WWE WrestleMania 21 Xbox

  • Publisher: THQ
  • Release Date: Apr 20, 2005

Mixed or average reviews - based on 48 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 48
  2. Negative: 19 out of 48
Buy On
  1. But the most important inclusion into Wrestlemania 21 is it's full on Xbox Live gameplay with all matches available. That makes the game worth having right there.
  2. 85
    XXI is certainly more polished than previous installments, sporting better voice work (Randy Orton ain't just phoning it in, anymore) and cleaner graphics. We especially enjoyed the Create-A-Fighter feature.
  3. 80
    A satisfying scrap that'll keep you mashing buttons, if for nothing else than to see Stacy Keibler in her bitmapped bra and pixel panties.
  4. Pelit (Finland)
    Does not really offer anything new, except improved graphics and a new storyline. That is not enough, really, but wrestling fans will probably still like the game. [Aug. 05]
  5. I think despite the shortcomings with this title it does a good job of providing some entertainment and fun and at the end of the day this is what counts.
  6. Wrestlemania 21's outrageously flawed A.I. and emphatically clunky control integration sully an otherwise outstanding display of wrestling prowess.
  7. Inconsistencies such as the out-of-date player roster (why are Jazz and Nidia still there, yet characters like Heidenreich, William Regal and Torrie Wilson aren't), the fact that only four wrestlers are ever allowed on screen at once (why not six, or eight?), and that the list of unlockable legends is limited to say the least (no Hulk Hogan!) [Official UK Xbox Magazine]
  8. THQ's new development team really put the polish on the games visuals and sound, but failed to polish up the final product.
  9. Like previous efforts, WrestleMania 21 has some nice eye candy in the ways of character modeling and mo-capped animations, but it ultimately fails where it counts the most...in gameplay.
  10. Official Xbox Magazine
    The franchise is clearly in need of an overhaul to address those core gameplay frustrations. [June 2005, p.76]
  11. It might suck WWE die-hards in with its slick, true-to-form presentation, but they'll be quickly turned away by the clunky gameplay and repetitive nature of the game itself.
  12. The game, while pretty, really took a nose dive in the gameplay department. Looks can't save a crappy game, and that is proven once again here.
  13. "SmackDown" owners will laugh at the lack of options, but WWE Wrestlemania 21 is still the best grappler on Xbox. [GamesMaster]
  14. 65
    While it's apparent that Studio Gigante toiled away long nights to perfect character realism, it's equally obvious that perfecting the remaining chunk of the game didn't keep them quite as occupied.
  15. 65
    WM21 is a polished turd, it looks amazing and plays like sh.t.
  16. Wrestlemania 21 had the potential to be so much more, but ultimately all those little niggly things that are forgivable on their own add up to nothing more than a slightly above average grappler.
  17. It'd be great if the career mode had more storylines or branches to foster a return to the career mode every now and then. As it is, the game is more visually and aurally impressive than engaging playwise.
  18. 60
    Even with the smooth online matches, motion-captured animations, and detailed entrance segments, the game quickly reveals itself as all glitz and little substance, not to mention the serious A.I. problems.
  19. Cheat Code Central
    Studio Gigante's take on Wrestlemania is fraught with bugs, glitches and options that appear in the manual but aren't anywhere to be found in the game itself (auto targetting system).
  20. Game Informer
    Perhaps if it had been delayed to iron out the bugs, Wrestlemania 21 could have been a champion. [June 2005, p.132]
  21. I am disappointed to say that the online play is at the top of the list for much needed rework. The online should have been one of the best areas in the game, but instead turned out to be sloppy.
  22. Wrestling fans may find some enjoyment here, but for others, your best bet is to dig out that N64 and play the brilliant WWF No Mercy - the game that Wrestlemania tried so hard to be.
  23. AceGamez
    Surely not pushing the Xbox anywhere near to its limits and it fails to capture the essence of WWE, feeling outdated and sluggish to play. Best avoid this one until a real next-gen wrestler comes along.
  24. Not even the flashy visuals can help THQ's latest from its sluggish action, dull story mode and lagging online play.
  25. Play Magazine
    Be sure you're Live before even thinking about playing. [June 2005, p.88]
  26. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    But pick up the controller and this one hits the mat hard...and I mrean very hard. [June 2005, p.106]
