Hands-On With THQ's E3 WWE Games

We check out WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2011 and the brand-new WWE All Stars in this exclusive look at THQ's wrestling lineup for E3 2010!

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THQ is shaking up its wrestling plans at the Electronic Entertainment Expo this year. The publisher will be unveiling not one but two WWE games at the show: WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 (due later this fall) and the brand-new WWE All Stars, which is due for release in early 2011. While debuting two WWE games at the event might seem like a strange strategy, the two games are distinct enough--visually and otherwise--that there's little doubt you'd confuse one for the other. Last week, THQ representatives came by the GameSpot office to give us an exclusive look at both games ahead of E3 2010, and here's our hands-on report for both.

WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2011

This year in SVR 2011, every chair shot you take, every table you crash through, and every ladder you leap from will be more like a real physical object than ever before. That's thanks to a new physics system that looks to affect objects in all match types across the game but will have the most powerful impact in the TLC (Tables, Ladders, and Chairs) matches. If you've ever seen one, you know it's one of the most exciting match types the WWE has to offer, where both Superstars in the ring have an arsenal of--you guessed it--tables, ladders, and steel chairs at their disposal. How the wrestlers use those objects is up to them--from the direct approach of bashing one another with whatever is at hand, to more complex architectural violence, such as leaning one ladder against another for use as a launching ramp, or stacking tables on top of one another…for no other reason than it looks cool when a body crashes through it.

If you've seen it happen in a TLC match in WWE programming, chances are you'll be able to replicate it, or something very close to it, in SVR 2011. Let's talk tables first. In previous games, sending a body flying through a table was typically an all-or-nothing affair: you either hit the table and it collapsed, or you grazed it and nothing happened at all. In SVR 2011, where you hit the table will matter, and tables will break in different ways--one side might collapse after a leg folds in, for example, or you can break a table completely and it will shatter into pieces (with those fragments remaining as real objects in the ring for a limited time before disappearing).

Ladders, too, will bend and break depending on where they are impacted. As with any object in TLC matches, you pick up a ladder by pressing the A button (on the Xbox 360 controller), and you can then move it around the ring to line it up as you see fit. This is especially important when using ladders and tables for more complex stunts--such as leaning a ladder against another ladder. During our demo, we watched as Randy Orton (fighting against the Undertaker) leaned one ladder against another and then used it as a ramp, which he ran up before leaping out of the ring altogether and landing on top of Taker. You'll also be able to lean ladders against the ring apron, in the corners, and so on. Finally, chairs are still effective for a quick attitude adjustment on your opponent, and, new for this year, you'll be able to do things like toss a chair at an opponent for some added long-distance damage.

Producers said that while you'll have access to unlimited amount of tables during a match, you'll only be able to have a maximum of four tables in play at any given time. As mentioned previously, destroyed objects will eventually disappear, in order to preserve memory, but while fragments exist in the ring, they are considered solid objects and will move around if they are jostled by wrestlers. From a control standpoint, the developers at THQ and Yuke's are aiming to give you more control over how you position your opponent in the ring to take advantage of all this destruction. For example, when you pick up an opponent and are preparing to slam him into a ladder or table, you'll be able to move your controller Superstar in any direction before finishing off the move.

Tables, ladders, and chairs will be more impactful than ever in SmackDown! vs. Raw 2011.

All objects in SVR 2011 will benefit from this new physics implementation in the game, from sledgehammers to kendo sticks. We're hoping the new physics will also apply to cars (dynamic vehicular hit-and-runs, please!), but there's no confirmation on that just yet. One other bit about the E3 2010 demo of the game is the roster lineup: In addition to Undertaker and Randy Orton, attendees will be able to choose Chris Jericho or The Miz. Naturally, this is just the start of what THQ has to say about SmackDown! vs. Raw 2011, and we'll be following the game throughout the rest of the year.

WWE All Stars

John Cena is a big dude, but you've never seen him like this. He enters the top of the ramp leading down to the ring, gives his trademark salute, and you find yourself wondering where Cena's neck ends and the rest of his torso begins. His jaw is proportionate for placement on Mount Rushmore, and his trademark jean-shorts (I call them "jorts") cover legs that could double as tree trunks. Cena is followed by The Rock, who is decked out in black trunks and chin-length sideburns--and the Brahma Bull is looking just as rocked out as Cena.

