In recent times, THQâ€™s Smackdown vs Raw has featured several interesting gimmicks to further the seriesâ€™ evolution. Last time it was the tag-teams getting attention; this time around the finisher creation has been enhanced with a bunch of new creation and customisation modes â€“ it truly is â€śyour world nowâ€ť.
Smackdown vs Raw 2010 brings a bunch of new additions to the franchise, most notably a much expanded creation mode. However, the first thing youâ€™ll notice after pushing start is the Training Facility. Itâ€™s a simple training mode in which you can select wrestlers, set conditions, and pull off moves as promoted, which are then ticked off as you perform them. It's a great way for beginners to get into the action.
When you get into the matches you will find they have been tweaked a lot: the heads up display has been reduced to a momentum ring around your wrestlerâ€™s legs, and the health meters are gone; players will have to rely on watching their wrestler's movement, looking at which body part they are favouring and looking for red spots on the opponent.
The grapple system has had an overhaul too, while it retains the basic, strong and ultimate control grapples from the previous titles. Smackdown vs Raw 2010 allows players to switch positions when in a strong grapple by moving the analogue stick, or strike, and submission holds are now assigned to R3. In addition, you can now strike from a grapple, while moves seen in previous titles such as the Ultimate Control moves remain.
Pinning has also been refined: by default Smackdown vs Raw 2010 has a double press system to kick out of pins â€“ similar to the one Yukeâ€™s used in Legends of WrestleMania. In this system timing is everything, and the more beat up you are, the harder it is to kick out. Although the new system is arguably a step up from the old mash your way out, Yukeâ€™s has retained the classic button-mashing scheme.
Once youâ€™ve learned the ropes, you can move onto the story modes. Smackdown vs Raw 2010 features a lengthy career mode in which you fight through a few top contenders and challenge for the various belts and the Road to WrestleMania - which consists of five superstar routes and one for a created superstar, each one featuring a different story created by WWEâ€™s wrestlers.
Smackdown vs Raw 2010 adds a few new match types and tweaks a few existing ones. The highlight of the new match types is the Championship Scramble, in which the title passes between wrestlers until the timer runs out - whoever has the title at the end, keeps it.
Among the changes to existing matches, the most notable are changes to the Royal Rumble. In previous iterations it was a matter of button mashing or wearing someone out before tossing them out; in SvR: 2010, itâ€™s a matter of either having the finisher icon and Irish-whipping your victim into the corner, then triggering the finisher for an easy elimination. If your finisher isnâ€™t available there is a new mini-game where you mash a specified button, and switch as indicated. Likewise, if youâ€™re about to be knocked out and have a finisher icon available you can trigger it to get back in instantly. The new system is a mixed bag; the button mashing makes it difficult to take someone out without help, and trying to fight your way back in without a finisher icon is just as hard.
Smackdown vs Raw 2010â€™s biggest draw card is the amount of input the player has into move and wrestler creation. In addition to the modes previously implemented - such as wrestler, stable and entrance creation - you can create a new story line, new outfits for custom/pre-loaded stars, and the create a finisher mode has been expanded to include top rope moves.
Unfortunately, the top rope option has a smaller move set and the chain limit is shorter - donâ€™t expect to create a move where you can flip 10 times in mid-air into a diving headbutt, or equally impossible moves.
The most notable addition to the creation system is online sharing - you can upload and share your creations or search for one on Xbox Live or PlayStation Network. Itâ€™ll be interesting to see what comes of it. At the time of writing notable wrestlers available included Hulk Hogan, â€śMacho Manâ€ť Randy Savage, Raven, Chris â€śCanadian Cripplerâ€ť Benoit, and Sting. Other creations included Street Fighterâ€™s Zangief, Superman and numerous Final Fantasy characters.
As polished as Smackdown vs Raw 2010 is, it still feels rushed in a few areas. Most notably, the commentary is a little off at times. In one case, I performed a big boot while using Edge, but the next thing I heard was a commentator referring to Edge as â€śSnitskyâ€ť, and - in an all woman match - one of the commentators referred to a competitor as â€śheâ€ť.
Visually, Smackdown vs Raw 2010 really shines in the finer details such as red marks on wrestlers - which replace the injury indicator on the hud - and the rope will deform if a wrestler gets his foot in it. Unfortunately there are a few texture glitches on the tables, and the camera occasionally zooms out too far while youâ€™re outside the ring, obscuring your view.
Overall, Smackdown vs Raw 2010 has a few glitches, but the improvements far outweigh the negatives. If you were ever looking for a WWE title where you write the story or spam the online services with b-grade knock offs of Cloud Strife, look no further.