23 January 2010

Smackdown vs Raw 2010 - Xbox 360, PS3

Finally … the champ is here.
I’ve been a longtime wrestling fan for many years and played my share of wrestling games. I’ve been to plenty of events, met wrestlers and heck, I’ve even gone to wrestling school. Hopefully that qualifies me enough to be a wrestling fan and give me opinion on THQ’s grappler. I shell out my cash every year to pick up the latest copy of SVR with great anticipation for it to be the better than that last. That is usually the case, but with the good always comes the bad. Not this time. Smackdown vs Raw 2010 is the best wrestling game yet. It’s beautiful, deep and will satisfy even the most judgmental wrestling fanatic.
From the blood, sweat and tears to the long golden locks of HHH, THQ captures the detail and presentation of the WWE. If anything, presentation really puts you in the game and makes you feel like you’ve laced up the boots of your favorite superstar. You would swear you’re watching a pay-per-view event right in your living room. Some great examples are the in-depth instructions and presentation before the 30-man Royal Rumble. It is exactly like ordering the PPV on TV as you watch the announcer informing all wrestlers and fans exactly what to expect for this match. The game gets so detailed that you’ll see a wrestlers feet barely miss the floor before sneaking back in under the bottom rope ready to go another round in the rumble.
As far as the gameplay, fans of the franchise will feel right at home.
Every SVR game comes packed with match types and this one is no slouch. THQ added a few extras like the Championship Scramble and some brand new back stage brawls. With so much content you won’t find yourself running out of matches but instead spending more time thinking of what the match will be and the stipulations. One thing I did notice was the removal of the Casket Match which has always been a lot of fun to play but with the amount of extras it’s not that hard to forgive. Another personal favorite was the fact that all arenas are unlocked straight out of the case. No more battling crazy tasks to unlock the ECW arena or Saturday Night’s Main Event. They are all there as soon as you pick up the controller to play with a buddy. Each arena is also equipped with all the logos and stages that you would find at the actual event right down to the entrance graphics and brand name announcers. Presentation is everything and having the WWE Live logo pop up before each match and then ending with the WWE credits is down right fantastic. You really cannot ask for more for a total broadcast experience.
Smackdown vs Raw 2010 packs a knockout punch. With an overwhelming amount of content the replay value for this game is through the roof. Any wrestling fan will find it hard to put the game down whether playing online, with friends or in one of the many single player careers. There's even a “Build your own story” mode where you can create your own storyline that you have been dying to see on Monday Night Raw.
This is a game you can always put down and then pick right back up again for some of the finest sports entertainment you’ll ever find on a video game system. It’ll be a long time before this game is topped.
I’m headed back to the ring for my shot at being the undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the world. All challenges welcome.
By Stephen O'Blenis

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