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WWE WrestleMania 21 Xbox

Published by THQ
Developed by Studio Gigante
Release Date: 27th May 2005
Price: £39.99

WWE WrestleMania 21, an introduction.

We've seen a handful of wrestling games in the five years Deaf Gamers has been running. Although in those five years we haven't seen an exceptional wrestling game, which is kind of disappointing. Some have come close mind you but on the whole it's a case of they could have been better. WWE WrestleMania 21 has been a highly anticipated for Xbox owning wrestling fans. The hope was that this could be the first great wrestling game on the Xbox. Sadly this isn't to be.

What's the game about?

If you've played any recent wrestling game you'll be fully aware of what WWE WrestleMania 21 has to offer. Exhibition, Career and online play are all here. The fight variations are the standard stuff and include the usual Bra & Panty mode, Battle Royal, Royal Rumble, Tag, Handicap, Fatal 4-Way to name but a few. The Career mode once again allows you to create a wrestler and then develop him, RPG style, as he progresses through his career.

What's good about the game?

There are several good aspects of WrestleMania 21. The Xbox Live element of the game allows for four player battles and there is a create-a-belt feature which allows you to create a championship and then battle to win it on Xbox Live. A Pro reversal system has been included which basically means that there is now a countering system for every attacking move in the game. This would have been an amazing inclusion had the controls been a bit more responsive. Finally the graphics, especially for the wrestlers, are easily the best yet in a wrestling game.

What's not so good about the game?

Unfortunately there's a lot to moan about but we'll concentrate on just a few points. The biggest problem is that the game isn't subtitled (more on that in a moment). Secondly the game feels rough in terms of its presentation. Loading times seem too long and the game seems to splutter for short durations after the loading times (as this is on the menus it's not a major thing although it's still unsightly). The AI seems out of sorts on the lower difficulty levels and in general it doesn't always behave how you would expect it to. Collision detection problems also rear their ugly head from time to time. It's annoying how you can't choose your character's conversation choices during the Career mode too. The Career mode in general doesn't feel right and seems out of balance with the challenges that it throws your way at times. Rather irritatingly there also seems to be a delay between button presses and your wrestler carrying out the move. Finally there's little here you haven't seen before (if you're a fan of wrestling games) which kind of takes away from the value of the game.

How does it look?

There's no doubt about it, the graphics are the best part of the game. The character models in particular are the best seen in a wrestling game to date. Some of the animations could be a little smoother and can look a little disjointed but on the whole that's only a small complaint. There are more than a few clipping issues with the game and it's also annoying how some items just vanish after being used. The cutscenes in Career mode look OK but as you'll find out in a moment that's not much consolation.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

There's no other way to put this other than the game is atrocious for deaf gamers. There are no subtitles or subtitle options. Deaf gamers will be completely unaware of the information given verbally and as such it's very disappointing. The Career mode is the hardest hit though as you'll be completely unaware of the conversations which makes the whole thing a waste of time. Because of the nature of the game it's still possible to play WWE WrestleMania 21 but the game fully deserves its 'E' rating for being completely deaf gamers unfriendly.

Final thoughts.

WWE WrestleMania 21 suffers from being a lacklustre title that doesn't improve on the many wrestling games that are already out there. The wrestling modes and career mode have all been seen before so essentially as far as the single player game goes it doesn't offer anything different. What's really disappointing is that the game isn't subtitled so deaf gamers will justifiably feel that the game isn't worth purchasing. The Career mode cutscenes are a waste of time for deaf gamers because you'll have no idea of what's being said in the conversations. The GameCube version of WWE Day of Reckoning had subtitles so why hasn't WWE WrestleMania 21? If you're a wrestling fan who must purchase every title going then you may be satisfied with what's on offer but be warned because it doesn't feel all that different from the earlier wrestling games we've seen.


Overall Game Rating: 5.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

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WWE WrestleMania 21 has been a highly anticipated game but sadly it's failed to live up to expectations. Most of what's here is nothing new and there are a few areas of the game that just aren't right. The Xbox Live features may be seen as an improvement by those who like to play online but the complete lack of subtitles mean it's not a game deaf gamers should consider.