WWE SmackDown Vs. RAW 2011 Preview - Gamescom 2010

Posted by Grey Saturday, August 21, 2010

Following last month's preview on the twelfth installment of THQ and Yuke's WWE SmackDown vs. RAW series after E3 2010, we take another close look at WWE SmackDown Vs. RAW 2011 at Gamescom's big blowout. To an overwhelming positive effect.

As aforementioned, we have done a preview entry on WWE SmackDown Vs. RAW 2011 earlier, complete with a dozen of screenshots, and a commentary on new features like the more realistic aspects of objects such as tables and ladders. Nothing particularly interesting, I'll have to admit. But with the big blowout from THQ and Yuke's during Gamescom, things are certainly shaping up to be extremely intriguing. In summary, an updated roster consisting of more than seventy WWE Superstars (till now, confirmed roster includes: The Undertaker, Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, The Miz, John Cena, Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, Jack Swagger, Triple H, Big Show, Evan Bourne, Christian, Edge, Bret Hart, Michelle McCool, and Eve), Create-A-Superstars attributes will be fully adjustable from the get-go, players can once again get to roam freely in the backstage environments in Road to WrestleMania mode, Hell in a Cell has been enlarged, complete with weapons under the ring, and one hell of a kickass concept by the name of "WWE Universe", that basically encompasses the entire gameplay experience outside of online matches and Road to WrestleMania. Let's get into the details.

First and foremost, the "WWE Universe", an innovative concept that will surely change the entire SmackDown experience as we know it. In summary, exhibition mode, championships allocation, stables creation, rivalries management are all going to collide into one huge mode. Automatically generating an events calendars, be it Raw, Superstars, SmackDown or a pay-per-view, this card, which is not generated at random, is a card that is based on the feuds, factions and your ranking on the system, and it will continue to evolve, with the ultimate goal being to elevate your ranking by winning enough matches to set up pay-per-view title bouts and from there, increasing the respective Superstar's standing. These standings will be indicated on the main menu of which a ticker displaying upcoming matches and rankings with red down arrows and green up arrows.

All these matches, like the exhibition mode of late, are perfectly customizable. Players can change the matches, set up the tag-teams in whatever ways they like. And what's best, is that the game will memorize your selections, react to them by crafting a feud over it, just like the regular WWE TV programming you knew and loved (or hated, for that matter). End match cutscenes will be affected by this relentless storyline generator engine based on alliances, enemies, and respective titles allocation.

All in all, "WWE Universe" is the monster child of career mode and exhibition mode of WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011. And if you are an absolute control freak who simply detested the idea of being surprised, you can simply turn the mode off by clicking the thumbstick at the main menu. But that would totally ruin the entire idea of watching WWE TV programmings, or the general wrestling industry, for that matter. A career mode without the fuzz of being a career mode, and the all-too-predictability of WWE storylines being generated on the fly is way too cool to pass it up. With purportedly more than a hundred random cutscenes set before, during and after the match-ups, the potential fun is near infinite. The random sequences in this one totally stimulates my much-forgotten nostalgic memory of WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role back in 2000. I can played the game to no end with the innovative create-a-PPV mode and its endless season mode with random storylines. And now we get both. How cool is that?

While I'm pretty sure a big bulk of my time are going to spent checking out the "WWE Universe", the Road to WrestleMania will also be getting that much belated facelift, shredding the linear gameplay which is running way off its course already. In SmackDown vs. Raw 2011, players will have free-roaming access to the locker room, the boss’ office, the garage/loading areas, and a training room that can be used to boost stats. But these free-roaming has its consequences as narratives and events will be affected by interactions which might led to a backstage brawl or forming of an alliance. The decision to fight or not to fight backstage will affect alliances and enemies in the ring. Players can also navigate using a cell phone, which is also used to receive calls to make allies and enemies, just like its predecessor. A player's decision to fight or not to fight backstage affects alliances and enemies in the ring. Another cool new features in Road to WrestleMania would be an unlockable Bill and Ted-style time machine that can be used to go back in the story and relive or change a narrative's history. Makes all those memory management a breeze, isn't it?

Meanwhile, Superstar points system will be a much-needed function (instead of a throw away feature) as upgrades will be necessary as the long hard Road to WrestleMania will be getting harder the closer you get.

You might be wondering already with the demise of traditional career mode, how exactly is your created wrestler going to get his/her statistic on par with the regular roster? Wonder no more, THQ and Yuke's has decided to simply do away with the system by providing all the attribute points you would like to have to fill the game's fifty slots of created wrestlers.

In keeping with the changing trend, Hell in a Cell has also been revamped in terms of realism as the structure will now be bigger than it ever was with walls far enough from the ring that steel steps are in there, and players can enter their hardcore overdrive by bringing in whatever they can find behind the apron. The door has also been removed from the cell, making the only way out being performing opponent-hurling moves into the wall closest to the announce table.

Reversal is also a key point of contention for change with new move positions to place opponents being implemented. Certain moves like the fisherman's suplex will also come with an option to pin or not by having a button prompt that will pop up on the screen for you to make the decision.

Also unprecedented will be the ability to change existing Superstar attribute points. Further improving the TV presentation style of last year installment, the game will now automatically clips highlights from your match and plays them back after the bell, while respective champions will have their names on their belts.

After all the positive news, let's balance the universe a little by breaking out a little negative one. In keeping to their stance towards UFC Undisputed 2010, THQ will be adopting the new THQ online plan of which new copies of the game will ship with a voucher code on the instruction manual that grants free access to online features as well as the first batch of downloadable talent and ring attire. For those buying a used one or renting, borrowing it without the code, they will only get a seven-day trial period for the online features before having to pay $10 for the features. Not a major downer for most people, I guessed.

There's a lots of goodness THQ and Yuke's jamming up into this one, so do watch out for the title this October 26th. In the meantime, check out the truly awesome newly released screenshots.

Update September 25th: IGN has posted a new clip on the much-talked about new function called "WWE Universe".


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