Making WWE Dreams Possible
Another year, another SmackDown vs. Raw title. Just like any other sports franchise, fans expect a quality yearly update, and over the years, Yuke’s and THQ have certainly delivered. New roster updates, online modes, and deeper character customization have been hallmarks of previous iterations, making each title bigger and better than the last. However, this year’s SvR has really outdone previous years, becoming the most immersive WWE title to date.
One of the biggest features of any wrestling title is the creation aspects. Character creation in particular has always been a lynchpin of games in the wrestling genre, and as fans have always enjoyed creating both original characters as well as re-creating WWE legends. But now, with the release of WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010, fans will be in for a real treat. In addition to creating new characters, players will now be able to tell their own stories.
Without question, the Story Designer feature is the biggest and best addition to the SmackDown vs. Raw series. Players can take complete creative control of the WWE universe and place any wrestler they want in any situation they want. The Story Designer allows players to create their own WWE storyline by placing events and matches on a calendar. This calendar is capable of handling stories that last up to ten years, so you can make your story as long and detailed as you want!
Adding events to the calendar is probably the most fun aspect of the Story Designer. You can choose any character from your roster (including unlocked wrestlers and created characters) and put them in cutscenes that you make. Choose the setting, the background, and the action, and the world of wrestling is at your fingertips. Want John Cena to propose marriage backstage to a created character who looks like Queen Latifah? Totally possible! Want Goldust to get in a fight with The Great Khali in a soft white dream sequence? Again, completely possible! After you set and create your scene, the scene editor also allows you to choose camera angles, character emotion, and even written text dialog to make your scenes as personalized as possible.
Although the cinema scenes are probably the most interesting and fun part of the WWE Story Designer, you can also create matchups to coincide with your story. These matches can be played or simulated, and you can give different wrestlers handicaps to make sure that one wrestler is guaranteed to come out victorious.
Once you have finished creating your story, you can upload it online and share it with the world. The sharing feature will certainly give the Story Designer plenty of replay value, and I can’t wait to see what crazy plotlines WWE fans concoct and upload for the community.
The WWE Story Designer was easily my favorite part of SvR 2010. However, there are plenty of improvements made to some of the game’s other modes as well. One of the most improved is the Create-a-Superstar mode. While last year’s title featured deep customization options and plenty of characteristics to tweak, this year’s character creation mode has upped the ante with more new parts and a much faster interface. Instead of selecting a part and then waiting 4-5 seconds for it to render, changes you make to your character are loaded almost immediately, which makes the process feel a lot more streamlined. While it used to take upwards of thirty minutes to create a character, I was able to create a fully featured wrestler, complete with new body dimensions, clothes, and entrance, in under fifteen minutes.
A new feature that has been added to the character creation mode is the paint tool. This tool allows you to create your own emblems, logos, and designs for use with your created character. There are a variety of different paint brushes and shapes you can use in your design, and it can be as simple or as complex as you want. Once you have finished your design, you can paste it on your character’s clothes as a wearable emblem or even a tattoo. While the paint tool is not as user-friendly as the regular creation modes (you have to use the thumbstick to fill in individual pixels, which is very time-consuming), if you really want that deep level of customization, the paint tool makes it possible.
The creation modes this year certainly seem to be the focus of the game, but if you are a fan of traditional WWE storylines and modes, then don’t worry, there is plenty here for you too! Last year’s Road to Wrestlemania story mode was lauded by fans and certainly was a welcome improvement to the lackluster story modes of the past. This year’s Road to Wrestlemania has been beefed up substantially featuring six new storylines, including the franchise’s first created character storyline, diva storyline, and co-op storyline. The choice to move the story mode count from one up to six was certainly ambitious, but all of the different story modes are of very high quality and feature multiple endings that are dependant on your character’s actions.
There are also plenty of free play options in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010. All-new for this iteration is the Championship Scramble match, which was introduced this past year by the WWE. This match type is a five-man free for all which starts with two wrestlers but has the remaining characters walking in until all five are in the ring and fighting for the title. The new match is very interesting, and though it feels like a watered-down Royal Rumble, fans will appreciate this new match type’s inclusion in the game.
Visuals in SvR 2010 have definitely been improved since last year, with sharper character models and more detailed environments. Although some of the backgrounds in the Story Designer, specifically, seem a little understated, all the main areas look great, and the resolution and framerate are both much higher than they were last year. One new aspect of the visual design is the inclusion of damage and injury effects. While occasional blood spurts and chest redness have been included in prior games, the damage in SvR 2010 is a lot more realistic. If one wrestler is bleeding from the head and another grabs him, some of the blood may transfer onto the other’s costume. Although the blood does disappear after a few seconds, it is still a cool aspect of the visuals and helps the game feel more “real”.
SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 easily represents the biggest leap forward for the series. While previous entries certainly piled on the match types and character rosters, the new creation aspects of SvR 2010 make it the best and most immersive WWE video game experience to date. Between creating your own WWE storylines, playing other community-created stories, taking on one of the six new Road to Wrestlemania modes, or being challenged in multiplayer versus matches (online or off), there are plenty of ways to get into SmackDown vs. Raw 2010. So get in there, get creative, and above all, make sure to lay the SmackDown!
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.6 Graphics
Character models look great, arenas have plenty of detail, and damage effects have been greatly improved since last year’s SvR. 4.1 Control
Control is still very complex, but the addition of a deep but approachable tutorial system makes the controls very easy to learn. 4.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Most cinematic scenes have talent voiceover, and ring announcing is nicely varied. 4.8 Play Value
Between the six stories, the deep creation modes, and the sharing possibilities, there is plenty of content in SvR 2010, and you’ll definitely be busy until next year’s title! 4.6 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.