What's up "rasslin" fans? This is RDLee from the weekly WWE Monday Night Raw report. I'm going to try a different approach this time in my review. I want to break down what I liked and didn't like about this years Smackdown v.s. Raw game. I felt that it was better suited for this format since this is the first year I've truly had some complaints that I couldn't keep to myself. I hope you understand that I love the game overall but I wanted to be totally honest with you and let you know that I think about it. I am a longtime fan of the series and have been with it since the start. So please don't think the negative portion of what I have to say is done because I feel the need to bitch and moan like most reviewers tend to do. And also keep in mind that I normally am not as picky in terms of WWE games as I was with this years installment. I am simply calling it down the middle as I see it since I am also a fellow pro wrestling fan and big time hardcore gamer.
- The new physics engine. This awesome new addition to the franchise changes the way you enjoy weapons based matches forever. You can now put people thru tables with ease by simply directing your opponent mid move towards it. You can also now ram your foe into ladders, run them into steel steps, slam them onto chairs and more thanks to this awesome new feature. During a TLC match I even got a cool secret achievement for pushing my enemy off the top of a ladder where he fell outside the ring thru a table that was already set up. The physics engine is one of the highlight additions to the series.
- The roster. With over 70 plus playable superstars, divas and legends it's hard to complain about the notable ommissions like the Great Khali and Dudebusters. The DLC that is coming soon will also add to that already massive number by adding Layla, The Nexus, British Bulldog and Lex Luger. Also there is a few TNA stars in this game that turned some people's head like the newest TNA Knockout, Mickie James and former TNA World Champion Rob Van Dam. This is easily the best and most up to date roster since Here Comes The Pain in my opinion.
- The flex muscle system. This new feature really helps add some much needed realism to the already improved graphics this year. The most popular example to use when talking about this addition is when watching Triple H's entrance you will notice his muscle tone moving in a life like manner while he does his poses on the apron and middle rope. My personal favorite moment is seeing Ezekial Jackson's new entrance where he goes into his Hogan inspired pose in ring by flexing his massive arms. It really makes it look less video game-ish but more realistic which is always appreciated. It's a lowbrow addition that deserves to be credited way more than it has been in most reviews I've read.
- The Road To Wrestlemania. I always enjoy these stories each year. While some are better than others the sad thing is that most of them are so good that it makes you wish the real life WWE tv was simular. The two that stood out most this year were the Christian RTWM and the Undertaker one. In Christian's you reuninte with Edge and get to reek of awesomeness once again as you two take over the WWE Universe with sunglasses on and kazoos! Yes... kazoos! The Undertaker's RTWM allows you to pick from a couple different WWE stars or you very own CAW and begin a tale where you try to become the man who breaks Takers WM streak. It's very well done and features tons of cameos from Undertakers past. I highly recommend you playing through that one first. The other 3 stories include one for Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho and John Cena. They aren't memorable by any means but are still fun and better than most current WWE storylines on tv.
- Improved create-a-finisher mode. There are several more animations that we added to the already featured front grapple and top rope dive positions. This year they added in a new position in the corner grapples. Now you can recreate most of your favorite finishers but with more impact than ever. Ever imagine doing a Stone Cold Stunner off the top rope? Now you can make that happen! Ever wanted CM Punks Pepsi Plunge from his indy work in a game? Well you can create that too and tons more when you let your imagination and creativity run wild. I was very pleased with all the new stuff they added in this mode and have no doubt it will keep me busy for a while.
- WWE Universe. This is the one new mode that everyone hyped as being the next big thing in WWE wrestling games. I will agree that it has some potential to be amazing in future installments but sadly it is not this year. It's easily one of the most disappointing aspects of the game and it's almost impossible to not be forced to play it since they have designed it to keep track of everything you do even in exhibition mode. THQ claimed to have 50 plus cutscenes in the game but after playing in it for 20 hours+ I've seen only the same 4-5 over and over again. Also the run in's are non stop and in nearly every single match I've played. I voiced my concern about this to SvR producer Marcus Stephenson on Twitter and he told me the interference would die down soon. Well I've played several hours since he said that to me and it's become clear that he was incorrect because it's still happening in 9 out of my 10 matches at this point. The worst thing about the intereference is that it is totally random and doesnt't lead to anything after they happen. I had Primo come down and attack Randy Orton during a match with John Cena. They weren't rivals before that or even after that occured. No follow up whatsoever. Just total randomness that makes no sense. Another big problem I have with the WWE Universe is the fact that it will randomly form tag teams and break up any and all stables you create within a matter of weeks without your consent. They ask you if you want to keep a tag team when it's formed by the CPU but don't say anything when it's disbanded. Makes no sense at all. One last gripe is the fact that you can only defend titles in this mode and it's all dependent on what they CPU decides on who the number one contender is. Also you only get to fight for titles on the PPV shows on the schedule and if you try to change the challenger it voids the title match stip. It's retarded as hell. Overall I feel that Universe is a brilliant idea that was unfortunately executed poorly. Hopefully next year they will improve this mode and make it MY WWE Universe like they hyped it up to be and NOT THQ's WWE Universe like you actually get when you play it.
