I'm a big wrestling fan. I'll admit that right off the bat, I love the WWE Smackdown series. I own almost each game bar the first smackdown game on PS2 at the time it was new and expensive by time I had purchased it the next one was released.
I have noticed in recent years that THQ have been very sloppy with the games. I know that these games can't really be built upon or expanded beyond the source material in question of a 4 sided ring several wrestlers, crowd and match types but I have noticed an annoying trend of removing features for no reason and in rare cases reintroducing it as a new feature for the next game.
Sheamus enters the virtual ring this year.
Lets begin with a tiny few of the obscure features I miss, add your own in the comments if you want;
Create a taunt: This was a great feature, it was so customisable, alittle too much you might say. I remember in my younger days with this game making my CAW do a somersault in the air somewhat spontaneously.
Create a Belt: Was in 2008 last I remember. Apparently lack of fan support lead to its removal. Why couldn't they just leave it there? I know its not an important feature but is removing it really necessary.
Create a (can't remember the name) winning animation: Again its pretty staple thing to have in these games, if your designing an entrance why not this as well?
Season mode; Yes I miss the voice overs and I understand why its not done anymore, its most likely insanely hard to get wrestlers and in cases people no long affiliated with the WWE to voice characters. No season mode will live up to 2006 in my opinion. I also miss the little montage that used to happen before a PPV before you faced someone. Pointless? Yes but its what WWE does and surely that's not bad is it?
Button Mashing to the ropes to break a submission hold: Again I see why they took this out, playing online with a turbo pad is instant win but seriously not being able to reach a rope not even in the elaborate minigame when you get locked into a submission is annoying.
Don't cross the boss.
Some of the new features, well only feature so far set for 2011 looks really nice, the tables/ladder/chair weapon physics, it all looks very good and then I hear. "This year you can throw a chair." You could do that in Smackdown Shut your Mouth. I know its not a feature, I also know its addition is not really important but why? why do you take things like that away from the game and add them to simply show them off in a next incarnation of the game?
2009's new features were particularly weak, hot tags? That's what we have to get amped up about? It's a pretty lame feature not to have in the game because it does add that well "realism" in a sense of the wrestling you see on TV where the partner makes the crucial tag and momentum shifts but I thought that was definitely not a feature to promote as the sole feature of this game. RTWM on the other hand. That was.
Smackdown has always been a mixed bag, I really think if they brought back some older features and integrated them with the game it would really improve it. Then again, alot of seamless improvements and little things were added to 2010. I know I haven't touched any of the improvements of these games of which there was a ton but this is not what this was about.
As for 2011 I'm not sure what to think of it yet, I just hope it has more to offer than just an improvement in one match. I know I'm going to be keeping a close eye on it. You never know, we might be surprised.