Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: WrestleMania 21

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Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Electronic Theatre ImageHaving a great interest in wrestling all my life and now being twenty-one, I’ve grown up watching a “sport” – that I thought was huge at the time – growing bigger and bigger. Keeping the fans it had with the same quality and obtaining more simply by adding a little quantity, thousands of “Superstars” poured through those massive smoking doors adding their own characterisation and a whole new depth to what became the WWE. Giants, musclemen and freaks all came together to take entertainment to new heights.

WrestleMania has always been the biggest event in the wrestling calendar; the point once every year when all your favourite wrestlers and plots come together for a prolific smashing. Old scores getting settled generally by pummelling the opponent till they give up or pinning them for the count of three, new scores being made by wrestlers’ friends coming in to stop the former or the latter. Amazing acrobatics, diverse characters and death defying stunts make it an awesome climax of everything that was wrestling that year.

This year is no exception, apart from now you’re the one trying to be the Superstar in the thick of the plot. The title features the usual Create-A-Wrestler option we’ve become accustomed to, as in many of the other titles in the WWE/F series; however this time it all seems just a little bigger; there’s more Electronic Theatre Image options, more degrees of physical modification and even more technique specific moves. However, you cannot take part in the Career Mode without a custom created avatar. Oh and the cash, which you can win by doing any match – you use this to buy, well anything actually, from attributes for your character and costumes to loading screens and concept art – the selection seems almost endless.

The actual fighting in the game has been modified, making it flow much smoother. It still relies on reversals to save you from a proper beating, but not in the same way as the last couple of Smackdown! games; they instead keep a fair match going at a speedy pace. The attacks can be joined to a quick grapple creating combo-esque manoeuvres and Irish Whips can be used while grappling, leaving an inexperienced opponent helpless. The power and turnbuckle moves don’t have that ever-so slight pause anymore, keeping the flow up amazingly. The special moves are shown to spectacular effect with Electronic Theatre Image brilliant lighting and camera movement, making it look like when you put them down, they should stay down. 

Exhibition mode is a great place to practice many of the basic moves and get used to some of the match types, unfortunately all those without an XboxLIVE! subscription will be unable to play with their created wrestler in this mode, but for real fun and to breathe the life into any wrestler you’ve put all that effort into making you can go into the Career mode. It’s in this mode that you can take your guy or gal from dreamdom to stardom. You start from the beginning as a rookie and have to do a couple of matches to prove you’re worthy to enter as a Superstar, then you are pulled up into the ranks to play with the big boys, although you may find these boys or rather big muscled men don’t like to see a newcomer get the better of them. This is only a partial start to the huge soap-esque story that you’ll delve into, taking you through many Electronic Theatre Image memorable fights and enticing storylines, hopefully emerging as a legend in your own right.

For those with XboxLIVE!, you can go into the LIVE! mode – which takes you to the world, and you can take ‘em all on.  You can set up quick matches, special matches, tournaments, even entire championships (a unique feature of this game).  There’s even accessories to help. The Xbox Friends List is used, as is the headset – for that special joy of swearing at the guy/girl down the other end. The only lag I found whilst on LIVE! is during the menu screens, when fighting others, I didn’t ever feel like I lost a fight from the slow response times I have found in other internet based games, which when considering the speed that the game is played is damn impressive.

Graphically this game is pushing many boundaries, although the basic format is simple, what they do with it is remarkable, everything that is there has had every effort put into it, it’s been smoothed over to perfection, during their entrance the wrestlers, unless you cElectronic Theatre Imageheck twice, look photo-realistic, in fact the only thing that isn’t fully glammed up for this game is the crowd, but at least the first five rows are fully-polygonal, all-too-much a rarity really.

The in game music is definitely up to the moment, not quite to my tastes, but playing on the Xbox gives you the option of a full custom soundtrack. The sounds during the big fights keep the feeling of pain right at the back of the teeth, but when you get a chance to fight in one of the quiet areas the quality really comes out, every squeak, footstep and tight breath can be heard as you both dart around the ring.

So, does this game live up to the name and image that WrestleMania has established for itself from the very beginning? Does it bring that feeling of being a Superstar right into your front room? Maybe even convince you that if you lose this match your career will be over? Hell yeah! If you have an XboxLIVE! subscription you need to buy this game – it’s certainly the current high-point in online wrestlers, with just a little bit of effort the online mode can be bigger than the entire offline game. If you like wrestling, even a tiny bit, the game will hook you far more than you yearly-update wrestling-sim; everything that is wrestling has been summed up in this package, it’s definitely brought the last twenty-one years to one awesome climax.  Just like WrestleMania should.Electronic Theatre Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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