Each year I sit here and often wonder how will THQ and Yukes will update there yearly WWE Smackdown vs. Raw franchise. Just like in sports games, there needs to be that killer next step for the franchise to get peoples attention. In the last couple of years Yukes has made great strides forward with better story modes and even better wrestling, but never have been able to get everything together in one smooth package. So the big question on the table is does WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 have what it takes to really stand out as the best game in the series? Read our full review to find out.
One thing I think every gamer will be certain of right out of the box is that this game is jam packed with wrestlers and modes. It had been six months or so since I had played Smackdown vs.. Raw 2010 and so when I put in the disc for 2011 I was a bit overwhelmed with how many different options there were right from the opening menu. The game still opens up to a training mode which allows newcomers to the game to try there hand at the controls and although it’s not the most entertaining mode it does the trick.
Like I mentioned already this is a game that is just jam packed with a ton of modes to choose from but there are a few stand outs. One of the new modes to make into the slew of modes is the WWE Universe which is kind of like an endless career mode. You basically can set up the career whatever way you want, set up different match ups, different opportunities. The only catch is to get to the top you still have to earn it. It’s an innovative idea and has a lot more depth then we have seen in past career modes so I think it’s a welcome addition that can only get better over time.
On the other side of the coin you have the Road to Wrestlemania which lets you go on five different story lines leading up the biggest WWE pay per view event. The mode has been there before but this year it has an odd push for you take part in things back stage. There are two major issues with this. First off the Gameplay backstage has budget title written all over it with poor controls and funky clipping issues. Second it’s just not fun at all. I understand why someone would think this is a good idea but there was not one point while backstage that I was thinking this was a good idea. With that being said the storylines themselves are actually some of the higher quality ones we have seen in recent years which makes the backstage stuff a bit more bearable.
The only other big change in this years game is online which now allows you to play all the different game modes online. This is a feature that I think THQ and Yukes really has the most area to grow as although having all the modes is great the lag online still proves to be a slight issue. This series is one that relies on pretty quick button presses and lag still seems to be an issue just not as big of one. I will say that in comparison to last years experience online this is far superior I just still find that there is a few to many hiccups to really get into the experience online.
Why would I ever want to go to the back stage of a wrestling event? That is the question I kept asking myself while playing the Road to Wrestlemania mode which showed off some of the drabbest locals I have ever seen in a game. Luckily that is really the only major complaint I have for the visual department. The wrestler models are still top notch and the locals are really impressive. Outside of that there are not any major changes from last years game to this one.
Look WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 is still a wrestling game, and its still using the very popular format that the game has used for years now. So will this game change anyone’s mind on these types of games, no. However I will say that the sheer number of wrestlers and modes means that there is just a plethora of content ready to be dived into.
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 doesn’t feel like a “new” game but more of a half step forward from last years game. Like many fans of wrestling I am waiting for that next thing that really pushes these games forward to a new level. WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 is an incremental improvement that provides some solid new content but nothing earth shattering.