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WWE Wrestlemania XIX (GameCube) Review

WWE games have been a disappointing old lot over the last couple years and haven't ever really found a suitable engine that is challenging without plainly getting on your wires and infuriating you since the loss of AKI/Asmik. The game appears to have been a massive overhaul at the first look but only a mere 5-10 minutes into play and you already realise many major flaws that were in the original GameCube game. The gameplay has received a lot of refining and redesigning and appears to have been thought out well but as with basically other feature of the game it is greatly flawed. - Review by James Hanson.

So now that we have differentiated Wrestlemania XIX from a masterpiece game to a game that becomes repetitive after 10 minutes of play we now need to define exactly how the game plays and where it fits in-between a near perfect example of how a game in the wresting genre should be and a dire, half rate game that shouldn't be blessed with the Nintendo Seal Of Quality and Approval. So really, what is Wrestlemania XIX all about, other than being an updated version with new wrestlers, slightly upgraded graphics and a paling story mode?

Well, gameplay wise the control system is complicated and annoying to learn. The learning curve is a never-ending one, or, a long one at that mainly because the system has no pattern or repetitiveness to it consequently making the gameplay very hard to learn, even the basics can be confusing. The gameplay has slightly given a nod towards Def Jam's hold buttons for stronger attack system but it is nowhere near as simple and effective as Aki's latest hit. The counter system is very annoying as the precision of timing needed is much too complex, and, for different manoeuvres different buttons initiate the reversals making the gameplay even more complex and confusing. The feeling of satisfaction is also dealt a harsh blow when your opponent annoyingly some how manages to conjure a reversal of a devastating finishing move when they have been literally pounded with various suplex manoeuvres and weapons. The way the whole game plays all very annoying and frustrating. This is mainly because once your opponent has smashed a couple chairs into your wresters' cranium your game could be effectively over as reversals become effectively pointless. This happens because of a disappointing flaw in the game that is something that is also found in many of the SmackDown! games. Sadly, when your chosen character crawls and scrambles their way to their feet, they will only be knocked down again with another powerful blow to the body or head. It is this inability to reverse moves successfully then return with an attacking move that creates an engine that is literally pointless when weapons are involved. The interior of the gameplay system on a whole is totally unbalanced. Momentum doesn't flow from wrestler to wrestler when help is needed defending against weapons, but rather stays where it is and doesn't allow the player to reversal the move then begin to attack themselves unless they are extremely lucky. These flaws are not rare, and, sadly will be stumbled upon in basically every match up.

Screenshot for WWE Wrestlemania XIX on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Table matches are also very disappointing, and offer nothing but a 30 second long game of luck that is effectively pointless. Once a table has been positioned somewhere in the ring, all that is needed for a win is to whip your unsuspecting opponent into the table and to perform a suplex on the top of the table. The chances of being able to reverse this are also very small. These flaws make the general game look very rushed, and give the impression of a downgraded version of the SmackDown! series. The lack of similarity between the lengths of matches is annoying and can generate confusion very quickly. The table matches aren't all bad though, as creativity in destroying your opponents is something that you will want to be mastering. The tables can be used in a number of ways, firstly the standard placing in the ring. The second though is to prop one up against the turnbuckle and whip an opponents into it, but the third looks the most impressive out of them all. Once you have thrown your foe onto the table, it is possible to clamber your way up to the top of a ladder and hurl yourself into the table injuring both you and your opponent. Another infuriating little flaw in the games general engine is that it is extremely tricky to get in and out of the ring easily. Running to the ropes and quickly tapping X may not always work and will distract you, facing you the wrong way whilst the computer A.I waits to pummel you. When this happens, you would think a quick shot to the head with the fists would fix the problem but all you will see is your wrestler attempt to hideously punch air with no sort of initiative for turning round to attack their opponent. The lack of the lock on style play is sorely missed and makes you realise just how hard it must be to create a good wrestling game.

Special moves are as lamentable as many other factors about the game in that, for a limited time the person has the special meter running meaning they could potentially perform their finishing manoeuvre up to three times or even more, totally obliterating your wrestler!

The range of matches in the game is excessive, which can only be a good thing, or so you would have thought. When played, you realise they are all very rushed and, whilst they may look good don't play good. The Hell In A Cell matches are too similar to their Wrestlemania X8 counterparts, proving that a grand total of no time has been spent to improve the disappointing mode. To leave the Cell and don the roof you have to whip your opponent 3 times into the side railing, and, once done the piece falls to the ground and vanishes rendering the potential weapon invisible and useless! The ladder matches are quite good fun but take a lot more time than you would have expected as the computer gangs up on you and will fight in a very repetitive and annoying fashion. The Royal Rumbles are rather tedious and if in the highly likely event you're eliminated you can't come back in as another wrestler! The Hardcore match ups are nothing special either and are exactly the same as a normal match with the No Disqualification stipulation on. As with the last Wrestlemania game, backstage areas were promised but on release day were nowhere to be seen which is, again slightly disappointing, though wrestling is always best in the ring. The Iron Man matches have been created and thought out well and are possibly the best mode, though as with nearly every other match mode this becomes tedious and is sadly only viable for 1-2 players.

