GamerSyndrome at E3 2010: WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2011 Hands-on

I’m a longtime wrestling fan and a longtime wrestling game fan.  I’ve gotten my hands on more wrestling titles than I can remember, so I know a thing or two about these games.  THQ’s SmackDown vs. Raw series has been the king of grapplers, and the next installment is on its way.  I checked out the playable demo at this year’s E3, and I got a good feel for the controls and mechanics of the upcoming game.

The first thing I noticed while playing the PlayStation 3 demo was the slightly improved graphics engine.  Character models have looked pretty realistic the past couple of years, but SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 takes the cake.  In addition to the improved wrestler models, the actual physics are more realistic this time around.  I literally saw the wrestlers’ muscles flexing and contorting as they performed moves on one another.  Impressive.

Another thing I noticed was the level of interactivity between the wrestlers and their surroundings.  I got tossed off a ladder more times than I care to remember, and rather than just falling and seeing the ring shake, I saw small little details that were definitely nice touches.  What comes to mind here are the ring ropes.  Rather than just shaking by default, they actually react to a wrestler who touches them, brushes up against them, or even catches them against his body as he falls to the mat.

Aside from the improved graphics, I noticed that the game played very similarly to last year’s game, though the controls have been slightly simplified.  Performing moves is easier than ever, and according to the demonstrator, wrestlers will perform different moves depending on just how weak their opponent is.

I asked the demonstrator a few questions so that I could report back here on GamerSyndrome, and I was given the following factoids.  Enjoy!

  • Create-a-Storyline returns, and this time gamers will be able to create branching paths to accommodate for wins and losses.
  • Once again, no online for Wii version.
  • Wii version will support all previous control options: Wii Remote and Nunchuk, Classic Controller, GameCube controller.
  • Game will launch in October.