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Can you smell what YUKES has cooking? Well they have a new Smackdown Vs Raw game to serve up. And SvsR10 is a great edition to the long running franchise, and years on from the original Smackdown games that had me spending all my free time playing my Playstation. So have the guys behind the WWE’s new virtual superstars gotten it right?

Well the superstars look as good as ever, from the beefy heavyweights down to the tiny Divas.  All have had their likeness’s captured perfectly.  The on-screen body damage meters are now replaced by visual cues from superstars indicating where they are damaged. I liked the fact that the chest becomes more red as you prgress, and bigger rashes from the slaps and chops was a nice feature. The Crowd have not had too much done to them (If anything) but still look pretty cool, though you don’t look at the crowd all that much anyway.  The game will come packed with a roster of 67 in game superstars.  The roster is split up into six different categories Raw, Smackdown, ECW, WcW, Legends and free agents. All the big names in the wrestling universe are here – though the DS edition will only contain 30 superstars.

The match engine has received a few tweaks, new moves in the game have been included with an increased number of grappling scenarios.  For the first time since SvsR2007 the game features four strong grapples, with players now also able to switch between each grapple. So if you start to perform a move, then change your mind, you can. Other new move positions include moves involving superstars standing on the ring’s apron and an increase in ground grapples with side grapple moves and separate moves for opponents depending whether they are laying on their back or front. The momentum meter now appears as a small halo underneath each superstar, while HUD icons and information relevant to the match are displayed around the superstar.  This makes the whole game feel like the actual live shows on TV. The game also brings in the pinfall kick out mechanism from Legends of Wrestlemaina, so the player will choose either to hold the button down or mash them to escape.

WWE Smackdown vs Raw screenshot

There are a few new added game modes to play this year.  It may not be the best but for any novice out there that doesn’t know a suplex from an Irish whip this is a god send. The Training Facility will explain how the different ability’s work to the move check list, and the best thing about this is you can choose any superstar/Diva. So learning all of John Cena’s moves is as simple as 1, 2, 3.  There are also a few added match types.  These are the Championship Scramble, mixed tag team match and now the divas can participate in all of the match types except the first blood match. Why would you want to make Kelly-Kelly bleed?!

The DS version gains the dreaded Ambulance match.   The WWE has finally got tough on men beating women, so the only time these two sexes will meet is in the inter gender mix tag matches. The royal rumble match has also been tweeked so now you have three different areas that can be used to eliminate an opponent. When in these areas, a mini game will be activated where you will need to press the buttons rapidly or mash them as quick as possible. You can also use a stored finisher to almost certainly eliminate your opponent.

The Road to WrestleMania mode returns from WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 with six new stories based on various WWE wrestlers. Unlike the previous year, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 features a Diva-based story involving Mickie James. More exciting is the prospect of a story specifically for one of the created wrestlers. The other stories are Edge, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton and the Co-operative story line between Triple H and John Cena. This year’s Road to WrestleMania mode also includes storylines that branch out through interactive cut scenes. “Rivals” is another new feature in the game but is basically a stable making mode – but as well as choosing allies you can pick that superstars enemies -you can even select how much they hate each other.

WWE Smackdown vs Raw girls fight

Moving on with the new modes, the best has been kept for last – the much anticipated Story Designer. In this mode you will be presented with three options:  Create a new story, download one via XBL/PSN, or play one of the already created stories. Now creating a story is as easy as you wish to make it or as hard, depending on plot, characters and lines to give to said characters. For example I made a story line between Undertaker and Kane that lasted 3 months and had the climax of an inferno match which Undertaker wins. All the cut scenes are directed by you and you choose exactly what they say (in text) the fact you can also change they’re facial expressions is a great addition. Now if you’re going to make a dramatic story you will have to add plenty of scenes.  Any top director will tell you that location is key so SvsR10 has plenty to choose from including all arenas in the game such as Raw, Smackdown and ECW – even the PPV arenas. You can also choose from backstage areas like the GM’s office, locker room, parking lot and even an interview room. On the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, each storyline can feature up to 500 segments including 450 matches and 50 scenarios but the Psp, Playstation and Wii have been reduced to only 55 segments.

Now the create modes have always been one of the best selling points in WWE games history, and this year they have completely revamped the create area. The game now features three-dimensional apparel, unlike in previous games where it appeared as “painted on”. The apparel moves realistically; for example, a robe moves with each of the superstar’s movements. Another improvement to the create-a-superstar mode is the shortened loading time of the menus in comparison to previous iterations. The layer limit system for create a superstar mode has been replaced with a point system. So each item is given a point value and the player is able to attach up to 48 points worth of items. The option of creating an entrance movie is great, and finally being able to create a diving finisher has made me and many others very happy. But lets not forget the new paint tool which allows you to draw out anything you wish to be used as a either a logo or tattoo. In addition to the create-a-superstar mode SvsR10 introduces a new mode called Superstar Threads, in which the player can create three alternate attires for existing wrestlers in the game by customizing the colors of their attire.

Smackdown Rey Mysterio

Playing online is as good as ever, and with the same options as previous titles (51 match types played in either ranked or player matches). There is plenty to occupy you ’til next year, but there is also the WWE community creations area where you can download  or upload. So here is the place to come to get CAS, Stories, custom entrances and even Created Finishers. You can also track your online stats in My info where you can find out you’re DNF% or WIN% as well as your superstar rating. And of course the Leaderboard which is split up into weekly, overall, match type and your friends.

All in all this is a pretty solid game by Yukes and THQ.  It is not perfect as there are still some clipping issues.  CAS is very limited.  The fact you cant use your CAS more then ten times in a created story is quite poor and apart from the chance to make a diving finisher now the grapple version seems untouched. Apart from those little niggles I love this game and have to say the presentation in the gameplay is as close as it gets.  I strongly suggest that every fan past and present goes out and gets this game.