WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2011
Gamescom 2010: WWE All Stars & Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 Hands-On Preview - In With The Testosterone
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A visit to THQ’s booth at Gamescom this year allowed us to go hands-on with two upcoming grapplers, both under the auspices of the WWE brand. One is the yearly update of the amazingly successful Smackdown vs Raw series, while the other offers something a little more simplistic, with the emphasis on arcade style fun.

First of all we have Smackdown, which is a prime example of something with changes by degrees. Obviously the title is never going to receive a major overhaul, but the team have tried to introduce a range of subtle alterations that will keep even the most rabid fans happy. As usual there is the graphical facelift, and it is safe to say that all of the wrestlers on show look just like their real life counterparts, right down to the re-imagined ring entrances. There is also room for some behind-the-scenes work via the Havok physics engine, which ensures that all of the objects in the game react and break as they would in real life.

The creation mode in Smackdown vs Raw 2011 has also been given a boost, with even more options than ever before. With over 10 million pieces of user generated content being uploaded from last year’s title alone, it was a major concern for everyone at THQ to ensure players had more to tinker with than ever before. Throw in an expanded roster, better cell matches, an increased range of moves and you pretty much have a well rounded package of minor updates.

Obviously most of these enhancements are purely cosmetic, so what exactly has been added to make this year’s upgrade worthwhile?

The main event here is Universe mode, which basically replaces the regular career and offers a far more in-depth experience. This time around every match, interview and backstage brawl that you take part in will influence the overall make up of the WWE. Rivalries can be formed, friendships made and championships tussled for all over the span of your career. It means that, theoretically, every match that takes place has an impact on the overriding development of your own little WWE universe – hence the name. It sounds like a lofty goal, but we will have to wait and see how things pan out, although if they can succeed in providing a more realistic experience overall, then we are all for it.

Playing the game is going to be very much the same experience though and aside from the new Road to Wrestlemania and Universe modes there may well be little to differentiate this from last year’s offering. It is also worth noting that, as with recent EA games and their own UFC title, THQ will be shipping the game with a code to allow access online – if you do not buy the game new, then you do not get to grapple with your rivals over LIVE unless you buy a code, simple as that. So the pressure is on for THQ to make those unique features as excellent as possible.

Jumping from one side of the scale to the other, next up we had an all too brief hands-on with WWE All Stars, which is as far from the “realism” of the regular WWE games as it is possible to get. Considering it’s being made by the man behind the greatness that is NBA Jam, then you pretty much know what you are letting yourself in for: a game where literally nothing can be considered too over the top.

The wrestlers are stylised caricatures of their real life counterparts and in most instances are so bulked up that the WWE ‘wellness policy’ would have a hard time explaining their roster of Hulk look-alikes. It is all in good fun though and you can expect a roster of familiar names, both new and old, to line up against one another. All the wrestlers will pull from a standard list of moves, but will also fall into one of four categories to determine their key attributes; so will you prefer to be an acrobat, technician, brawler or big man?

It handles like a simplified version of Smackdown, with light and heavy attacks plus a whole bunch of grapple moves. The real difference here is the pace; gone are the steady build up and tactical battles of previous WWE games, in comes the high octane combat. WWE All Stars simply tasks you with pummelling your opponent as quickly as possible, before throwing in some outrageous moves and whirlwind finishers.

The NBA Jam pedigree really comes to the fore in the ring with various grapples, meaning you can leap ten feet in the air with your opponent before slamming them into the canvas in gratuitous slow motion, replete with enormous shockwave. The finishing moves are even more ridiculous and thankfully nice and easy to pull off too. My only quibble comes from the button bashing mini games that accompany pins or submissions, and the fact that players seemed to be able to regenerate health at random intervals – though with such an early build that may not make it into the final game... We hope.