Screenshot for WWE Wrestlemania XIX on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Thankfully the authenticity in the game is definitely one of the games strong points and portrays the real hectic and mad world of the WWE perfectly. Whether it is pyrotechnics, lighting effects, theme music, wrestler intros or even the matches themselves everything is very true to the American shows. In the last edition, WWE Wrestlemania X8, not everything was perfect and stood out a lot to the avid followers of the shows. Some of the theme tunes were a tad wrong or a whole new piece of music, some of the wrestlers looked different to how they currently, at the time looked like and the whole game seemed very dated. Whereas, Wrestlemania XIX has had nearly all of this improved on the game, the wrestlers look correct, the theme tunes are all authentic and real and the game isn't as dated as its predecessor was when it was released. The Create a Wrestler function has also been expanded on greatly and is very similar to SmackDown!'s version of the mode. The precision required to recreate superstars is very high, yet it isn't impossible and because the mode has gone into as much sheer depth as it has it is likely that with a small amount of persistence you could update and recreate the roster to your liking. Of course with the ability to create whomever you would wish to create, you will inevitably find yourself playing about with different characters.

There is a vast amount of different clothing and accessories that your wrestler can wear but for extras like hairstyles and facial features the only way you will find certain types of hair or faces are to play through Revenge and earn money for the Shop Zone which you are welcomed by the beautiful Stacy Keibler on entry. Earning money is based on speed, style and technique on the completion of each mission. Other than the facial accessories there is also a smaller range of weapons that can be purchased, though we thought that paying over £1,000 for a bottle that is empty is a tad unfair! The weapons can't specifically set to each wrestler but can be picked up from under the ring and in holes in the environments.

Graphically, the game is not the best of all time but it certainly isn't bad. The arenas all look very similar but the giant Titan Tron Screens, fireworks and lighting effects all work well to produce a good looking game at first sight but on closer inspection the cloud look very poor and the animation on them isn't very fluent. The wrestlers themselves look a lot more like their real life counterparts than in Wrestlemania X8 but are not perfect. The build of the wrestlers is generally quite good, though some wrestlers are dated this doesn't make too much of a difference as you can edit there clothes to some extent but it isn't something that you would want to be presented with when first playing the game.

Screenshot for WWE Wrestlemania XIX on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Possibly the biggest flaw and arguably the most disappointing and uninspiring feature of the game is the Story mode, entitled Revenge. The Revenge mode places you straight into the boots of one of the biggest superstars in the WWE, you are the WWE Champion, or should we say were because you have been given the boot by Mr McMahon, the frantic, mad and literally mental owner of the WWE. Stripped of your title, kicked from the company you turn to think of ways of Revenge, that is until you meet Stephanie McMahon. Stephanie tells you of a plan, a great scheme she is attempting to pull off, to finally ruin Vince McMahon and hit him where it hurts- the wallet. Wrestlemania XIX, if it doesn't happen the WWE won't happen, Vince will lose and will be forced to sell up the entire company to Stephanie.

The missions aren't exactly thrilling, but who would have expected them to be? Sadly though, they are failing to fall into the moderately fun category that turns the game into more of a chore than a game. The missions themselves are split across 4 areas, The Harbour, The Construction Site, The Mall and The Parking Lot each divided into 6 missions. The missions are all very similar and are rather easy until around the 4-6 missions that are impossibly hard. In a game it is imperative that it is fun and challenging but when a game becomes too much like hard work and more of a tediously hard affair the game begins to lose the fun factor. This gameplay is linear and includes 2 basic ideas, hurl opponents from platforms or knock them out, though a small amount of them are different.

The sound in the game is much more impressive than in its previous instalment, though the in-game music is nothing special. Listening to the dire tunes is extremely annoying and consists of heavy repetition but the theme tunes are all correct, no mistakes in this department again could have been forgiven, as the WWE experience was less authentic and real.

Screenshot for WWE Wrestlemania XIX on GameCube- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

The gameplay is a moderate improvement over Wrestlemania X8's gameplay but this by no means makes it perfect and the controls are not simple to learn.

Graphics

The graphics haven't been vastly improved on since X8 but have recieved an upgrade, and, although not the best graphics ever they do look very nice.

Sound

The theme tunes are all correct in this installment, though the tunes that play along whilst you wrestle are typically tedious.

Value

The game isn't the longest of games but once the Revenge single player mode has been fully completed the multiplayer options and the excessive amount of different match types will keep you playing for a long time.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

On a whole, the authenticity of the game is second to none but the gameplay and control system, again, inevitably failed to come up trumps. Whilst the Story of the game is also a resounding failure, the idea behind the game is good, and, when improved on could be an idea we may see induced into a game again. If you are a fan of the shows, you should definitely think about purchasing this game, though if you aren't a fan but just want a wrestling game it would be worth picking up at a cheaper price tag, though Def Jam is the king of Gamecube wrestlers.

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11.10.2003

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Developer

Yuke's

Publisher

THQ

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (1 Votes)

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i've been having problems getting in since monday. tonight seems to be really bad for some reason, took me about 10mins and several hundred refreshs to get in.

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We'll be back and running full steam soon enough! :Smilie

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