The wrestling genre as a whole has more that its fair share of solid and exciting title. If you look at all the wrestling titles THQ has published, they all seem to carry that solid feel along with them, but we have yet to find that one wrestling title that stands out in front of them all. There has yet to be a title that goes above and beyond the normal, to create an experience like no other. Does this describe Yukes latest Wrestlemania XIX for the Nintendo Gamecube? Read on and find out!
As I dive in, and start to write this review, there are a few things that really just upset me right from the get go. There has yet to be a solid story mode placed onto a wrestling game. Now seriously, how hard can it be to make a good solid story mode for a wrestling game, when all these other genres have great stories backing their games. Surely the developer could use the help of WWE scriptwriters, who are constantly inventing new storylines and angles by which matches are booked. Instead, we are stuck with what can only be called ’garbage’.
As you can probably tell I really don’t like Yukes’ attempt at creating a story mode for Wrestlemania XIX. The mode is called Sweet Revenge, which basically have you pick a character, and fight for revenge. The story is not only plain, but it’s old and boring. You go throughout the mode with a total of thirty missions, and beat up on security guards, and other helpless people, with your occasional wrestlers thrown into the mix. The mode takes place in a whopping five "environments" that feel more like a ring with some interesting backgrounds on them. The missions become extremely tiresome and boring after only a few tries, and quite frankly this is one story mode I never got into.
Besides the disappointing Revenge mode, Wrestlemania has a few other modes to choose from which include the Exhibition Mode, King of the Ring, Shop Zone, and Create a Superstar. There isn’t a whole lot of variety from the other modes, which is quite disappointing, because I wanted something interesting to play instead of the abovementioned poor Story Mode. In the exhibition mode though, you will find that all the normal game types are there, with Single, Tag, Triple Threat, Fatal Four-Way, Handicap, and Royal Rumble. You also have the different options to make these matches a normal match, hardcore, ladder, table, TLC, iron man, cage, and hell in the cell. So you do have some pretty nice options as to what type of match you want to play in.
Creating a Wrestler is always a fun task - lengthy but fun. In Wrestlemania XIX you get plenty of options to create your wrestler. You will have plenty of accessories, and different outfits to choose from, to create really whatever kind of character your heart desires.
The gameplay in Wrestlemania XIX is not as fast paced as other wrestling titles on the market (Like Smackdown), but instead has a more laid back approach that will attempt to add more strategy rather then button mashing. There is a tutorial mode that will help those of you who have never played a wrestling game before to get used to the controls, but for the most part if you have played a wrestling title before you can skip right past this one.
Overall Wrestlemania XIX plays pretty solid, and basically feels like a toned-down version of Smackdown. The game doesn’t do anything new or exciting, but sticks with the same old wrestling system that we have be accustomed to since the N64. Is this a bad thing? Well no, but it would be nice to have something new, or something that is going to do more to further enhance the wrestling genre.
When you look at Wrestlemania XIX for the first time, it is not one that is going to immediately stand out. It’s one of those games that have a tendency to grow on you after you get into the game more and more, the graphics will start to appear more and more solid.
With that being said, Wrestlemania still has some issues and some good points, to show to its audience. The character models on one hand are just not all that sharp, and don’t look overly great. For some reason they just look very awkward, with a somewhat sharp look that doesn’t work very well for the game. I am not exactly sure what it is, but I just don’t have much appreciation for this style. On the upside though the environments are solid, and so are the animation. To start with the environments of Wrestlemania have quite a bit of detail, and actually have some unique looks to them. The animation is also fluid and does a nice job of keeping the game steady throughout.
Overall Wrestlemania has its ups and downs and ends up being just another decent looking wrestling title to add to the collection. There isn’t a whole lot of new coming in the graphics department, but instead they keep this one on a steady line of average.
The one thing that always scores well for me, when writing a wrestling review is the fun factor section. It seems as though each wrestling game remains to be fun. What could be bad, you punch, kick, grapple, dive, hit people with metal objects, and a whole lot of other amusing things that make wrestling titles fun to play.
Wrestlemania has all the basics down with all of the different match types which makes the game fun to play, but unfortunately it can’t be all that great when you don’t have a solid main mode to go along with it.
Wrestlemania XIX has its ups and downs, and unfortunately there isn’t that last up to get this game to be a top notch wrestling title. With all the basics down, you can probably expect Yukes’ next attempt to be pretty good. As for now I would just rent this one, because the game doesn’t have the necessary replay value to hook me in past the rental period.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.