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WWE Wrestlemania 21 review

Solid
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AT A GLANCE

Nothing

You can't always pick out a good wrestler on looks alone. Take Mick Foley - he looks like your fat, friendly uncle, but he's been WWE champ, Japanese King of the Deathmatch, and appeared in some of the most memorable matches of all time.

Compare him to Nathan Jones - huge bloke, more muscles than a seafood buffet, couldn't wrestle to save his life. See where we're going here?

If you said we were going 'straight up Wrestlemania's candy ass with a shiny size thirteen wrestling boot', you'd be right. It's definitely the best looking grappler of all time, with the shiniest wrestlers in history and the best blood effects we've ever seen.

But when things get technical, this is Studio Gigante's first go at doing a wrestling game, and it shows.

It doesn't show much, because they've copied most of the playing system directly from SmackDown, from the control system downwards. But it shows in the little things, like the lack of options in the Create-a-Wrestler mode.

And that the Dudleys come out as separate grapplers rather than as a tag team, or the ropey collision detection - especially when you get caught with a move while running.

Control's much less crisp than Smackdown's, and you'll often be hit by a move that looked like it was way out of range, or one that unnervingly homes in on your grappler.

Most upsetting of all is the career mode. Even more linear than SmackDown's and predictable like a Batista/Spike Dudley squash match, it's basically just a series of pre-set matches with cutscenes between them.

You never get to pick who to fight, never get to turn down a tag partner and have to win every match - lose, and it's retry, retry and retry again. Which is a bit of a pain when, say, Booker T point-blank refuses to help you out when you're trying to climb up a ladder in a TLC match, even though the Dudleys are working like a well-oiled muscle machine.

The one saving grace for Wrestlemania is the online mode. Much more comprehensive than SmackDown's, it'll offer the option to create your own belt and deck it out with gaudy jewellery paid for out of your precious attribute points. Then you can lose it online to somebody who'll sell it back to the computer. Erk.

Still, if a decent league gets going, we might see the closest thing to the actual WWE atmosphere ever. But it's a shame it isn't in the single-player game.

This might look chiselled and buff next to the sleek and shiny SmackDown, but only one of them has got the heart of a champion.

WWE Wrestlemania 21 is out now for Xbox

The graphics are so shiny, you'll need to have your shades handy, and the blood effects are great. But you don't get much choice about who to fight and the AI isn't very strong. SmackDown owners will laugh at the lack of options, but WWE Wrestlemania 21 is still the best grappler on Xbox

More Info

Available Platforms: Xbox

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