Smackdown Vs Raw 2011 Review

Real Talk By: Kimulus

Alright kids, finally the yearly update of Smackdown Vs. Raw has arrived in THQ’s latest installment of the ever popular WWE franchise.  Of course every year they always hype that this is the best wrestling game you can ever get your hands on. Well I am here to tell you I am a veteran of the Smackdown series, I have been playing it ever since the original Smackdown. Wrestling fans and gamers alike, can be assured that my experience with this the WWE and the Smackdown series are legit. So let’s get started.

Okay, as soon as I pop in the disk, I noticed it was pretty much the same set up as SVR 10. You can wrestle in the main title screen by following the prompt on the top right corner. Let’s get right to the biggest and latest edition to the series, the WWE universe. This mode is basically exhibition matches on steroids and THQ claims that we control WWE. However, I noticed some odd things when I started to play it. First of all, I was trying to get a title match with John Cena (who is the default WWE champion in the game) but it won’t let me at all.  It turns out you have to climb a ranking system….in the EXIBITION MODE. What happened to “you can control the WWE universe”?! I mean I want the title off Cena, I mean every wrestling fan can agree Cena as champion is like watching paint dry.  If you insert your create a wrestler in the title match, the match just turns normal. I do not get that at all.  They claim that they give us the power to control rivalries and every aspect of the WWE, I believe this is 100 percent false advertising. It is frustrating to know that you have to win series of matches to get the title…in a EXHIBITION MODE. A lot of people are finding ways around this it seems theres a “title glitch” that gives you the power to put anyone in a title match. Wow THQ… I mean people shouldn’t be finding loopholes in something you control.

Speaking of matches, the game play has been tweaked yet again.  I was actually satisfied with the SVR 10 grappling system, but THQ and Yukes managed to f-up things seriously this time.  They had to tweak the grapple system.  Now it seems that you can only do 4 grapple moves.  Almost everyone that has this game is baffled at the grappling system and wonders why they pull off the same four moves.  Plus now it only takes one button to reverse everything.  I mean seriously?! Did the kids complain that the SVR series was too hard? The two button reversal system was nice, but I do not get why they even changed the grappling system at all!  The matches are short and boring.  Because of the lack of moves involved in the game, all it takes is just 4 grapple moves, your signature, and your finisher to finish a match.  How lame is that?  I mean yeah they are going for realism here, but they gotta realize that this is a video game.  You want a match to last more than 1 minute.  Of course you can argue well don’t play singles and play some other match type… well I did play other match types…. Without the moves they are still boring.

The other part of SVR 11 is the road to wrestlemania storyline.  You can pick your CAW, Cena, Christian, Jericho, and I forgot the other but I think its Edge. Now here is the thing.  I did not dig the story mode for SVR 10 at all.  It was way too linear and boring, they practically downgraded on the story mode.  THQ and Yukes decided to keep this portion of the game.  I do not get why they don’t touch something they need to improve on, and yet they touch something that they don’t need any improvements on instead.

The other part of this of course is the Create modes. NOTHING new, in create a story line mode, and create an entrance and create a finisher.  I cant blame create a finisher, I mean what can u do besides add new animations… same goes for create a storyline. However, Create an entrance seems to be downgraded. I could have sworn you can pick camera angles for the create a entrance, but some reason that is out of the game now…. All I can say is wow.  Another flaw I found in the create a wrestler mode is that they took the transparency for tattoos out. So if your wrestler has a tattoo it looks like they just pasted a giant goofy ass picture…I mean seriously, why they took the transparency option out…. That was something that baffled me.

If you think the single player was something to talk about, you can pretty much guess how the online mode works. One button reversals are a nightmare.  Nobody can ever hit each other anymore, and not only that THQ decided that people need online access codes to play online. Way to sell out THQ do you seriously need to reap more money??  How about you start making wrestling games better?

Overall, casual gamers should stay away from this game. Unless you are new to the Smackdown series and not much of a wrestling fan, you would probably enjoy it for an hour. However, long time Smackdown veterans will be very, very disappointed.  I still do not get why they don’t follow AKI’s grappling system like in No Mercy. People on the boards seem to say oh I enjoy this game and such, but that’s because your trying to justify your purchase for 60 dollars. I have to be the biggest fool to spend 60 dollars on this, but I am a wrestling fan, and a hardcore one at that. This game is only recommended for hardcore WWE fans because we all know anything Vince throws at us, we will eat it up.