Welcome to WWE All Stars, where over-the-top is just the beginning. The brand-new wrestling game is being developed by THQ San Diego, and the game is being led by veteran video game designer Sal DiVita. The team is no stranger to wrestling games; many of them worked on 2008's TNA Impact. Though the team has carried that experience and passion for wrestling forward with All Stars, there will be no confusing one game for the other--All Stars is pure, fast-paced wrestling from the get-go, and the difference is seen in every aspect of the game.

If you think of the SmackDown! vs. Raw series as the "sim" WWE game, then All Stars is pure arcade action top to bottom. From a combat standpoint, DiVita says that All Stars has as much in common with a fighting game as it does with a traditional wrestling game. Part of that similarity comes in the overall speed of the game. Punches and kicks fly quickly in the game, and the recovery time of struck wrestlers is quicker than you might expect. As a result, the action in the ring is a good clip quicker than what SVR veterans may be used to.

Another aspect of that fighting game mentality comes in the controls themselves. The face buttons are used for strong and light grapples and strikes, and you'll be able to charge your strikes by moving and holding the right stick away from your opponent. Combos will play a large role in wearing your opponent down. We watched as Cena laid out The Rock with multiple lefts and rights to the jaw--during one more-complicated sequence, Cena was able to throw a quick one-two punch, then do a scissor take-down on The People's Champ.

Combos aren't just for standing, however, thanks to a juggle system that will let you string together multiple midair slams and throws in a row. The timing is delicate, but with a bit of practice, you can get a two- or three-hit chained slam full of huge leaps in the air and devastating slams on the mat. The early build of the game we played used slo-mo frequently, especially during juggle combos, perhaps as a way to make stringing moves together easier, as well as to illustrate the destructive power of the moves. As for defense, you'll have a small window in which you can reverse both grapples and strikes using the respective shoulder buttons (and you'll be notified of that window thanks to icons that will briefly appear onscreen).

Juggles, combos, and big-air moves: All Stars has as much in common with fighting games as it does wrestling.

You'll get access to your signature moves and finishers in All Stars by building up an onscreen energy meter. In the case of The Rock, we got to see amped-up versions of signature moves like The People's Elbow, which had The Rock jumping high into the air to deliver his patented elbow finisher, as well as a Rock Bottom move that looked like a cross between the aerial maneuvers found in a Cirque du Soleil performance and the Incredible Hulk slamming to earth, complete with the requisite shock waves emanating from the bodies crashing to the mat.

Only Rock and Cena are being shown at E3, but if those two are anything to go by, the lineup for WWE All Stars looks to be a mix of current WWE Superstars and famous faces from the WWE's past. According to DiVita, the various characters in the game will handle differently from one another, not just in terms of the moves available to them, but also in the timing required to successfully pull off juggles and combos.

So, one part WWE wrestling game, one part fighting game, featuring a compelling mixture of old and new talent--that seems to be the formula for WWE All Stars. As with SmackDown! vs. Raw 2011, there's much more to be revealed about All Stars in the months leading up to its 2011 release, so stay tuned. If you've got questions about either game, you won't want to miss our live stage show from E3 2010 in Los Angeles. Both SmackDown! vs. Raw 2011 and WWE All Stars will be shown onstage along with the game's producers, and we'll be taking your questions live.

Discussion

158 comments
narutoman500
narutoman500

Interesting... I wonder what undertaker, miz etc. look like? Also the Divas!

cslikeswwf1
cslikeswwf1

I'm looking forward to both of these games. I hope that WWE All-Stars will have a Career mode to it that will be very interesting if it has a career mode. I'm really looking forward to it because personally I really enjoy trying something different and this looks like it will be way different than normal wrestling games. For SVR 2011, I am hoping that it will have legendary wrestlers and title belts and all types of PPV arenas that you can unlock like they have in many previous SVR games.

dmonex
dmonex

didnt u guys notice that every uneven number 07 09 11 have had the best improvements yet

SVR2011_cena
SVR2011_cena

their are more pics on the facebook page WWE SmackDown! vs Raw 2011

andrewhackshaw
andrewhackshaw

in my opinion they should really upgrade the online system they should let fans compete for championships online and they should add mor matches online like elimination chamber championship scramble and more they should really pay attention to the online system am a big fan of all the wrestling games series and i hope smackdown vs raw 2011 will be more realistic plz u all uprade the online system

