjoyable to play.
When it comes to online play, the match types are extremely limited in scope and scale. While you do have the ability to compete in various single or tag team stipulations, the inability to create and defend created belts seems like a misstep. The whole idea of fighting against opponents should provide a risk and reward system. I can fully understand the decision not to include this particular feature given the demeanor of those who cheat at any given time. However, I believe SVR 2011 can address the need for deeper online play by setting up renowned tournaments such as Beat The Clock or King Of The Ring. Even if a title match isn’t involved, going this route can create a stronger incentive to increase online play interactivity.
For what it’s worth, Smackdown Vs Raw 2010 will receive praise for making leaps and bounds in a series that only keeps getting better and better. However in all fairness, WWE owes it to the fans to keep pushing the boundaries and perfecting this concept, something they can start to achieve with the release of SVR 2011.Failure to push the envelope will not only disappoint fans but it will also tag this franchise with an identity crisis where it’s borderline entertainment and not sports. Knowing all this information the only question I have for THQ now is “ Are You Ready?”