When it comes to wrestling games nobody does a better job than THQ. The Smackdown vs. Raw franchise has been around for a while now. Each year’s iteration brings new features to the table, impressive graphics, and an updated roster. Is this year’s version a champion or is it down for the count? Read the review to find out.
This year’s version brings a new feature to the table called Universe mode. You can set up a bunch of matches featuring various locations using various match creation options. You can have rivals face off in a Hell in a Cell match. You can take on a few friends in a Tables, Ladders & Chairs match. Setting the stage and fighting in a match that you create is very satisfying. You can compete in the regular shows or pay-per-views. The matches can either be played through or simulated. Even matches outside of the mode get squeezed into the Universe mode. Dramatic cut scenes and surprises occur as well. The game features an impressive roster of male wrestlers, female wrestlers and legends.
The moves that are available at your disposal are tremendous. Knowing your superstar’s moves, being able to counter your opponent’s attacks and setting up for a devastating finisher are really great. The physics have been improved especially in matches that involve ladders and tables. However, collision detection is still present and makes things frustrating at times.
The audio features a great soundtrack. The action in the ring has a satisfying sound. The crowd cheers and boos accordingly. The commentary is good but it does get repetitive. Sometimes moves are given wrong names. The voice acting the by WWE superstars and Divas is very good.
The game’s graphics are very well done. The WWE wrestler models are very well detailed and look like their real-life counterparts. Sweat looks very convincing. Blood on a wrestler’s head will get on his chest, adding to the realism. Blood that spills on the mat will disappear unfortunately. Even the muscles flex. The crowd also looks good. The arenas are faithfully re-created. The belts are shown on the screen before a title match. The WWE copyright logo appears as well. You feel like you are watching an actual wrestling event.
One of my favorite modes is Road to Wrestlemania and it has been available in the game since the 2009 version. It features five different storylines for you to play through (John Cena, Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho and Christian). The choices that you make affect each of the five storylines. There is even a new third-person behind the back perspective. You can free roam as well. You can cash in your experience points to better improve your skill attributes. You can have conversations with other wrestling superstars. You can start fights. It’s nice to have some freedom while your on your way to Wrestlemania. All five storylines together can take over 12 hours to compete which, is very impressive.
There is an enhanced story designer. You can create your wrestler, finisher, entrance and highlight reels. You can easily spend countless hours with your creations. The game features online multiplayer. You can browse and download content from the online community. A new online system tracks your rank, loses and wins. Unfortunately there is lag and the occasional bug. There is downloadable and unlockable content as well.
Smackdown vs Raw 2011 is a great game. It has great graphics. The audio is very nice. I loved Road to Wrestlemania. It features an impressive roster of wrestling superstars. Despite online bugs and lag I still enjoyed playing the game. Smackdown vs Raw 2011 is the best iteration in the series and is deserving of the championship.