Wii owners who have an affinity for wrestling games have kind of been left in the dark for the past few years. SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 left out nearly every single match type found on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game. Last year’s installment was an improvement, but waggle controls made for a sometimes exhausting experience. It appears that the third time is definitely the charm, though, as SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 on the Wii features all the modes and features of its current-gen brethren, along with more traditional controls.
SmackDown vs. Raw comes filled to the brim with game modes, edit features, and an expansive roster of WWE Superstars, Divas, and Legends. The sheer amount of content is enough to keep gamers busy for hours, days, weeks, and months on end. And while the game is not 100% identical to the versions found on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, it is almost as great as those games.
SmackDown vs. Raw features tons of match types. Players can engage in Extreme Rules Matches, Backstage Brawls, tag team contests, the Elimination Chamber, or the all-new Championship Scramble. These and countless other match types are playable right from the get-go. Feel like setting your opponent on fire? Then ease your brutal craving by participating in an Inferno Match. Like the sight of blood? Then settle it all with a First Blood Match. Perhaps you want to see who the better man is in the ultimate bout of stamina and fortitude. Then leave it all in the ring with a Last Man Standing Match. SmackDown vs. Raw offers players seemingly limitless options.
In addition to all the modes old and new, SmackDown vs. Raw features a revamped Royal Rumble mode. The match now features button combination mini-games in order to eliminate opponents. Simply grapple one of the competitors, drag them to the ropes or turnbuckle, and prompts will appear on screen. You will have to either press certain buttons or mash on them until the victim has been tossed over the top rope. This new system adds an entertaining layer to the game and makes the Royal Rumble fun again, something which it hadn’t really been in quite some time.
Road to Wrestlemania is back, and it features six unique storylines. There are storylines for Edge, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, and Mickie James (the first Diva storyline included in a wrestling game in nearly a decade). There is also a Brand Warfare storyline that revolves around John Cena and Triple H, as well as a storyline which you can go through using your created wrestlers.
Additionally, you can take a Superstar through Career Mode and unlock different championship paths, ultimately earning a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. This mode is, for all intents and purposes, a bit on the generic side and consists only of matches, with no real story unfolding as you progress. Still, it can be fun climbing the ranks and winning different championships.
SmackDown vs. Raw has come a long way, and players will instantly notice the game’s approach to realism. From the wrestlers’ mannerisms, to the way moves are executed, this actually feels like a WWE product. During entrances, a graphic appears onscreen indicating where the program is being televised from; as matches start, the WWE Live icon appears at the bottom left of the screen; and during Road to Wrestlemania, the WWE logo pops up as a scene reaches its end. These are all minor touches that make the whole thing look and feel like a televised WWE event.
Now, a wrestling game can really only be as good as its control scheme, and SmackDown vs. Raw on the Wii offers a number of different control options. Motion controls have been scrapped, and players are left with a traditional control scheme that is more closely associated with the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 controls. If the Wii Remote and Nunchuk option isn’t your ideal choice for a wrestling game, then feel free to use a Classic Controller. Still not feeling it? Well, THQ has finally included GameCube controller support for SmackDown vs. Raw. Each input method works well, but the GameCube controller may be the top pick as it has a more conventional shape and feel.
All of the edit features that gamers have come to expect from SmackDown vs. Raw are back in this installment, and Create-a-Finisher is finally on the Wii. You can use the game’s vast creation tools and make a finishing move all your own. The feature is relatively easy to use, and before you know it, you’ll have created a devastating special maneuver to unleash on your opponents. Players are no longer restricted to making front grapple moves either. This time around, there’s an option for creating moves off the top turnbuckle, so fans of high-flying moves can easily create an impressive aerial maneuver.
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