Smackdown vs Raw 2011 Review

The WWE Smackdown vs Raw series has gradually started to overcome it’s lacklustre predecessors reputation in recent years, with the 2008 version in particular reaching new lows.  So, how good is the latest effort?

Gameplay

A fair few changes have been made to this years’ Smackdown vs Raw, the most noticeable being with the control system. Basically it’s been revamped in ways which I’m personally not too fond of, in previous series entries the control system has always been smooth and enjoyable to use; Smackdown vs Raw 2011 is almost the exact opposite and takes quite some time to get used to. Fortunately as soon as you fire up the game you’re greeted with a training ring, so you can thankfully get used to the difficult controls at your own pace.

As far as new features are concerned the obvious one is the new Universe mode, which is both interesting but unfortunately restrictive. The idea of the Universe mode is that the game simulates match cards and generates feuds and storylines, and you can play the matches or alter them to suit your liking. Restrictions soon come into play however, as you cannot defend any championship belts on regular shows, only Pay-Per-View events, and a lot of tag teams you might decide to put together are often inexplicably split up by the simulation.

Road To WrestleMania is also back this year, I haven’t put a lot of time into it yet but what I have done has been enjoyable. There’s a free-roam backstage area for you to explore which is great at first, but backstage conversations and altercations quickly become repetitive.

There are also various creation modes to keep you busy, some new and others simply tweaked. Create-A-Superstar, finisher and entrance are pretty much the same as always, but the story designer has been revamped to include more storyline options, choices and usage of your created Superstar should you choose to include him or her, which apparently is a big improvement over the 2010 version of Smackdown vs Raw 2011 (I should note, I haven’t played that game so I can’t make comparisons). All in all there are a lot of great ideas and features, but poor controls and various limitations on what you can do with the game can’t be overlooked.

Score – 6/10

The new Universe Mode offers plenty of replay value

Graphics

What’s probably impressed me the most so far has to be the graphics found in Smackdown vs Raw 2011. Wrestlers look more lifelike than ever (if noticeably more ‘jacked’ than their real-life counterparts) and little details like more sweat gradually appearing on their bodies as a match progresses and neck muscles straining as they execute a submission are fantastic touches.  The crowd also look decent as do the various backgrounds and objects you can interact with, however sometimes there are glitches when wrestlers collide and certain items of clothing you may want to put on your created Superstars quite literally clash with others, but these are minor issues that shouldn’t bother you too much.

Score – 9/10

Sound and Music

Every year criticism is made regarding almost every aspect of the sound and music found in the Smackdown vs Raw series, and sadly this years’ effort is no different. At times I’ve found myself to be really annoyed with it, and despite running the risk of going into full-blown rant mode some problems are as follows:

  • Commentary has been recycled and often doesn’t make sense
  • The soundtrack is abysmal
  • Crowd noises and chants still don’t give you the feel of being involved in a match
  • The voice acting from almost everyone involved is appalling
  • Grunts and groans from the wrestlers while they wrestle sound terrible
  • General sound effects like jumping from the turnbuckle to slamming someone into the steel ring steps aren’t exciting

I think that’s about it, the sound and music are by far the worst aspect of the game.

Score – 3/10

Value

There are plenty of match types and features to give you good value for money

Thanks mainly to the Universe mode, several Road To WrestleMania stories to enjoy and the ability to not only create but download detailed and lengthy storylines there is plenty on offer to justify the asking price of Smackdown vs Raw 2011. Yes, it does limit what you can do to an extent and it isn’t massively different from last years’ version, but anyone who’s a long-term fan of the series will be well used to this by now. Despite its flaws it’s a good game, as of writing a patch is in the works which should hopefully correct a few problems and there will possibly be some DLC content to further enhance the players’ experience, but for now there’s enough to justify buying it.

Score – 9/10

Overall Score 27/40 = 7/10

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Posted on November 2, 2010, in Video Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Which version have you been playing on Pete? I am gonna go with the Hitman edition to get the extra playable character I reckon 😛

    • The regular edition mate, Orton as the central character on the box.

      I wanted one of the special editions for the same reason as you though, as least Chris Masters and a couple of outfits are free downloads 😛

  2. excellent review :). now i know what to look forward to when i get the game very soon. may i ask who you can play as in Road to wrestlemania? 🙂

    • I’m doing this from memory, I’ll make sure the next time I play the game but I think it’s:

      Chris Jericho
      John Cena
      Rey Mysterio
      Christian
      vs The Undertaker – you can choose from 4 midcard wrestlers including Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, John Morrison and R-Truth, plus your created wrestler which is really cool.

  3. ah, thanks 🙂 interested in playing with Christian, been a while since i’ve played as him 😛

  4. hello I was luck to approach your theme in baidu
    your Topics is impressive
    I learn a lot in your blog really thank your very much
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