Last year, I stated that if you were ever going to get a wrestling game, “WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010” was the one to get…I STILL stand by that. “WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011” sounded promising with the addition of the new “WWE Universe” mode, but there were a few things that left me more than pissed off.
Every time I pick up a Smackdown game, I have to run and make myself. This year’s Create-a- Superstar hasn’t changed too much. They’ve added a few cool items, but nothing major. When I began to fill out my created player’s move set is where I started getting pissed off. I noticed a handful of my favorite go-to moves had been removed. So where did they go? This year, THQ, AGAIN tweaked the control scheme and in my opinion, not in a good way. You no longer have the ability to pull off strong grapples at will. You have to use a series of lower end moves and build up your momentum first. Some of you may find this new feature reminiscent of last year’s whack ass “Legends of Wrestlemania” and sure, it makes matches seem a bit more realistic in wearing down your opponents, but it jumped right out and kicked me in the crotch. In this year’s game, the ladder match has also been tweaked a bit. No longer do you have to climb the ladder, grab hold of the title belt and wait for the meter to wear down. Apparently, you just climb and grab. I have yet to master it as I am still holding my crotch. Not all of the changes are bad. “Smackdown vs. Raw 2011” now has a “WWE Universe” mode, which is basically the old “GM” mode from a previous Smackdown game, with some polish. For those that aren’t familiar to this mode, you are basically in control of all of the matches, participants, rules and stipulations of all three branches. What’s different is that the game tracks all of your actions in a match. For example, every time you help out John Cena defeat Triple H, the game will make John Cena a stronger ally and Triple H a more bitter enemy. You have to actually work your way up the ranks to become champion. No more quick titles matches. The only thing that sucks about this is you have to deal with superstars at whatever rank the game has them set at. You can’t make yourself #1 contender and The Undertaker dead last. This year, you can also slightly tweak the stats of every WWE superstar in the game. If you want to make Shawn Michaels the weak bitch that he is, go for it!
Aside from all of that stuff, other little changes include being able to throw chairs and ladders at your opponents. This is cool, but the throws are very weak to me and need to be improved in next year’s game. If you perform a move on your opponent close to a ladder or table, that is supposed to play a role in how your opponent lands on the mat. This is something that I felt was a better idea on paper rather than actually trying to do it. For all the online gamers, I get bored decimating the computer, even at the highest difficulty and loved the thought of finally playing someone more my speed. Maybe it’s just me, but I find Smackdown, no matter what year, lags just enough to piss you off, as you have to structure your timing just right to have a fighting chance. So I don’t bother. As far as the downloads and unlockables, *sigh*. There are a FEW cool things, but pretty much the same lame ass LEGEND characters that have popped up in other Smackdown games. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m sick of seeing The Rock & Steve Austin. Jake the Snake, Terry Funk, Ricky Steamboat, the Undertaker druid & Jimmy Snuka make appearances this year.
I say it every year and my friends STILL make fun of me every time I end up buying another Smackdown game. I swear again that THIS will be the last one I buy. THQ is constantly changing the controls, which will never be better than N64’s No Mercy and the removal of some of my favorite moves to accompany their new grapple system was the last straw. I think THQ needs to take some time off from the wrestling circuit. I will, at the most, RENT the next Smackdown game.