The tagline doesn't just refer to the new Storyline mode. The Create a Superstar mode has been given a new lick of paint, too. It's not an evolution, from what we've seen, more an evolution, with some new interesting features added that make it even more comprehensive. For the first time ever you'll be able to edit the colour of existing superstar's "threads". This includes everything from elbow pads to gloves, tights to boots. When you do edit something, the superstar will admire your handiwork, lifting his arm up, for example - a nice touch. Your threads are saved as attires - up to a maximum of three - which can be individually named for ease of reference. So, if you fancy kitting The Undertaker out in a bright white leotard, then, well, you should probably book an appointment to see someone quick.
Exclusive to the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game is the ability to design and apply logos to skin or clothes. The game comes with a number of pre-made designs, but via the new Paint Tool you can draw your own. You're able to apply a maximum of two high resolution logos to a created superstar, which doesn't sound like much, but alternatively you can have more low resolution designs. My own efforts were, frankly, rubbish. And, if I'm being honest, it was hard to resist the temptation of drawing a big, hairy... yak. The feature should have an interesting impact when created superstars clash online.
The Create a Finisher mode again returns, but this time you're able to add diving. The mode works as before - there are a number of stages to the move, each one linked to the other to form one fluid motion. Once your from the top rope move is complete you can adjust the trajectory points and height of your move, for added effect. Creating a finisher is again an easy, intuitive process, and should seamlessly fit in alongside the existing Create a Finisher features. Each string loads a hell of a lot quicker than before as well, which should please absolutely everyone who found the feature somewhat of a slog to use in the last game.
One problem the series has always suffered from is a degree of inaccessibility. Newcomers can struggle to grasp the somewhat complex control system and it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of game modes on offer. Perhaps by way of addressing this, THQ has implemented a new Training Facility. It works a little like FIFA's arena that covers loading. When the game first boots you're presented with a ring set in a training complex. Our build allowed control over John Cena, with Randy Orton as a training dummy. Here you're able to practice moves and movement, with a control guide popping up contextually and ticking off successfully completed commands. To access the menu, all you have to do is press the Start button, with no loading required. It's a nice touch, and definitely helped me refresh my memory.
That's pretty much it for new stuff our preview build had to offer. 2010 feels, in the ring, much like 2009. It's a slow, considered, contextual heavy fighting game that's as clunky as it is fun. Yes there's clipping, and the collision detection is hilarious, but the counter system is tight and the superstar models are impressively detailed. But I expect one last game mode to be revealed before release - there's one mysteriously locked out in the preview build's menu. What could it be? With the game out soon, we'll know soon enough.
WWE SmackDown VS. Raw 2010 is due out for PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, Wii, PS2 and Nintendo DS on October 23.