We take a closer look at the PPV-themed wrestler from THQ.
We last saw WrestleMania XXI in January, when the Studio Gigante-developed grappler was just coming together in playable form. At that point, large chunks weren't ready for prime time, so it was tough to get a complete feel of where the game was heading. THQ recently dropped off a slightly more polished build, so the overall picture of WM 21 is starting to get a bit clearer. The game still has a ways to go in terms of wrestler artificial intelligence, not to mention some spit and polish, but it seems to be heading in the right direction.
It looks like the roster has been finalized for WrestleMania XXI (something that wasn't the case in our previous look), and the lineup of superstars features a broad variety of talent from the WWE stable...across all weight divisions. Sure, you'll find the requisite appearances by Triple H, Rey Mysterio, HBK, and the Undertaker, but some of the newer up-and-coming stars in the WWE talent pool are also prominently featured, including Charlie Haas, Garrison Cade, Rene Dupree, and the always lovable Eugene.
You'll meet a good chunk of these superstars both in and out of the ring in the career mode, which has been given a noticeable upgrade from THQ's WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw. The biggest change is in the quantity and quality of voice work found in the career mode. Not only does it seem like the WWE talent is no longer "phoning it in" this time around, but also your created wrestler is the beneficiary of some voice talent as well. We're very pleased with what we saw of the cutscenes in between career mode matches so far. Not only is everything acted reasonably well, but also there seems to be a good amount of care taken in the direction and blocking of the scenes. These aren't just standard two-camera shots of superstars jawing at each other; we've seen some interesting camera movement, well-animated player models, and, best of all, some really funny writing. In fact, when your career-mode wrestler initially meets Kurt Angle, the first thing out of your player's mouth is: "Hey! You're Kurt Angle. Didn't you use to wrestle?" OK, so it works better in the game than in text. But trust us, it's a pretty funny line.
All in all, the career-mode cutscenes are one of the highlights for us so far, as they feature the kind of backstage banter, alliances, and run-ins found in WWE Raw and SmackDown! each week. The biggest downside is that there is only one available voice for your created wrestler, and the tone of that voice doesn't always match up to the wrestler you created from scratch.
And speaking of the create-a-superstar feature, we've seen more in-depth character-creation tools in previous WWE games, but the one in WrestleMania XXI is certainly no slouch. You'll start off assigning a name, nickname, and hometown to your created grappler, and then you'll get to the fun stuff, which consists namely of designing the body, face, and outfit for your imaginary wrestler. Most of the body manipulation is controlled by horizontal and vertical sliders, which are used to adjust the length or width of your wrestler's eyes, nose, forehead, lips, and jawline, among other features. Next up is the costume, and WrestleMania XXI gives you plenty of options for hairstyles, head wear (including masks), and gear for both your upper and lower body. Once you've got your created mat technician squared away with an outfit, you'll be able to design his move set, finisher, and taunts, as well as ring entrances, which can be personalized all the way down to the custom-soundtrack-supported entrance music, background video, pyrotechnics, and fan signs in the audience.
Creating a wrestler will only be half the fun, as WrestleMania XXI will also let you create a championship belt from scratch. You'll give it a name, decide whether it's a single or tag team championship, then go about designing everything from the color of the belt, to the center plate, to all the trimmings. Many of the center plates, for example, are based on pay-per-view events or titles, like the hardcore championship, for example. But with color options and plenty of supplemental designs to choose from, you'll be able to create a belt that's as unique as you'd like it to be.
WrestleMania XXI's WWE shop will include tons of unlockables, including: WWE legends, such as Jimmy Snuka, The Rock, and Andre the Giant; wrestling arenas, such as the WrestleMania PPV environment; WWE superstar intro movies; clothing choices for your created wrestler; and attribute points for characteristics like stamina, speed, strength, and countering.
- Player Reviews: 135
- Game Universe:
- WWF Raw (XBOX, 32X, GB, GG, SNES, GEN),
- WWE Crush Hour (GC, XBOX, PS2),
- WWF Royal Rumble (GEN, SNES, DC),
- WWF War Zone (N64, PS, GB),
- WWF Attitude (DC, GBC, N64, PS),
- WWF European Rampage Tour (AMI, C64),
- WWF In Your House (PC, PS, SAT),
- WWF Super Wrestlemania (GEN, SNES),
- WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006 (PSP, PS2),
- WWF King of the Ring (GB, NES)
- Online Modes:
- Number of Players:
- Number of Online Players:
4 Players Online