I remember WWF Raw for the N64 and just being the first one out of my friends (who by the way were all wrestling fans) to get the game and bring it home. I remember playing that game, as well as tons of other wrestling games for hours upon hours. Then came the next generation of consoles and thus far I got to say even with this great technology like the Xbox we have not seen wrestling games to the caliber in which we would hope for. Now THQ is back at it again with their latest wrestling game for the Xbox entitled WWE Wrestlemania 21. So is this the game to take the genre to the top? Read my full review to find out!
When we look at the previous Xbox wrestling games that have been released, all I can say is that this console has not been all too friendly to this genre. The reason for this is quite unknown, but to be honest this genre just has not been given any love. Then THQ announced this game and let me tell you this game for me has got me a lot more excited then the past few games because of the online play and all of the promised features. So does the game come through for me or is it a big disappointment?
First and for most I think the one thing I have been begging for from these wrestling games are a decent story mode, something that I still don’t believe has been accomplished. In WWE Wrestlemania 21, we are given an experience that, to say the least, has not gotten us any close to a great career mode. The story in the game is downright boring and the career mode itself just doesn’t do anything at all to keep you interested. You just play a ton of matches and then you go from there to play even more matches and the whole experience just feels too drawn out.
WWE Wrestlemania 21 promised us a lot and the gameplay aspect was supposed to be a given huge upgrade. But unfortunately it seems to me that the WWE genre has taken quite a few steps back in time and made the gameplay worse from previous games. How you might ask? Well first off everything in the game moves at a snails pace, and therefore you can be assured that you will have plenty of time to watch the action on screen unfold because the game just feels sluggish.
The next problem in the game is the submissions, which once you have played a few matches you will figure out pretty quickly that these can be used to your advantage and disadvantage quite easily. There are some moves that, when used correctly, can continuously keep your opponent on the mat, as you do the same move over and over again. Not only that but a problem that used to be found in wrestling games has made a reappearance here, with collision problems that take a huge toll on the overall gameplay.
Another big feature that I am sure of you heard about the terrible blunder that the game took when it released to shelves is the Xbox Live support that actually didn’t work right out of the box (it does now). To be honest with you all though the game really doesn’t do all that much better with the Xbox Live support, because the gameplay actually gets worse once you make your way to the online realm. The gameplay is even slower and lags quite a bit, and the game is so easy to take advantage of that it’s just isn’t all that much fun online.
Overall the gameplay of WWE Wrestlemania 21 is extremely disappointing to say the least. The game has problems from start to finish, and if I had to say one thing about the gameplay, I would have to say that it’s taking the WWE series in the wrong direction.
The visuals of WWE Wrestlemania 21 are actually the one thing in the game that makes it seem as though the game was headed in the right direction. From all of the videos we got to see of the game before we got to play it, the visuals shown were actually quite stunning, but ultimately let down by the sub par gameplay.
The most impressive facet of the visuals is the character models, which are full of beautiful detail along side some great use of color. These are by far the best wrestling character models across the consoles and they really are something to look at. The environments aren’t as impressive as they don’t carry as much detail nor do they do anything to really get you as pumped up as the character models.
Overall the visuals of WWE Wrestlemania 21 are by far the best thing the game has going for it. It’s a shame that the developers couldn’t have used these visuals with some better gameplay.
I guess I gave this section some points because at a few points in the game I just sat back and felt sorry for the game. I mean the game has so many flaws that it’s just hard to even stand playing the game. The online play is extremely tedious and offers up a ton of lag, and the single player portion of the game is just plain boring. I can honestly say that there are very few experiences this year that I had less fun with then I had with this game.
WWE Wrestlemania 21 is a game that easily had the most potential out of all the WWE games released in the past year or two. But it seems the developers concentrated most of their efforts in the visual aspects, trying to sugar-coat a flawed and unplayable game. Thus, we are left with a wrestling game that I can’t even recommend to for a system that is desperate for a wrestling game.
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.