RELEASED: October 2009
AVAILABLE ON: DS, PS2, PS3, PSP, Wii, X360
DEVELOPER(S): TOSE (DS), Yuke's
We've come to the end of an era. I am still very interested in professional wrestling history, but nothing that has happened during the last year and a half. About exactly a year and a half ago, I bought the very last professional wrestling game I will probably ever buy. I would very much like to think buying it was just a bad habit of mine - the last three games in the SmackDown vs. Raw series had disappointed me on some level. Well, I had some extra money, I necessarily wanted to buy a new PS3 game, and this one just called out to me. I knew back then, that if I did buy it, it was going to be the last wrestling game for me. Not a bad way to put an end to a cycle - WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 was the best wrestling game released in four years. There's no easy way to put its greatness into words, but its only true downside can easily be explained: there's no challenge to it besides the usual learning curve.
Maybe not fresh, yet certainly solid
As far as the visuals go, I think the game looks a lot more at home on the PlayStation 3 than the previous game did. I think that here they finally drew a clear line between the PS2 and PS3 versions. The mo-cap technology and the physics engine work wonders; for the first time I feel like I'm really watching wrestling instead of playing a game. Created superstars look better than ever - again, for the first time, it's possible to create a wrestler or Diva that really look like they belong in the game. Finally, I have nothing to complain about when it comes to the commentary. During Road to WrestleMania, both teams are on the mark all of the time and discuss things that actually have happened during the storyline, instead of repeating generic lines about how their show is better than the other one and cracking cheap jokes on each other. Even during exhibition, they make comments about the arena - there's a difference between having a match at Summerslam or SmackDown! - and they have a wide array of different comments in store for all wrestlers in the game. Finally they had some interest in making the commentary sound real.
|After 11 years in the virtual wrestling business, |
This is the final review of a WWE game I'll probably ever write. Not the last review of a wrestling game, but the last review of a game in the most important wrestling game franchise ever. I've had a long trip from 1989 to 2009, and I must say I'm even a bit surprised how I reacted to some games that I used to like a lot, such as WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007. Unoriginality has plagued the last few games. There's always been these one or two gimmicks to all of the games released since Here Comes the Pain. In the case of 2006, it was the immersive GM Mode, which was such a huge part of the gameplay experience that it left a mark. None of the games that came after had anything that big. Well, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 has nothing. It's a shameless update to all the working formulas from the past. Seriously, it has nothing really new - as in a feature that is hyped to high hell, but either it doesn't work, or it really isn't an essential part of the game. If you are interested in going deeper into the game, past the Career Mode and Road to WrestleMania, both of which were already in the last iteration, there is Story Designer. It isn't forced upon you in any way; however, depending on your skills and patience, you might find it the most intriguing feature in a WWE game ever. More about that later, let's check out the usual basics.
|Captain Charisma's come home!|
Career Mode from the previous game is brought back as a slightly improved version. It's still kind of boring. To those who haven't played the previous game, let me explain it as briefly as I can: you take a superstar, preferrably your own creation, and contend for every championship in the WWE, with the ultimate goal of becoming a WWE Hall of Famer. Unlike in WWF Raw for the PC and Xbox all those years ago, you can't win the Women's Championship as a male wrestler, though - sorry if that disappointed someone. This wasn't my favourite gameplay mode in 2009, and it still isn't. My favourite mode in 2009 was Road to WrestleMania, and it still is.
|No one wants to be in the ring with Taker.|
OK, you've done it all. You played through all game modes, the Career and all the Roads to WrestleMania. You unlocked everything. What's left? The Story Designer. So what's that about? What's so special about it? Well... I believe you remember a game called Here Comes the Pain. What if I told you, that you can use the Story Designer to create your own season in the vein of Here Comes the Pain? I am sincerely not kidding here. If you have the skill, and the patience, you can certainly do that. Not only can you make weekly programs like you could in the GM Modes of the past, you can also spice your programming up with handmade cutscenes and promos, write dialogue for them and make a devastating bunch of dream rivalries that never happened. For example, I created half a season of Raw, then I hit a writer's block, so to say. Anyway, my season began with John Cena coming out as a heel and telling how he's beaten everyone who was ever anyone - in my own alternative reality, he had just beaten Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania. He berated former champions and then made a deadly mistake of calling himself "the new people's champion". If there's one individual who hates it when people declare themselves "people's champions", it's The Rock. So, The Rock returns to Raw, beats the shit out of John Cena and ignites my main rivalry for the next three whole months. Awesome.
The Story Designer is not quite as exciting as GM Mode was at its best, since it's no manager sim, it's simply your sandbox and there are no rewards for completing a season. This is not a totally bad thing, since who knows of all of its possibilities? Of course there's a limit to how many matches and cutscenes you can have, but I believe that limit's pretty fair since I already have fully scheduled shows to last me six in-game months and a lot to go in the meter. Where are the last six months, you ask? Blame the Platinum Trophy.
|This reminds me: you can create aerial finishers.|
It may have no substantial new features apart from the Story Designer which some will surely find extremely intriguing, but WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 is a solid, extremely playable game with just about the best controls you can demand from a wrestling game, all of the greatest features of a few of its predecessors, and incredible atmosphere. It may not have the longest lasting appeal ever, but every minute of it is better than any minute spent on 2008 or 2009.
GRAPHICS : 9.3
SOUND : 9.0
PLAYABILITY : 9.0
LIFESPAN : 7.0
CONCLUSION : 8.4
GameRankings: 73.29% (DS), 76.00% (PS2), 80.60% (PS3), 71.00% (PSP), 79.00% (Wii), 81.28% (X360)