When we last experienced the WWE on our PS3 and Xbox 360, we were left underwhelmed, unimpressed and unsure that THQ could revive its wrestling series. Long gone was the swagger that made the Smackdown vs. Raw series leap to the top of the fighting-game genre. Nowhere to be found was our compulsion to do anything other than queue up entry sequences so we could listen to the music. But this year THQ worked some magic. Not only did the company go back to the drawing board to a certain degree — a bold move for any storied franchise — but it managed to reinvigorate in one fell swoop a game that, to be honest, we weren’t so sure we wanted to play again.
But WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 is definitely a game you’ll want to play, and for a whole host of reasons. On the superficial side, where we were fascinated last year with the distinct entry sequences, Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 actually has distinct wrestlers. From clothing to mannerisms to actual facial and body structure, no detail has gone unaccounted for, which does wonders for your overall immersion in the game and its WWE-infused world.
The immersion spreads to the control scheme as well, which isn’t really any less complex than in previous years but feels more approachable due to the new Training Facility feature. The first thing players will encounter upon hitting Start, the Training Facility gives instruction for every move in the game, from complex grapples to such simple things as climbing out of the ring.
Once you feel comfortable with the moves, it’s time to head to the updated Career Mode, which features The Energy RC-Micro home theater system delivered the sound for this review.more than 50 WWE actors — er, athletes. Although each character looks, acts and moves differently, the move set is the same for each, so the Training Facility is something even series vets will want to run through, even if just for a refresher. With each victory, players can upgrade their character’s strength, speed and toughness — all of which will be helpful as you head out on the Road to Wrestlemania, which gives multiple storylines to follow on the way to the belt.
But come on, who really wants to fight through pre-conceived storylines? I mean, we can all come up with stuff that’s twice as outlandish, right? Well, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 gives us all the chance to finally find out, as there’s a new Story Designer that lets you plot your course to fame and fortune and then share it with the online Community. Couple that with the ability to totally customize your own wrestler, and I have a feeling the WWE execs are going to be calling-up some real-world gamers for assistance in the scripting department.
With all these elements in tow, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 is the definitive WWE title of the past several years, if not ever. The level of detail, the foresight that went into planning the Story Designer and character creator, the Training Facility to catch newbies up to speed without dumbing the game down for franchise vets…the title really has it all. Granted, the WWE by its very nature isn’t for everyone, but for anyone who owns a current-gen console and enjoys the drama that is Smackdown vs. Raw, this is one title you’ll want to add to your holiday wish list.
Click the following links to buy the game from Amazon.com:
- WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 for Xbox 360
- WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 for PS3
- WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 for Nintendo Wii
- Score: 8.7
— Martin Ray