WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011 (SVR 2011) developed by Yukes/THQ was released on October 26, 2011 for the PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, and Xbox 360. New features include improvements to object physics in table, ladders and chair matches and the hell in the cell match. The Road to Wrestlemania mode includes backstage roaming and interactions with other wrestlers that impact your Road to Wrestlemania outcome.
Players can edit superstars downloaded from the community creations database, and the story designer allows the use of up to 15 created wrestlers an infinite number of times in your created stories. The new WWE Universe generates a calendar of matches and pay per view events based upon the results of exhibition matches. The Universe mode will automatically create alliances, rivalries, title matches and pay per view cards based upon the way that you play your matches. Various cut scene animations are presented prior, during and after matches to bring your universe to life and simulate the World Wrestling Entertainment experience.
A Solid Title
SVR 2011 remains the most robust wrestling simulation available for console gamers today, It continues the tradition of in depth creation tools such as creating wrestlers, outfits, move sets, finishers, entrances, entrance videos, signs, highlight reels, custom stories, including a new match creation tool. The community creations database is available to download and share the creations of other users. The wrestling game play and controls have been simplified (single reversal button; removal of strong grapple modifiers) so that game play is comfortable for new users. Chain wrestling, reversal moves and animations have been updated so that the actual wrestling simulates realistic professional wrestling more than a simple fighting game. The match selections available and depth of content is unparalleled in any other wrestling game. The Story Designer and new Universe modes add depth and re-playability to standard exhibition matches. The online wrestling options have expanded to include a royal rumble match and performance has improved over the lag that was often present in SVR 2010.
Room for Improvement
Most of the criticism of the game is from devoted fans who purchase and play each annual release of the title, and are sensitive to the detailed nuances in the game.
1. Although new moves have been added, many wrestling moves have been removed
in order to create fresh animations and accommodate the new physics engine in
the game. The reduction in movesets make some of the wrestlers appear similar
and some work is needed by the user to tweak move sets to make each wrestler
2. The backstage roaming element added to the Road to Wrestlemania mode is
very rudimentary. The character interactions are simplistic, and culminate in a
series of repetitive backstage brawl matches. The voice overs and lip synching
is elementary and uninspired. This is a good concept that needs to be developed
in order to provide a meaningful impact. It may be more appropriate in Universe
3. The new Universe mode is an excellent concept and adds re-playability to the
title particularly for gamers who do not want to devote the time required to create
their own stories. However, the introduction of this mode has created some
problems with the standard exhibition mode game play. Major WWE titles can
no longer be defended in exhibition mode and can only be defended at pay per
views within Universe mode. Players can edit standard match participants in
Universe mode but cannot alter contender and title matches. The mode does
not actually track wins and losses and presents a subjective "ranking system
" to determine title contenders. Although you can still manually assign titles,
you cannot directly edit the rankings and must win "many" matches in order to
advance superstars into title matches. In an effort to create unique story lines
for the matches, Universe will create and delete rivalries and stables on the fly.
This would be fine if the mode were stand alone, however stables that you
created may have to be re-created if you want to use them in exhibition, story
designer or other game modes. A true ranking system based upon actual wins
and losses that are recorded and viewable are needed within this mode. The
mode needs to exhibit more varied cut scenes and function as a stand alone
Smackdown vs Raw 2011 is a solid wrestling game with tons of offline modes and online features. The core issue resolves to the actual game play. Although the addition of new physics, moves and chain wrestling maneuvers help, the game needs an upgrade in the actual wrestling mechanics. Many of the moves are still based upon canned animations that play out once a move is initiated. SVR game play needs to evolve to the point where moves can be changed or interrupted at any point during a sequence. Other contemporary titles including THQ's UFC 2010 feature this element of game play and it would be helpful if it could be incorporated in SVR. Many users would be willing to skip the normal annual update in favor of this level of upgrade. In the interim, the depth of content available in SVR 2011 is more than sufficient to enjoy until that upgrade is achieved.