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.

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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.
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.

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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.
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.

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killa_grunt

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THQ is kinda of on the money this year. I've always said that SVR 2010 is a good game but it needed better physics far as the ropes and objects and hey I'm getting it.WWE All-Stars kinda of reminds me off the WWF In Your House games on SNES and Genesis and looks fun so far, like stringing all those combos together. I like wrestling games and if u dont I got two words for ya...

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TimDigit

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All this junk sounds great, but what is it at the cost of? Less characters on screen; less creatable characters; more fake hair or faces stiff less physics affected clothing or colours or textures-tired of going in circles with this, bet it's got even less modes for diva's. :(

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Xtatic324

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All Stars looks good.

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DACRAZYKREW

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Damn graphics look sick but i miss the old ones

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dylan417

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Remember when WWE was good?

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King_Gamer19

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That's the only way Cena can beat the Rock & do more then 5 moves is in a game

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guitarhero2677

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having the n(xt)Wo in SvR 2011 would be awesome

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SLjimbolian

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What they ought to do is just combine the two games together. Let's face it, who wants to play the same game over and over again for a game engine that's been intact for over 10 years? SvR is truly the Madden for wrestling games.

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guitarhero2677

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There better be blood in SvR 2011. Stupid PG rating

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vampyre_dark

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I'm so tired of gimmicks being tacked onto the broken gameplay of SVR. Every time you press a button in SVR, whatever command you were attempted fails, and you get to sit through a long, broken, animation. It's like you aren't even playing. Same button does 40 different things, but never the one you want.

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NoDzombie

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well SvR 2011, will be just the same as 2010, which was the just the same as 2009...............you get where this is going WWE All Stars, looks like it could have potential to be something fresh and new though? most probably wont be, but i live in hope........

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tahseen92

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oh i get it they are seperate games o.k... But i wonder if it has physics in destructible objects in TLC. good game though

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The_Gaming_Baby

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All Stars looks weird

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master_swordx

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WWE all stars look like they made them into a bunch of plastic toys and Smackdown 2011 the models look kinda weird if you ask me.

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chesucks

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Do the graphics look improved?

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tahseen92

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i really dont understand is wwe 2011 and wwe all stars seperate games or what?? please help im gettin confused

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justhat1

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every year promises,promises then major letdowns well not this year i'll continue playing fire pro wrestling, and the older versions of smackdown on the older systems until thq makes a real game(LOL) they are not beating me over the head no more!!!!!!

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SLAMMIN23

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i hope wwe stars will be for the ps3 wait it is my mistake im looking forward to both wwe svr 2011 graphics remind me of legends of wm which is a game i have and like

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UnitedGamerz

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@alfaresalasmar I dont think there milking the game because they are two different games but they just have the same chracters and atleast its not like Activision whos milking all there games.

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omnislash_13

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So... they're hyping the same TLC mechanics they've had for the last 3 or 4 games (with the ladder stacking). What would be better is making weapon damage realistic. I hate that you can fall from a ladder and be right back up. There should be more damage. And All-Stars is being treated like a new game when it's clearly Legends of Wrestling 2, but with half legends, half current stars.

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Flint247

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I wonder if NXT will make an appearance. XD *remembers RAW 6-7-10*

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DeltaSpirit

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sound good (finally a chair shot that does something) but I wonder how easy it will be to smack a person with a ladder over, over again or how much the CPU counters (especially running finishers)

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guitarhero2677

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the new tables stuff looks pretty amazing

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BURNTRICE78

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Does anyone actually play these games?

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ItsEvolution

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What I'd like to know is why can't they just give us what we want? WWF No Mercy, updated. So simple, yet apparently so beyond THQ's capabilities. Of course, with WWE's current love of being PG and changing the names of all their pay per views, it'd probably have to be called "WWE Video Game".

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RedWave247

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Having recently played S vs R 2010, I have to say that I haven't had this much fun with a wrestling game since No Mercy for the N64. Of course, my biggest draw for a wrestling game has always been the character creation. 2010 definitely earned high points for me. If there's anything I hope they carry over into 2011, I hope it's the Royal Rumble additions. I love the mini-games and such for it. It really makes the RR matches fun. As for All Star? It's not really for me, but for the more casual fan who wants a Street Fighter-style game? Go nuts. I'll be happy enough with 2011.

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totto210

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never for pc ? OK...

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Daddio93

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Not really sure about this game yet. I'll keep my eye on it, but if it's going to be like I think it's going to be, then I'm not interested.

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alfaresalasmar

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they should name it smackdown vs raw all-milking

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alfaresalasmar

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they should name smackdown vs raw all-milking...

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Diablo-B

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Is it me or does the graphics on this look uncomfortably bad. Is everyone in this game on steroids

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DantheMan9856

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They should call it WTF All Stars

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DantheMan9856

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All Stars? WTF? Give us a real legends sequel, not more arcade crap. This isn't 1995 (WM: The Arcade Game)

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Kaleem80

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I will probably be buying both games as I am a big long time fan of WWE!!

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MAG--256

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i want raw vs smackdown to have a story where i can play with anyone creat a story was fun but when every 2 secs there is a load screen i am not sure how much fun that really is

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TheDrunkenLord

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the new physics stuff sounds good on paper, but you gotta wonder how much it's really gonna impact the game. also the article mentioned a bunch of stuff you can already do in the games, like putting ladders in corners and leaning them against each other. just revamp the damn engine already. with All Stars, I'm on the fence. if the control scheme's decent AND they get a solid list of legends, it could be very interesting.

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TrapMuzik92

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LOL is it me or are those wrestlers like 3D XXL Size

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Vic-Ferrari

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I'm so glad to hear about WWE All Stars. Now I won't have to waste my money on another crappy Smackdown game.

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mrzero1982pt2

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seems interesting. especially from the guy who was nightwolf sektor, smoke, and cyrax in the mortal kombat games! he has come a long way and i am super interested in seeing this game in action!

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MIInotYOU

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OH YEA!!!

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3v1LR0n1N

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all stars reminds me kind of like wwf arcade and in your house (i played both on PSX) which i thought both were fun

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metalkid9

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every year, another facepalm

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Nooberman2k

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Hopefully the All Star version will be somewhat like the Dreamcast Royal Rumble game (which I LOVED). @zMd113 I'd love to see a return to No Mercy! The branching storylines in it were well ahead of their time!

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Dagamemonkey

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The wrestler models look really cool.

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lookin_boy

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COUGH COUGH -MILKING-

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Masteradv

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I want to see all the persona of the wrestler on the titantron like in real life, all the screen changing and lights improvements.

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your_mom1

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All Stars might be good but...SVR 2011 sounds lame. I usually only play Singles or LMS matches...weapon matches are boring.

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MadeInThe215

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Sounds like a revamped Wrestlemania Arcade. Should be fun.

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MadGamer132

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they're gooooooooooood

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