Column: Down The Beaten Path #3
Aug 14, 2011 - by Steve Gerweck
Down The Beaten Path #3
By AJ Starr
Sorry about the long break, folks. There have been a lot of issues going on in my life, and I just could not sit down and write with the state of mind I have been in. I am back, and ready to go! Today’s topic will not be Summerslam related… but will be focused on the WWE video games.
It is that time of year once again, where THQ & Yukes will begin the long, storied lies and deception on how incredible and unique this year’s release is going to be. We have all fallen for these lies time and time again, though I stopped after 2007 turned out to be a giant pile of manure, and have since then only borrowed the yearly title from friends when they get sick of it after a couple of weeks. The past few years, I have noticed a lot of hype going around about “this new feature is going to make the game.” On cue, every single year, when the game is released, we are treated to a broken down, hollow shell of the previous year, with less options, less features, less match types, and less… everything.
Smackdown vs. RAW 2011 was no exception. Right off the bat, I noticed almost every wrestler on the roster was given the exact same move set, aside from finishers and primary moves. Almost everyone had a clothesline/shoulder block, or a running DDT/head scissors. It was mind boggling to say the least. My buddy and I spent hours tweaking the moves on everyone at his house before even attempting to actually play the game, because we tried one 6 man elimination, and were treated to everyone in the ring doing running DDTs. Following that, we saw immediately most of the create-a-wrestler clothes and well…. everything… were removed. This isn’t for lack of disc space, which again, left me bewildered. Moving on, you notice a few match types had been removed like the famous 2 vs 2 vs 2 TLC match, and not a single match was added into the game. What the heck do these programmers do for 9 months you may ask yourself?
I have often asked myself this question. They have most of the game copied and pasted over each year, it is not like they are making this from scratch. They are using an out-dated, broken down game engine from 3 generations back, and up until 2011, they had several animations from the original Playstation games still in there. I have had a lot of the usual marks scream “It’s time constraint!!!!” just like the game developer likes to claim on his Youtube video releases. How ever, I will argue if that clown has enough time to do all these videos announcing what’s in the game, he should have enough time to WORK ON THE GAME. Every year, they also claim the AI is “smarter than ever,” when in fact, all they do is make them reverse everything you do, the higher up you go in difficulty. This is not fun… and I do not understand how anyone could find it to be.
As is with previous years, every video I see of this guy, (I think his name is Cody,) he dodges every question about the broken parts of the game, or just says “unfortunately we did not have time to work on it this year.” I’m sorry, these people have had this license for over a decade now, and there are about 300 of them working on this game year round…. where the HELL do they put their effort in when creating the new release? So far this year, we have been told that after about 7 years… the belts will be the proper size, and as he said; “The fans have wanted it for so long.” Excuse me… but how condescending is that? The belts have been toy sized since the PS2, and just NOW they have decided to actually make them the proper size? Give me a break… this is obvious laziness on the part of Yukes, and nothing but. If they spent less time making worthless game modes no one ever plays, they might actually be able to make the game more user-friendly, and actually what people want to play. Catering to kids is one thing… but THQ & Yukes have lost almost 200 million dollars in the last couple of years, because fans are beginning to realize how full of crap they are. UFC 2010 was a total flop, one of the most returned games of the year.
Why though? Well, for one thing, Yukes spent all their hype time claiming how “new and ingenious” the game was, and that it was an all new system with brand-new everything. When released? It was tweaked graphics, and cage grapples… there was absolutely nothing new put into the game otherwise. People argued with me on that one for months, but the reports and the shelves at every Gamestop I have been to do not lie; Everything Yukes has done this century has turned to crap. They’re doing the same thing this year for UFC 3… calling it all new… with “tons of new features.” I can promise you, if they do not deliver with WWE 2012, and UFC 3… Yukes and THQ will be gone and history before this time next year. They are so far in the red, I don’t even know how they are still operating at all.
Moving back to Smackdown 2011, I was amazed at how useless the game was, more than ever. Titles could only be defended in Universe Mode, and ONLY for #1 contenders, unless you put a defunct title on a person along with an active title. Hell in a Cell was reduced to not having a door, and instead being forced to get a special grapple going to get out, which is almost impossible to do against the AI, which to me, makes the entire match worthless to ever use. As I also said, AI reverses everything you do, and still otherwise, has no clue what to do in the match, which means even if you’re getting stomped, you can still win the match… all because the AI is too stupid to ever go for the win. All aspects of wanting to fight outside the ring are gone. No fighting over the barricade, and nothing special awaits you near the entryway. Gone are the days of jumping off the ramp and stage, or doing anything special what so ever. Sure… the physics of weapons are an awesome feature… but if you aren’t using them in the ring, you can’t do anything unique with them at all. Why would I bring a table ALL the way up to the entry way to put someone through it with a suplex, when I can set it up in the ring and do one of a hundred different cool techniques?
In order for this game series to survive, as well as the companies making it, it’s going to need two incredible releases this year, with work and effort put in the likes of which no one has ever seen before. I do not put any type of faith into that, because the track record has spoken for itself. I have seen the footage WWE 2012 has to offer, and I am absolutely unimpressed this far. Big deal… the submission system that was removed a few years back has returned, and looks exactly the same… with the game developer calling it “brand new” like he does with every removed feature that is placed back into the game at a later year… all I see so far are cosmetic changes, and unless they are saving every impressive thing until right before release… I see a new developer having to build a WWE 2013 game from scratch next year.
In closing, I would like to point out to ANY marks or naysayers who dare challenge my views;
If any of you have ever watched the Angry Video Game Nerd, it’s a running gag (and also very true,) that anything made for the NES by LJN is an unfinished, unpolished, worthless piece of crap, that has no merit or value to it. Everything with the LJN rainbow on it, stamped on an NES cartridge, is a total failure. Well folks, that gaming company became THQ… literally. The company that frustrated us all as little kids with their crappy NES games, have been making the WWE games since day 1. Could any of you IMAGINE how incredible the games would be if a decent developer had done them? I could only dream….
Until next time folks!