Review by freezermcnasty

"Gameplay improves, everything else suffers"

I went halfers on this with a friend, and I still feel like I paid too much. That says a lot about this game.

The Good- The weapon physics are the biggest addition to this game. It's very fun being able to lean tables and ladders all over the place and then smash and opponent through them with various moves. The Create-a-Finisher mode is steadily becoming more and more useful for making moves that have been removed or otherwise wouldn't appear in the game. Fixing the Hell in the Cell design to make it more realistic and allow for weapon use is a step in the right direction. This year's cast of Legends is pretty sweet.

The Bad- The move sets, both standard attacks and weapon attacks, are still mostly the same as past years which makes for some stale gameplay at times. Also, the fact that some of the wrestler's signature moves are missing is just unacceptable. Everybody who knows William Regal can tell you what his key moves are. Hangman's Neckbreaker, Power of the Punch, Knee Trembler and Regal Stretch. Only two of the four are included in the game. Meanwhile, there are three different types of Tombstone Piledriver and Chokeslams that look nearly identical. If you make a wrestling game, you have to show attention to detail considering all of these moves were in previous games. The fact that they are missing from this game is unacceptable.This is only one example of a wrestler who isn't a big star. HBK broadened his move set in the year before he retired to include the crossface and inverted figure four leglock into his arsenal. Well, the inverted figure four is included but not as a struggle submission. Again, attention to detail. Personally I think THQ cut too many corners this time around.

The new WWE Universe mode only serves one purpose- unlocking characters that should have been available from the start. The "events'' that occur do so way too much to make them meaningful, or in some cases make matches way too short to be challenging or fun. Often times, they just make no sense. Sheamus buying a front row ticket when he's known for direct confrontations? Blasphemy. The new Road to Wrestlemania stories are mostly uninspired and backstage exploration aspects don't offer anything exciting. In fact, they just waste time going from point A to point B.

The Ugly- The announcing. It needs to either stop all together, or they need to call the action as people are playing the game to make it more authentic. Lines like " The steel steps must weigh 200 lbs " are gross exaggerations and cringe inducing to long time fans of wrestling. Others like " He's in desperate straights!" instead of the correct usage of "He's in dire straights!" just sound ridiculous and are compounded by Michael Cole's annoying voice. Also, too many times the incorrect names for moves are used. Like Drew McIntyre's double arm DDT known as the Future Shock is incorrectly called the Scot Drop. And Kofi Kingston's Trouble in Paradise gets called a buzzsaw kick. OH! The menus also need some work. I went to turn the announcing off, but the only way to do that is to turn all voices off, which means ref counts and Road to Wrestlemania cutscenes are also muted. That's offensive to me as a gamer. They know the announcing has been criticized since the very first Smackdown! games, so the fact that you can't turn the announcing off seperate from other audio is spiteful on their part.

Recommendation- If you're new to SVR and don't know much about WWE's wrestlers or stories, this game might be worth a buy. However, for knowledgeable fans and experienced SVR gamers, rent it or wait until next year's game. Personally, I think all SVR fans should boycott future SVR games until they decide to do a complete overhaul. The series needs to be freshened up in a bad way.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 11/30/10

Game Release: WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 (US, 10/26/10)

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