Smackdown vs Raw 2011 gets MF M out of five

What’s legit:

+WWE Universe mode is a fresh Idea.

What’s Perpetrating:

-New grappling system
-There is no “absolute” control in WWE universe
-Did not improve anything on Story mode.
-Baffling downgrades with create mode.
-Smackdown now needs online codes to play online. Otherwise its 10 bucks.

While im at it, THQ and Yukes if you are seeing this here are the list of things you definitely need to improve on.

  • WWE universe mode needs to give absolute authority to the players.
  • Grappling system needs to be like No Mercy
  • Stop downgrading create modes and stop using the same animations over and over again
  • Don’t betray your fans by adding an online code to access online material.
  • Why are you guys not improving on story mode?????
  • If at all , please just stop making WWE games period.
  • Yes this is my last game with the series. I’ve had enough.

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9 thoughts on “Smackdown Vs Raw 2011 Review

  1. I totally agree with your review man, it’s like the only review I’ve read that captures how I feel about this game in a nutshell. Whenever I play this game online it makes me want to punch a hole in the wall. They still have an ancient P2P system when a game that requires precision like SVR so obviously needs dedicated servers to stop the lag. But NO, that would cost money! Asking us to pay for online privileges was the nail in the coffin for me on this franchise. They have the license for another 8 years so it saddens me somewhat. Ah well, I still have my Ps2 😀


  2. I read your review and the first thing that instantly came to mind was ‘this guy has played the game for like 2-3 hours at most.’

    If you actually bothered to delve deeper into the game itself, you’d realise that a lot of the points you raise are flawed.

    ‘4 Grappling moves’ for a start. Yes, you have 4 STRONG grapples now instead of the previous confusing set of about 30 that made Smackdown a real daunting prospect for new players, but you have like 8-10 weak grapples, more floor grapples than before (depending on location) a whole host of new corner grapples, a more innovative signature/finisher setup (no more constant kick to the gut to set up) and now the ability to choose where the move lands (although I’ll give you that aspect is a touch difficult to control still.)

    Try a match on Legendary and tell me you ‘just have to hit your 4 grapples, signature and finisher to win’.

    Secondly, the tagline this year is ‘This is your moment’, nothing to do with giving full control of the WWE Universe to the player.

    The whole aspect of the WWE Universe mode is that wrestlers have to EARN shots at the title, it’s trying to replicate the real WWE, when was the last time you just saw a random guy get a title shot?

    If you’re so unhappy with Cena as champ, you can strip him of the belt and put it on someone else in the My WWE tab, simples.

    I admit the mode isn’t perfect (the constant make-up, break-up of tag teams is annoying, especially if you’ve spent time giving the team an entrance etc only to have it wiped a few shows later) but it’s a good mode to prolong shelf life in the absence of a G.M mode.

    The fact you’ve said NOTHING has changed about Create-a-Storyline probably shows your ignorance of the game most clearly, as if you’d bothered to use it for even 2-3 minutes you’d see how much it has been improved upon since last year.

    The ability to create branches, different cutscenes based on different results, moment-specific interference, pre-match fitness levels etc is all a huge step forward for the mode.

    Glad to see that as such a ‘veteran’ of the Smackdown series you did your research on the Road to WrestleMania mode.

    This is the THIRD year they have used this type of career mode, so they didn’t ‘downgrade the story mode’ last year and although I agree it’s a bit limited, they are fun while they last.

    You fail to mention all the positive steps the game has taken, not once did you mention the new weapon mechanics that take huge steps towards your beloved No Mercy, which wrestling gaming fans really need to start getting over.

    Yes, it was GREAT game, it had a good grappling system and is still pretty fun to play, but it’s TEN YEARS OLD and for all it’s positives it had some MAJOR flaws (cart-wiping problem, god-awful writing, lack of FMV due to being N64 exclusive etc.)

    Oh and for your information, I’m not ‘trying to justify spending $60’ by saying I think SDVsRaw2011 is a good game, because I got a review copy sent out a few weeks back for free, so if the game was horrific I’d happily admit it.


