Friday, 18 December 2015

GAME REVIEW: WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 (X-Box)

I've always thought that wrestling games probably have quite a limited appeal when compared to a lot of games, but as a huge wrestling geek, I have to say I loved this latest instalment of the WWE franchise.

**NOTE: This was written back in 2010 when Smackdown vs. Raw first came out. I recently found it in my writing archive and decided to post it here**

Mainly, I love that there's just so much to do in this game; Smackdown vs. Raw is no 'play it once, get to the end and never bother with it again' experience.

Instead, the game offers a multitude of modes, challenges and games to enjoy that will keep fans coming back to it time and time again.

Road to Wrestlemania mode

To start with, there's the much-hyped Road to Wrestlemania in which you take on the role of a number of WWE Superstars (John Cena, Triple H, Edge, Randy Orton, Mickie James and your own created character) and guide them through various scenarios and matches to the main event of WWE's flagship event, Wrestlemania.


Playing this mode as your own created character is perhaps the most fun of all as you play the part of a fan who finds himself thrust into the bright lights of sports entertainment and at war with wrestling supremo; Vince McMahon. It's probably the longest and most challenging storyline of them all as McMahon throws one seemingly-impossible-to-conquer obstacle in front of you after another; but hey, that's part of the fun, right?

What's weird about the Road to Wrestlemania storyline mode, is that most of the story-lines are actually better than half the things WWE produces on its TV shows; intricate, well-thought-out plots with entertaining beginnings, satisfying middles and logical conclusions.

Game play

That's not the only way Smackdown vs. Raw matches up to its real-life counterpoint; the in-ring action comes as close to emulating an exciting WWE match as I've seen in any wrestling game; holds and counter-holds, slams and counter-slams are all accounted for, and in this writer's mind make for a realistic experience when battling other stars.

At least it does on most levels, because the game does have its flaws, and they can make for very frustrating game-play at times.


Ever seen a wrestling match in which a referee gets in the way of the combatants and accidentally gets knocked out? Well in Smackdown vs. Raw, it's like the referees love nothing more than to get in your way and no matter how many times you aim for your opponent, it's almost inevitable that you'll end up solidly decking the official on more than one occasion. What's worse, if it happens too often, the stupid referee thinks nothing of disqualifying you!

This is just one of the problems with the target-system within the game, with the biggest problems being completely exposed in tag team matches.

Flaws

Playing the Career Mode (in which you work your way up the ranks, winning match after match and capturing title after title), your reviewer found himself competing for the tag team championships with Evan Bourne as a tag team partner.

If Bourne struck me once, he struck me a thousand times and, if that wasn't bad enough, he even cost us the titles in a ladder match by throwing me, his own partner, off the ladder and putting me in a submission hold whilst our opponents climbed to the top of the ladder and captured the gold. Needless to say, I throw stuff at the TV whenever I see Evan Bourne now!

The same tag team matches also saw our opponents turn on each other and start fighting (this was an obvious glitch, not part of the storyline), then stand around doing nothing until I had recovered from a recent beating and was ready to fight again. Weird, huh?

If all that becomes too frustrating for you, you can always step out of the ring and into one of the game's many opportunities to create stuff.

Create a character

The create-a-character mode has lots of options, and you really can customise every minute detail of your own ring-warrior, including adding your own pictures and logos for attire and tattoo. The only problem with it is that this mode comes with a point system, with each item carrying its own number of points. Once you've used up your points quota, you can't add anything else to your character, which can be a bit frustrating if you have an ideal image in mind but can't quite free up two points to add in that kick-ass tattoo.


Once you've got your own character created, you can head into the wonderful 'create a finisher' mode, where, well, you get to create your own finishing moves. I had lots of fun with this, and my own character now comes complete with an entirely impossible finishing move where he leaps off the top rope, completes a number of forwards, backwards and sidewards flips in mid-air and somehow lands flat on his head into a foe's midsection. It's brilliant.

You can also make your own entrances, using stock music from the game's library or by uploading your own, using videos (again either from the game or create your own), add in poses, pyro and fan reactions and much more.

If it seems like there's a lot to take in, that's because there is, though, for the sake of brevity, we'll leave it here for today. All of this, however, means that if you like WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010, you'll find yourself going back to it time and time again and getting tonnes of enjoyment out of it long after you first bought it. 

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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.