too long, fans of professional wrestling have been shortchanged on the videogame
front, as each new game that comes out is a poor representation of their
“sport.” Now, with the release of Wrestlemania XXI, THQ seemed to go back to the
drawing board by signing on a brand new developer, Studio Gigante (the creators
of Tao Feng: Enter the Fist), who were set to reinvent the failing genre. Things
seemed to be a little more promising this time around, as the game would feature
great Live support and tons of new modes that would make it compelling to gamers
jaded by countless disappointing pro-wrestling titles. Unfortunately,
Wrestlemania XXI doesn’t deliver the revolution in pro-wrestling that many hoped
it would. In fact, the game almost seems to take a step backwards with the same
kind of lousy controls seen in previous wrestling games as well as many, many
bugs that ruin the already lukewarm experience. While the game does feature some
great graphics, Wrestlemania XXI is a weak, unpolished wrestler that will more
than likely let down those looking to feel something more than disappointment
and frustration with the pro-wrestling genre.
Wrestlemania XXI gives you control of many different WWE Superstars, like Rey
Mysterio Jr., Big Show, Triple H, Stacy Keibler and many more. If no one strikes
your fancy, the game gives you a pretty comprehensive Create-A-Wrestler mode
that allows you to create and customize a character and then beef him up through
the game’s career mode. The Create-A-Wrestler mode is pretty cool because you
can edit your character to a T, even importing a custom soundtrack to your XBox
hard drive for your character’s entrance music.
the rest of the gameplay is very spotty. The controls are very poor and
unresponsive, as the wrestlers will move very sluggishly around the ring and not
perform moves when told. Also, the hit detection is really off, as punches and
grabs that look dead on will often not connect, leaving you wide open. This is
especially glaring when trying to perform a drop move on an opponent who is down
on the ground, as you’ll try to body slam them, miss, and end up writhing around
on the ground yourself for a few seconds, something that is hair-pullingly
is also very lousy. The game basically has two different AI types, extremely
easy and a huge pain in the butt to pin. The game pretty much decides at random
which difficulty to throw at you, and the character’s stats that you are
currently playing against when compared to your own don’t really matter in this
regard. However, more often then not, the AI will simply do a lot of stupid
things that lead to your victory, leading you to exploit them in order to win
and not really have to exhibit any real skill. Tag Team AI is especially lame,
as the computer-controlled characters will act very buggy and run around in
circles most of the time.
graphics are a bit of fresh air in this game however, as Wrestlemania XXI’s look
shows a lot more polish than the lousy gameplay. The character models are
realistic and sport a lot of details. Basically, aside from some strange
unnatural shininess that their bodies seem to have, the wrestlers look very
close to their real-life counterparts. The animations are also pretty nice,
matching up to the moves that the characters perform nicely without looking
sound and music is pretty much recycled from other wrestling games. The
hard-rock soundtrack is the same one found in Smackdown vs. Raw on the PS2,
although XBox gamers have the benefit of importing some of their own tunes for
the entrance themes. The sound is okay, although the announcing is very buggy,
as the announcers will repeat the same phrase over and over again, even if they
have no bearing to the onscreen action.
Wrestlemania XXI could’ve been a good wrestling game, as it had a lot of initial
potential. Unfortunately, it ended up being just another crappy wrestling game
with more bugs than a Malaysian jungle on a hot day. Do yourself a favor and
ignore this one.
The gameplay in
Wrestlemania XXI is lousy, with unresponsive controls, boneheaded AI, and
frustrating hit-detection issues, making the game absolutely no fun to play.
The graphics are the
one highlight in this game, as the character models are great representations of
their real-life counterparts. Plus, the animations are smooth and don’t look
forced or robotic.
soundtrack is nothing new, as it has been pulled straight from existing
wrestling games. The commentary is pretty buggy, as the announcers will repeat
themselves often and say things that don’t pertain to what’s happening in the
looked like it was going to fix a lot of the problems with the pro-wrestling
genre, but instead was an unpolished mess that actually took a step
The online aspect of Wrestlemania XXI, which was one of its main selling points,
is literally unplayable, as in you have to get a patch online or wait for the
game to reship with the repaired online mode in order to play, which is pretty
unforgivable for a game that is supposed to be in the bag and finished.
If your looking for the saving grace of XBox wrestling games, just keep on
waiting, because this isn’t it.