Setzera
Setzera

I love the new physics they've shown so far for SVR2011, and I really hope this ends up applying to all match types, because face it, rarely do people have matches in games without a weapon or two. The only thing I hope they don't do, it mess up the season/career mode again. This is a really big thing for me. I haven't enjoyed a wrestling game with a co-op career using a CAW since Smackdown 2 (PS). Yes the story made no sense, but you and a friend could have random matches without having to go in to exhibition every time and pretend there is some sort of story. And though the create-a-story last year was a step in the right direction, it took hours to set up, and minutes to play. A co-op career mode with random events would keep me and my friends occupied for months with the great looking new physics they have. Please THQ, don't make one awesome improvement and do something equally as bad in return!

diesel_lee
diesel_lee

Here Comes The Pain, with Mr UFC Champ Lesnar, was fast and franetic. I remember good ol' memories of beating Rey Mystero with a chair about 8000 times in a row and the damn thing did not break. I loved seeing the blood go flying everywhere. Ever since then, they cranked up the graphics and slowed down everything to -3kmp. The thing that makes me super mad is that all the new RAWVSSMACK is that they all take at least 3-9 minutes to load, everything has to load, load, load, load, load. GAH!

That_OrangutaN
That_OrangutaN

This new All Stars project could end up being the best wrastlin' game ever! I am enthused about the lack of 'realism'~ Sounds very fun!!

111zxBeastzx111
111zxBeastzx111

I cant believe that on All Stars they gave them that much body build like it looks like the Hulk with steroids Does anyone agree with me THERE HUGE!!!

ALightbulb
ALightbulb

I wanna punch that Corey guy in the face..

Uesugi-dono
Uesugi-dono

I'm STILL working on leveling CAWS up from 2010. It's gonna take more than physics to draw me away. As for All Stars... pass. I've got Super SFIV, I'll play it if I want less realism.

greengreenbean
greengreenbean

I just hope WWE All Stars is better than legends of wrestlemania, which was awful.

MJarvis321
MJarvis321

please anyone when e3 2010 comes up and when they are taking live questions please ask them wheather you notice when every match begins, the bell only rings once? it makes it seem like a boxing match instead. i just wish thq would knowledge this and get it right by having the bell ring 3x. it wouldnt be so hard. small things like this make the game more realistic. would there be rather have the camera go 360 (instead of showing "now loading") or even ramdonly focus on ... . ref checking your character before match . ref checking your opponent before match . show commentators saying something about upcomming match . fans cheering or booing you or opponent this would make "now loading" more entertaining and it make it feel like part of the match. also the second questions would be the ones below its important anyone ask them please anyone who gets a chance ask wheather this would be possible for them to fix these too issues thank you it would add more realism to hear the bell ring the same as it does in the actual product.

nito_x
nito_x

WWE THE UNDERTAKER WILL KICK UR A$$...

snake812
snake812

The rock is better than Cena.........

snake812
snake812

The rock is better than Cena.........

jammitin
jammitin

Wait I just remembered where I heard Sal Davita's name before. He played Scorpion in the early Mortal Kombat games.

jammitin
jammitin

You said it best frazzilla. The whole series is so outdated and stale all because they've kept the same engine and base mechanics now for 12 or so games. I don't know the exact number. By now it's in need of a major reinvention and I don't say that hardly at all about game series, but this is one series that desperately needs it.

XchrisisdeadX
XchrisisdeadX

THQ..PLEASE add the ability to take the match all over the arena again, from the ring to the parking lot, more fights in the crowd, actual damge from tables , chairs, high falls, etc. i get sick of hitting someone with an RKO just to see them kick out of a pin, and adding an actual fatigue system would be cool too like something ala UFC where wrestlers could get gassed later in matches like an iron man match especially.and go back to the actual season type mode from shut your mouth, here comes the pain instead of a career mode that makes you have to win the WWE title in one year. i hated that... All stars looks cool, but a novelty at best.

cuchikapoor
cuchikapoor

I have to show WWE all stars to my friends

frazzilla
frazzilla

Give that SVR 2011 will be released for the PS2 as well as the 360 and PS3, I can't see any major overhauls with the game's engine being made, which sucks because it's quickly becoming very outdated and repetitive. Like on SVR 2010, there are still huge numbers of moves that have been recycled from as far back as Here Comes the Pain, and seeing these same old moves left in time and time again is really beginning to let the series down. While new features like creating finishers etc. are improvements, the core fighting mechanics of the games have been the same for far too long and are in drastic need of reinvention.

