It's been nine years since the first Smackdown game graced the PSX. Personally, I didn't think the series would last quite this long, but for better or worse, here we are. Smackdown vs Raw 2010 talked the talk but did it walk the walk?

Yes and no. 


Yes: The graphics engine has received a bit of a overhaul SvR2009. The biggest improvement is in the CaW area. On the next gen systems, the layer system is complimented with a point system, which tells you how many 3D items you're allowed to use. You also get three alternate attires, each with their own pool of points. 

No:  While most items don't cost anything, the ones that do are expensive. For instance, if you want your CaW to have hair, glasses, a jacket and pants, you'll find that you'll have to get rid of something. I can understand why they did this, as you don't want to have a ton of items on a caw and have it bog everything down. Most often you can find a way around this restriction, so it's not really game breaking. 


Yes:   This game has a pretty good soundtrack. In addition to the superstar themes, you have a few other songs from mainstream and indie bands. Pretty much the same as the other games in the SvR series. The commentary has improved somewhat. I find that they're not as chatty as they used to be. Plus it seems they finally had the announcers record some new lines. You can also use custom tracks for your CaW, which is always a nice touch. 

No:     In a bit of an unwelcome change, aside from superstar themes, you can't use songs from the soundtrack as entrance music. Also, you can't use custom soundtracks in Story Editor. More on that in a minute. 

Match Types

Yes: The match types are pretty much the same as last year. Championship Scramble makes it's debut here. Also, the royal rumble has been completely overhauled. There are mini games that pop up when you try to eliminate people from the rumble, ala Legends of Wrestlemania. They've also added rumble finishers, things like HHH hitting a pedigree and then automatically eliminating someone, or HBK superkicking someone over the top rope. Another nice touch is that select superstars have rumble entrances, such as Kane walking out with the stage igniting in flame. These are few and far in between though. 

No: Some people like the rumble. I have found it pretty damn easy. Knock someone against the rope, mash some buttons in succession. Bam. Elimination. Also, you can't defend the title in an elimination chamber. Um...Why? 

NO! NO! NO!: The other "new" match type is the intergender tag match. Since they took out male vs female matches, this is the only way your divas/female caws and mix it up with superstars/male caws. I have two major problems with this match. 1) This match is extremely flawed in it's execution. The game forces you to fight male vs male and female vs female, or risk a DQ. Now, this is pretty accurate to how it goes on WWE television. However, it's easily exploitable. If you've been beating up on someone and they tag out, you're forced to tag out. Okay. Now, all you have to do is tag YOUR partner back in. Now they have to tag their exhausted partner back in. Let the beatdown continue! 2) This is a new match type? We've been able to do this for years! So they take out something, add it back in with stupid rules and now we have a new match type? Come on!

Story Editor

Yes:    This is the big selling point of the game. It's a mode that lets you create your own stories. I imagine this was put in because a lot of people miss the old HCTP style season mode. It's a fairly powerful mode, as there is a lot you can do. You have a lot of aminations and backgrounds to choose from. It does take some getting used to though. Along with scenes, you can add matches as well. On top of that, you can set the win conditions, starting health, and run-ins, should you want them. A single story line can be as long as 10 years, if you really want to go that route. 

No:    THQ has claimed that "It's your world now". For the most part this is true, but there are some restrictions that are somewhat asinine. For starters, on the next gen consoles, CaWs are limited to ten appearances. This mean that CaWs can only show up in a story 10 times. This isn't per CaW either. It's a cumulative total. If you have Caw A and Caw B in a scene, a match, and then a scene afterward, that's six appearances already. This was probably done because of the 3D items I mentioned earlier, as they would be a pain to download if there were a ton of them in one story. Also mentioned earlier is the fact that you can't use custom soundtracks in this mode. Or rather, you can't use them in scenes. If you give a wrestler a custom entrance, it'll still show up during a match. However if you want to have...say Jerishow come out to their new theme in a scene, you can't do that. It's a little grievance but it's pretty annoying nonetheless. However all of these flaws could be attributed to the fact that this is the first time they've done something like this. Perhaps next year will be better?


Other nice little touch is the WWE Rivals system. This is basically an upgrade from the system that was in place in Smackdown 2 (So and So is on good terms with yaada yaada, but on bad terms with blah blah). This is only applicable in exhibition and determines who will run in against you and who will run in on your behalf. Each side has five levels which determine how likely someone is to run in to help/hinder you. If you're the creative type, like me, you can weave some interesting stories with this mode and exhibition. Another mode is Superstar Management, which lets you choose who you want to be champion and which brand they're on, along with if they're face or heel. Create a Finisher returns from last year with diving moves added. These are fun, but most of the time end up looking unrealistic. But then again, when is this a bad thing?


Overall, this game is a step up from previous games in some ways and a step backward in others. It had the potential to be exceptional, but settles for great. The restrictions can be pretty stupid and keep this game from reaching it's full potential. As it is, it's not a terrible game. It just doesn't quite live up to the hype that THQ surrounded it with. On a scale from 1-10, I give this a 7.5. Given the choice between Rent and Buy, I'd say rent it first.


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