I normally start off most of my reviews of wrestling games stating how I've always been a fan of wrestling. As far back as I can remember, I have always watched wrestling. But I'm not going to start this review that way, even though as I type this, I want to type how I would always go to the live events and cheer for my favorites and boo those I disliked. I want to talk about Hulk Hogan being my idol (to this day) and how, as a kid, I wanted to be a pro wrestler. And I want to talk about how cool these wrestling games from THQ are. But I'm not going to. That was easy, wasn't it?
Okay, so I start all of my wrestling reviews off the same but who cares? And while I may not be as into wrestling as I was a few years ago, that doesn't mean I don't know a good wrestling game when I see it. One thing I know is that THQ and Yukes have the right concept for designing a wrestling game, and while Yukes' other titles like EVIL ZONE may suck, they sure know how to make a wrestling game, the newest one being WWE WRESTLEMANIA XIX.
Of course, if you have played DEF JAM VENDETTA from EA or any of the numerous wrestling games released by THQ in the past few years, you will feel right at home with the controls. Almost anyone can just pick up the controller and play this game; the controls are intuitive. Of course, while there are the exhibition matches, Royal Rumble, ladder matches and cage matches, there is also a storyline mode where you pick one of 40 wrestlers and play through 30 missions. Naturally, there are cut-scenes throughout the game to tell the story as you progress. As usual, you find a detailed Create-A-Wrestler included in the game, allowing you to make a wrestler from scratch. This has always been one of my favorite features in wrestling games because it adds so much replay value to a game.
While WRESTLEMANIA XIX isn't the best looking game on the market, the game does look pretty good. The wrestlers are all modeled according to how they look in real life, and to be honest, I think this game looks better than the recently released RAW 2. Of course, most people aren't paying attention to how real a wrestler looks during a match; they're trying to avoid being killed by that 300-pounder chasing after them. Oh yeah, kudos to Yukes for the full-length introductions instead of the cut-aways like we've seen before, where the wrestler teleports from the ramp to the ring. Also, you have to love the inclusion of the videos playing in the background while your wrestler walks to the ring. It almost feels real.
Of course, the game sounds like what you'd expect from a wrestling game: lots of grunts. WRESTLEMANIA XIX features the real intro music of each character, along with some wrestler-recorded taunts which just fit in perfectly.
While this might not be the most in-depth game out there, WWE WRESTLEMANIA XIX is one of the best wrestling games on the market right now. Fans of wrestling games will surely want to pick it up, and for those who still think wrestling is for rednecks or nerds, give it a try. You may actually find yourself enjoying it.