    1. thank you for your feedback its greatly appreciated. You were initally right on your thoughts on “this guy only played it only 3 hours when he reviewed this”. I would give this game one more score up now since I have gotten used to it. But the fact still remains, WWE universe mode deceived the fans greatly and the story line mode is tailored towards children. What can you expect though? WWE has gone PG and sold out on the real fans. As for the create a story line mode, yes its great, but honestly are you going to spend all that time making story lines? Isnt Smackdown originally for playing a wrestling game? The story line only is an interesting add-on that enhances to Smackdown experience, but I am talking about the actual match mechanics of the game, in the storyline, you will have to play matches no?


      1. I too have played the game even more and I do agree with you a little more on some points now.

        The gameplay is a little on the quick side, which makes multiplayer (offline) matches quite fun, but does make the actual matches kind of a side-point in the RTWM mode, rather than the ‘main event’ as it were.

        I agree the whole PG-13 aspect of WWE as of late is slowly ruining it, and sure some of that has rubbed off on the game.

        Some of the RTWM storylines aren’t bad, especially Christians for all the long time fans, but I felt like I was just playing ones like Cena’s just to get to the end of it, I preferred the older open ended style where you could just play and play.

        The more you play WWE Universe mode the more you do notice it’s limitations and certain aspects that are stupidily frustrating, like the constant team break ups, hopefully next year they can build on this and make it slightly more customisable.

        Fully agree on the create a storyline mode, I don’t have the time or patience to sit and plan out a whole sprawling saga (as much as I’d like to knock up a nWo angle) but for those that do, this year is a vast improvement and I’m hoping THQ realise they could put out a few more official ones to keep the game fresh.

        I think they did A LOT of things right this year, but it still needs working on. I’d love to see G.M mode back personally, but a lot of people don’t like it.

        I guess it’s the old ‘you can please everyone some of the time, but you can’t please everyone all of the time’ thing, there are always going to be people who like bits and don’t like others.

        Nice to have a well constructed debate! Sorry if I came off a little aggressive in my first post, it wasn’t intended!


      2. Oh I wasn’t offended my your comment at all, I found it constructive. I found your comment of “you can’t please everyone” an aspect I completely agree with. However, the WWE has even stated 78 percent of their fan base is 18 and over. If that is true, I do not understand why they do not tailor the storyline modes for at least for teens and seemed to have tweaked the game play for little kids. I mean if you can’t please everyone, at least please the majority. This is something I will never get from WWE, they only listen to the minority of the fanbase and not the core.


  3. how will i be able to strip cena as a wwe champion in my wwe. i didnt find any options of title settings in my wwe. and is it possible to play a championship match randomly in exhibition mode like it was in raw vs smackdown 2010?


    1. To answer your question, all you have to do is goto “my wwe” and then click on the wrestler who u want the title on. It is pretty lame I know. If you want it to make it more exciting, you can use the title glitch system. Give Cena a title EG: ECW title. Then play a custom match in whatever. As you pick cena, press advanced, and then it should say title match and just select the WWE title and cena will defend it regardless of that stupid rank system that you cant even customize.


  4. i love the game but it does indeed have some pretty big flaws. the problem with the grapple system lies not in the system itself, but in how easy it is to get your apponent groggy, to the point where you really are doing only four moves, and missing out on the chain grapples. what really ticked me off this year, was just how many moves they removed. i’ve been a long time svr fan and i have always used the cutter as my finisher, why they removed it confuses the heck out of me. they claim that they felt the animations were not up to par but we still have the crappy version of the cross rhodes.

    i think the issues with create a finisher could be fixed if they used a different engine for it, maybe a modified engine from HUGE amount of server crashing, but i was happy with being able to modify downloaded CAWs. the weapon system is great this year, though i think it needs some fixing (tables may break, but not realistically) and what i found annoying about universe mode was them constantly making everything about the titles. i don’t want my CAW constantly going after a title (mostly due to the limitations in entrances when you have a title).

    i noticed you mentioned being unable to change camera angles in create-an-entrance. this confused me a bit too but you can actually change the angles by previewing a section while editing your entrance, then you can change it.

    all in all, the game took a step foreward, but not near as big a step as it could have been. hopefully with TNA having got a new company to make there games (TNA Impact! 2011 will be out this spring) it’ll force THQ to step their game up. but i am not upset about having purchased the game itself.


  5. I personally reccommend sticking with smackdown vs raw 2010. 2011 was a waste of my money. the main thing i hated about 2011 was that the a.i was way too easy on legend difficulty


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