- CAW issues. Apparently this year they removed a ton of features that helped top CAW designers make accurate and near perfect characters. The transparency option has been taken out which allowed folks to blend colors and make faces or body signatures more life like. This has outraged the entire SvR community and they are demanding a patch be released by THQ right away to address this idiotic decision. Another problem I discovered today is that when you make a story and wish to upload it in the story designer mode online you can only use your own CAW's and not a downloaded one which is utterly stupid. This really pissed people off who were hoping to download some of the best CAW's they could find and make TNA or ROH style invasion storylines to share with their friends. THQ has got to understand that most people suck at making CAW's including me, (even though I made a kick ass Aaron Wood CAW last year) and also downloading them saves folks a ton of time if they don't have hours to make a perfect CAW for their story. With that being said I hope this is something THQ will also take note of if they release a patch for the other issues. We can only hope and pray for some results in a timely fashion.
- The movesets. This year I was outraged by most of the default move sets they assigned to wrestlers. It's a pretty sad day when I have to go in to Big Show's moves and actually assign him his frigging Showstopper chokeslam because he has two of the same KO punch finishers given to him already. It's pure lazyness and stupidity if you ask me. Now sure you can go in there and edit them yourself but that's beside the point. The bottom line is that the people that make the game get paid to do this shit right and when they fail they expect us to pick up their slack and waste all of our time doing it ourselves. Think about it like this: It takes on average 15 minutes to go in and adjust each person's move set. Now take that 15 minutes and times it by 70. Now you've got 1,050 minutes which translates into 17 hours it would take to update all the movesets in the game if you are a perfectionist like me. That's ridiculous! And to top it off they took out a TON of moves this year including many clotheslines, shining wizards, spears, and other signature moves like the Undertakers flying clothesline. WHY? It makes no sense to take away from a game they should be only adding to every year. There are a lot of unhappy people out there right now bitching on mesage boards about this raw deal. Hopefully THQ will respond by adding some of these moves back in it for us on a future DLC. If not, they had better be in next year or people will riot!
So, there you have it. That's my honest list of pros and cons for this years game. I'm sure there is much more I could mention both good and bad but the bottom line is that this game is still good regardless of my complaints. The core gameplay is still excellent and they made it much smoother than previous years. There are more natural reversal animations, better speed of gameplay and overall adjustability in terms of the match you want to have thanks to the new match creator option. For a game that gets so much attention and hype each year I always expect more in some areas but this is the first year where I was really let down this much. I don't want my truth to run you off from picking it up because it's still a must own for WWE fans regardless of it's shortcomings. I am hopeful that THQ will respond to the known issues and make them right before fans become annoyed and change their mind about purchasing next years game as well. I know that I will always but any WWE game that comes out but that's mostly because I try to collect them all (like Pokemon!) The only thing I have failed to talk about it the online part of the game but I haven't played it yet. I've heard the lag issue is much better but still peaks it's ugly head out every once and a while just like it does in most games. They also added a 12 player online Royal Rumble this year which should be fun to try out for fans of that match type. I can't wait to try it, post your gamertag below if you want to play it sometime with the WWI Universe.
As always, please feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what your thoughts are on the game and if you think I forgot to mention anything in this review that you might be wondering about. If I had to give a score I would give this game a solid
8 out of 10. It's the best SvR game to date but obviously still has plenty of room for improvement in next years version. This was a hard review to do because even with all my complaints aside I still believe it's a ton of fun and can be enjoyed by all wrestling fans young and old. I hope you found this review helpful. Thanks for reading and Stay Classy!