Having played every smackdown game in the series and beeing a keen lover of the last game, I was rightly excited about the new features, as I'm sure alot of people were. I didn't even think to question the gameplay, as I thought "the gameplay will be pretty much the same as the last".
In a way I was right, but THQ has "tuned up" things like reversals, pins and others. The reversal timing took me a few matches to get use to and at first I liked it, but having played through all the RTWM stories, I can now informatively say I hate the changes. You may find yourself pressing the buttons at the right time, but nothing happens, however this is abit hit and miss.
As for the new predator technology, it shouldn't of made it past play-testing, in my opinion, the first 2 hours into the game, I had already experienced 3 glitches and countless minor and serious issues, such as running moves and attacks not registering, and this happens often; also animation cuts, where you say: suplex a person from one side of the ring to the other and then they get stuck in the rope.
Also the pins took a few matches to get use to, but again I can say I don't like them, only for the reason that after an opponent reverses your finisher, they then instantly get theirs and, after laying it on you, despite the fact that I haven't had a single strike or move against me the whole match, it is near impossible to kick-out. For one thing in the situation mentioned the kick-out prompt does not even show up until the 2 count, giving you all of 1 second to kick-out. I see what THQ where trying to do, but they really need to work on this.
As for Road To Wrestlemania, the story takes place from the standpoint of three characters across three campaigns. The story is very tedious and does not engage the player. Most of the time, what you do in the ring has no effect to how the story progresses, which made me lose interest very quickly.
Now, despite these issues, I will no doubt play this game for a while, but I am a bit disappointed of what has become of this game. I can reverse well most of the time, kick-out of pins almost all of the time(apart from the mentioned situation), and can quite easily put an CPU opponent down on legend difficulty. So I am not saying these things because I'm bitter about sucking, and I'm sure many long time smackdown series fans will agree, that this game needs more work.
Rating: 3/5 7/10