It is fair to say though that the action is fast and frenetic, and no small amount of fun. This title seems to have built on Legends of Wrestlemania from last year perfectly and made it that much more entertaining. Hopefully they can add in enough modes and general silliness to expand the longevity and keep the game fresh, but first impressions are very good indeed.

WWE Smackdown vs. Raw has been scheduled for a November release, while WWE All Stars is on track for a spring 2011 release.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #1 by Shalaris
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 07:27:45 AM
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lol the second screenie looks so fucking gay

Forum Posts: 300
Comment #2 by toonsage
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 07:31:24 AM
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The rock doesn't look like that anymore thou (o.o)

Forum Posts: 321
Comment #3 by KiddingPigeon
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 07:55:18 AM
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code for the online! I hope all games dont get the same idea FFS!

Forum Posts: 3112
Comment #4 by Bleeding Star
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 08:04:38 AM
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I'll no doubt end up buying it on release

Forum Posts: 358
Comment #5 by KashThePriest
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 08:12:38 AM
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The Rock looks like a characateur in that pic. LOL

Forum Posts: 89
Comment #6 by RollaJedi
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 08:35:29 AM
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i believe thats their intent after reading the article

Forum Posts: 27
Comment #7 by MOYFplox
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 08:55:15 AM
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@5...that's because it is The Rock...

And yes, the charatacers are supposed to look like roid monkeys in All-Stars.

Forum Posts: 755
Comment #8 by l.maciver
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 09:05:12 AM
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bit of a mistype there lee.

The NBA Jam pedigree really comes to the fore in the ring with various grapples, meaning you can leap ten feet in the air with your opponent before slamming >...then...< into the canvas

Universe mode almost sounds like RAW2 for the xbox. All stars looks abit nuts and hopefully alot of fun.

Forum Posts: 38
Comment #9 by thecoffeeman03
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 09:56:05 AM
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I'm not sure if I'll get SvR 2011...2009 was the last WWE game I bought and it was waaaay too easy. On the other hand WWE All-Stars I will be getting. Even though they look like "roid monkeys" (lol) it seems like a fun wrestling brawler

Forum Posts: 2286
Comment #10 by Daiphyer.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 09:56:25 AM
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Both games look average.

Forum Posts: 4163
Comment #11 by jackanape
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 10:12:34 AM
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Ha ha, the mistype isn't all my fault. Webb is meant to edit this stuff. It just makes then convo we had last week about me using incorrect words all the more ironic.

Forum Posts: 30
Comment #12 by Astrex
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 10:14:25 AM
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Rock looks more like the Hulk

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #13 by InfinityZeroPLS
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 10:21:30 AM
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why do they want to make it harder on us to go buy the online segment for games isnt that bad for customers and that kinda screws over people that look to buy it used since they are tight on budget

Forum Posts: 1105
Comment #14 by Pixo
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 11:20:18 AM
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Why is The Rock look like he's on a crazy amount of steroids? I know he's not that big.

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #15 by KazRellik
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 12:34:30 PM
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"WWE Smackdown vs. Raw has been scheduled for a November release"

No, no it's not. It comes out October 26th.

Forum Posts: 220
Comment #16 by DarkGin87
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 12:38:20 PM
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all stars is not meant to be a wrestling game it is more of a fighting game which why the characters look beefed up

Forum Posts: 717
Comment #17 by Grummy
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 12:41:13 PM
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@13 Please stop raping the English language and learn to use punctuation. As for WHY they put the codes in, it's simple, the studios don't get any income from 2nd hand game sales, by adding this code and making the purchaser of a 2nd hand copy pay for a code for the online section of game, the studios are then making some profit from the 2nd hand market.

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #18 by NATH4Nx
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 03:57:43 PM
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Game looks great, havent brought a WWE game in a long time though myself.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #19 by darthshaneatron
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 04:22:41 PM
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both look fun svr 2011 should just be dlc though they killed the franchise with 2010. all stars looks fun ill buy it 1000g then my 8 yr old nephew can have it

Forum Posts: 17
Comment #20 by totallykyle101
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 05:15:17 PM
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The 2nd one looks shit, but i'll deffo grab the original series game xD

Forum Posts: 421
Comment #21 by BLQQDCQRE
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 05:17:27 PM
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#1 took the words right out of my mouth.

