Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 E3 Impressions

Back when Smackdown débuted on the PlayStation in 2000, it immediately became a huge hit with wrestling fans. Since then, THQ has been releasing yearly Smackdown titles, now called Smackdown vs. Raw, to great commercial and critical success. The upcoming Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 will be the 12th game to come out of the wrestling franchise, but what improvements have been made since the last year?

The game they had set up featured a ‘Tables, Ladders, and Chairs’ match between several characters. For those that have played previous installments of the Smackdown vs. Raw series the controls feel very similar. Movements are more fluid now, as well as the moves and grapple attacks.

Striking attacks are still button based. Performing these attacks will wear down your opponent allowing for much more devastating attacks through the grappling system. The grappling system is handled through the a stick based control method. This allows your characters to do their basic moves that ultimately lead to your finisher attack.

One of the main noticeable differences with the TLC match was that the way to win the match has changed. No longer does the wrestler simply hold onto the belt that is hanging above the ring while a timer slowly decreases. Instead, now the right analog is used here to grab the briefcase while standing on top of a ladder. When instructed to do so your wrestler must pull down to take the briefcase and so win the match.

While on top of the ladder many things can happen, both good and bad. As another player was attempting to get the briefcase I ran up another ladder and clotheslined him off his perch. These spontaneous and unique moments are what define the WWE series, as the joy of watching a competitor’s wrestler plummet to the ground as you stand victorious, above all, can’t be rivalled.

While the basic attack premise isn’t difficult, and hasn’t changed a lot year to year, people still come back for the gameplay. Improved fluidity, updated visuals and wrestling roster makes the game a worthy upgrade for owners of ’10, and the simplicity of the controls means that newcomers to the franchise will quickly get used to the game. Good wrestling titles are always very enjoyable, and Smackdown vs. Raw 2011 is no exception. Be sure to check it out when it comes out this October.