|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Yuke's Media||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 20, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Caleb Newby
With THQ's WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 for PS3 and Xbox 360 receiving nearly universal praise, their Nintendo DS version has flown under the radar. While it should be apparent that a DS game won't offer the same experience as one for a supercharged home console, the DS has been known to put together an entirely worthy and unique experience when a developer puts the time into the title instead of making a quick port and calling it a day. It's a good thing that this is the approach developer Yuke's and publisher THQ have taken. The DS version of SvR10 has its own style, story, and gameplay elements tailored to the system. But does it work?
It's worth mentioning early that the graphics and entire presentation are excellent. The 3D models of the WWE superstars are fantastic and a testament to what is capable on the DS platform. The roster of 30 or so is impressive, and each is given the details to make them stand out as portable versions of their real life counterparts. HHH comes out with his customary water bottle in hand (remember to keep hydrated kids) and blows watery mist that looks very good on the small screen. Undertaker has shooting jets of flames during his slow walk to the ring. It should go without saying that the Titantron isn't actually showing videos here, it's still pictures snapped up from superstar videos instead. There are also several different arenas and backstage environments to give a healthy variety of locations to wage war.
Entrance music is there for the included superstars. While some games skimp on music for their DS games, SvR10 utilizes the wrestler's themes - it's great to have Christian's entire entrance music pumping out of your DS. There is virtually no selection for a created superstar, so they have to settle for bland, generic music or rip off another superstar's theme. The ring announcer belts out full introductions as the wrestlers make their way to the ring. In game sound effects are lacking, though. During a match, wrestlers don't so much as utter a grunt. With no commentary system to fall back on, its oddly quiet with only the dull "roar" of the crowd and sounds as strikes connect or the rumble of the canvas after a slam. Even adding a few token sounds from the competitors would make a big difference and add a bit of audio spice to the game.
Gameplay is solid, if a bit limited. Each wrestler has three weak and three strong grapple moves from front and behind their standing opponent as well as a weak and strong strike. Most other scenarios allow for only one choice of grapple move, such as when the opponent is laying on his back or thrown into the turnbuckle. These are enough options to get by on and make the game entirely functional, it's just somewhat limiting. A wider variety would be welcome for the future. Even if it's not possible to give the sort of move selections the consoles enjoy, additional options should be a goal. Along with that would be a form of location-based damage. Moves don't target specific parts of the body and instead affect the fighter's overall condition. These complaints aside, the SvR10 is definitely on the right track and provides a fun, not frustrating, experience. There are several different match types to spice things up, ranging from TLC and cage matches to the rarely seen ambulance match.
The most unique aspect to the gameplay this year is the addition of collectable cards that can be used during the game. On the bottom screen are up to three cards unlocked during the game that can be deployed for temporary benefits. Cards range from temporarily reversing all of your opponent's grapples to calling out Hornswaggle for a Tadpole Splash assist. Once a card is used, you have to earn or purchase another to take its place or trade cards with a friend. You can never have enough Tadpole Splashes at your disposal, I always say. As odd of a dynamic as this may seem to be for a WWE game, and it is rather odd, it gels pretty well and is a unique feature for the system.