mprezzy
mprezzy

Somebody needs to tell Sal that nobody thought the huge heads schtick was funny or cool back in the 90's with NBA Jam either. Why bring that back, of all things?

johnphenomenon
johnphenomenon

why does everyone hate the new art style of all stars????? it looks SICK!!!! . . . well i havn't seen it close up so i dont know if they pulled it off. but if they do, it'll be awesome!!!!. I hope all stars will have complicated controls, but not hard. . . kinda like skate 3.

brakey101
brakey101

Dont like the New Wwe its to kidy but All stars looks good exept for the hugeness :(

LethalEu4ia
LethalEu4ia

Loved how fluid all stars was, with the chain combo's and everything. I just hate how HUGE they are.

wiiboy37
wiiboy37

i love svr 2010, as for all stars, its got potential for fighting game of the year, fighting against marvel vs capcom

bogeta24
bogeta24

Of course everyone disses svr 2011 at first. I think it will be great and this physics engine has never been done before so it is pretty big. I am hoping they will make changes to the wrestling system as well. I also hope they have a huge number of legends without having to import and stuff. As for all-stars, not really that into larger then life semi realistic games.

MrPush
MrPush

I like the all stars it reminds me of the old wwe in the house games...I havent really brought a wwe game since, back in the no mercy days but this looks like it may be worth a try with the new features .. not a buy but a try I still think they should re-vamp the whole engine for the smackdown games so you can fight in the crowd it kinda sucks that we have all this technology and their just adding in some gay physics that should have been added from the begining

ascoteton77
ascoteton77

"Producers said that while you'll have access to unlimited amount of tables during a match..." Why, for the love of God why??? It's stuff like this that makes these games really stupid. Last I checked, wrestlers don't have a 'magic factory' of tables in real life...so why do it in a video game? Make it interesting and limit the tables...put some strategy into the game...

RavenX08
RavenX08

No big changes this is like the first info we gotten.

Junipero
Junipero

I think it isn't good unless you can play on-line like the first smack down vs raw

derris27
derris27

All Stars looks boring that one is going to ba a rental..... SVR11 i will get because i do every year.. but so far i dont see any big changes..just the way the tables break is not enough for me...I want better online play.. also A.I that is a challenge would make things alot better

metalmoog
metalmoog

Hmm both games look like crap. Hardly any advancements to the SvR2010 game which was terrible compared to SvR2006. Allstars looks like a button mashing fighter that will be boring after 2 hours.

buffdaddy69
buffdaddy69

I actually enjoyed the TNA Impact Game and may pick up the All Stars Game, it somewhat felt like No Mercy to me. If only they tweak the engine more and if they fully get rid of Yukes, then Smackdown vs Raw may gain some credibility back

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

a button mashing blitz style wrestler appeals to me

freakyt_666
freakyt_666

No wwe game has interested me since the days of Warzone, Attitude and the first Smackdown. Mind you that's probably because I've grown up.

Lonnie2Hottie
Lonnie2Hottie

Sounds good. I haven't purchased a wrestling game in a few years, but it looks like that's gonna change.

alkaline_DnB
alkaline_DnB

all that table, ladders stuff should have been done years ago...the raw vs. smackdown series is way behind imo and just isn't interesting anymore. all stars looks pretty cool tho. at least they're trying something different. air combos ftw.

King_Gamer19
King_Gamer19

WWE All Stars is what they actually looked like before Chris Benoit killed himself

controlz101
controlz101

wwe all stars- the rock just bounced back up after that devastating finisher like nothing ever happened.LOL

madd_hatter
madd_hatter

I think i'd rather play All-Stars :D - It reminds me of Def Jam

ShotgunStalker
ShotgunStalker

Nice. Havent played a wrestling game in a long time

JKMadu619
JKMadu619

I will be buying both. I have long since lost my interest in wrestling (Shortly after we cut our cable bill, and therefore had nothing left to watch) but I will be buying both.

Darrogamer06
Darrogamer06

@slaywee Are you serious saying SVR2008 was great?! It has to be one of the weaker entries in the series. The 24/7 mode was a mode that looked great in concept but failed miserably in execution with repetitive cutscenes. I did like the fighting styles part but the main career mode was a joke, Honestly, the best Smackdown game was Here Comes the Pain. Still the highest rated Smackdown there has been on here and in most other places I believe.

RatchetV1
RatchetV1

all i hope is that the theme song to WWE All Stars isnt All Star by Smash Mouth