Forum Posts: 35
Comment #22 by deadseadrop
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 05:41:45 PM
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Both games looks good for different reasons.

Forum Posts: 1843
Comment #23 by TakahashiDemon
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 05:51:42 PM
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Im hoping Sheamus gets a storyline.. European cover is way better, has the Undertaker, Randy Orton and Sheamus on the cover, I also hope Triple H does.. but not likely as he's been out nearly this whole year.

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #24 by havok zwo
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 05:56:17 PM
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"if you do not buy the game new, then you do not get to grapple with your rivals over LIVE unless you buy a code, simple as that. "

hahaha dumb move thq. infact this has actually put me off buying it as i do the others because its the more of a ransom!

Forum Posts: 63
Comment #25 by Gearbolt
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 09:36:23 PM
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Both games look fun.

Forum Posts: 324
Comment #26 by Vulger Spartan
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 10:42:42 PM
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I cant be the only one out there that wants to be able to freely choose to go backstage & fight in a number of locations like you could in WWE SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth etc. I know WWE's all PG rated now but just weeks ago rey Mysterio tossed a dude in a river & Kane then threw rey in also. And there was a backstage fight that spilled into the street with Nexus. why cant they do that anymore?

and what this I hear about playing online costing Money? WTF!? I pay for XBL why should i ay for online for SD vs Raw

Forum Posts: 324
Comment #27 by Vulger Spartan
Wednesday, August 25, 2010 @ 10:46:16 PM
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The people who pre-order Smackdown vs Raw 2011 will get a code to play Smackdown vs Raw 2011 online for free also known as an online pass.

Chris Masters is featured in the game as DLC. Also Rey Mysterio and Kelly Kelly have alternate attires as DLC.

Forum Posts: 579
Comment #28 by Mister Spraggsy
Thursday, August 26, 2010 @ 03:22:00 AM
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The Smackdown vs Raw games need a complete make over in my opinion. For starters they should just make them for the 360/PS3 only. Ok they mite lose out on sales but if they have time to make that dodgy all stars game then they have time to make a dumbed down version of Smackdown vs Raw for the DS, Wii etc.

The game needs so much done, for instance when you suplex someone near the ropes it just pushed you both away so you both land in the ring. When it should ever throw the other person out of the ring or you should react with the ropes.

Forum Posts: 55
Comment #29 by ell635
Thursday, August 26, 2010 @ 04:01:38 AM
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I read an article for the new Smackdown vs Raw 2011 over on, a place well renowned for its Smackdown franchise fanbase. This article was extremely positive, and describes the WWE Universe feature positively, and more detailed than this one. I wouldnt let the negative, unknowledged writer of this article turn you away...

Forum Posts: 35
Comment #30 by Jeff 0ff
Thursday, August 26, 2010 @ 07:09:19 PM
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@28 they sorted that rope problem in the last game.

@29 I agree IGN have a great article on the new smackdown looks very promising, can't wait for both games

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #31 by ROSCO H 5
Tuesday, August 31, 2010 @ 01:36:58 PM
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I hope this game is better. Ive been playing smackdowns from the PS2 days and last years on is the first one i lost intrest in. Please THQ make me smile again!

Forum Posts: 86
Comment #32 by switzr1
Thursday, September 09, 2010 @ 04:46:21 PM
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I hope they fix the Championship Scramble match this year. It's no fun when every pin gets broken up by the computer-controlled wrestlers, especially since there is no strategic reason for a wrestler to break up a fall unless he is the interim champ in the match. Also, the WWE Universe feature in the new game really intrigues me. I'm anxious to see how that works.

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US October 26, 2010

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