  27. Probably a good blast if you're playing your mates after the pub has shut and the choices are limited.
  28. 50
    While it gets better as you persevere, the game overall isn't as strong as we would have liked.
  29. Those not specifically into wrestling should find some other game because this one is a "game only a fan could love."
  30. A mixed bag of greatness, and blandness.
  31. Numerous bugs, glitches, and polish issues drag this game down and leave it feeling like a textbook rush job.
  32. In the ranks of Xbox wrestling games, let alone all-time wrestling games, this one ranks quite low, mainly because of its poor execution and obvious lack of polish.
  33. Ultimately a shallow, clunky, near-broken mess of a game.
  34. The biggest issue for me was the AI. I'm telling you it seems like the AI took one too many chairs to the head.
  35. One of the most poorly executed wrestling games in recent memory.
  36. 45
    Xbox Live gives the game a little justice, but the offline mode could be 100 times more elaborate and involving that it is which is quite a shame, considering how much we were hyping it up and awaiting its arrival.
  37. I never thought I would say this, but Wrestlemania 21 is worse than both RAW and RAW 2, a feat that is extremely hard to accomplish honestly. Don't even rent this game, it's not worth it.
  38. The gameplay in Wrestlemania XXI is lousy, with unresponsive controls, boneheaded AI, and frustrating hit-detection issues, making the game absolutely no fun to play.
  39. I'm also a bit unclear how the A.I. got as bad as it did with Wrestlemania XXI. I'm not sure if THQ was under the impression that Xbox players needed that much help with wrestling games, but that is the only explanation I can come up with.
  40. 40
    Even the game's menus and overall presentation offend.
  41. 40
    I don't know whether Studio Gigante isn't capable of developing a good wrestling game, or if the new engine is flawed. Whatever the reason, this game is Grade A, 100% jabroni.
  42. Atrocious collision detection, clipping, stupid AI, horrible end of match transitioning, and an annoying Career Mode are just a few of this game's numerous flaws.
  43. Wrestling fans will be disappointed by the vagueness of the controls, while Streetfighter types have far more fast-moving titles to choose from. An interesting failure.
  44. A frustrating and deeply flawed experience from start to finish.
  45. It may be the best-looking wrestling game to date, but the action is too linear and, before too long, predictable and repetitive.
  46. Yes it's simple and probably meant for kids, and you can get a small amount of fun out of Wrestlemania 21 for a relatively short period of time, but behind the shiny superstars it has a pork pie for a brain. That's the most positive thing we can say, sadly.
  47. It's a very crippled and undesirable game, but not so bad as to make it completely without merit. In fact, my friends still enjoy playing it even after we've suffered through all its slings and arrows.
  48. Pelaaja (Finland)
    When you are playing Wrestlemania XXI, the first question that comes to mind is that have the designers ever played a wrestling game before? Of all the recent WWE-games, this one is by far the worst. Just wait for the next one, which is hopefully done by Yuke's. [June 2005, p.67]

Awards & Rankings

#44 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2005
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 46 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 14
  2. Negative: 12 out of 14
  1. May 15, 2013
    WWE Wrestlemania 21 for XBOX is the worst wrestling game and WWE game that I have played. It has the worst game play of any wrestling gameWWE Wrestlemania 21 for XBOX is the worst wrestling game and WWE game that I have played. It has the worst game play of any wrestling game that has been released and it takes five minutes to do one Boston Crab. When I saw the story mode is a dumb down version WWE Day Of Reckoning for Nintendo GameCube and there was no originality. Full Review »
  2. Apr 2, 2012
    WrestleMania XXI is easily the best wrestling game on the XBOX. It's certainly better than anything you'll find on the Gamecube (with theWrestleMania XXI is easily the best wrestling game on the XBOX. It's certainly better than anything you'll find on the Gamecube (with the exception of Day of Reckoning 2.) First of all, the graphics are absolutely phenomenal for an original xbox title, the wrestlers look perfect, every bit of detail is captured, in my opinion, the graphics on this are certainly better than the ones on the SmackDown! series on PS2. The variety of superstars to choose from is great, you can be top superstars of the WWE such as Triple H, John Cena, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho etc. Midcarders/Jobbers like The Hurricane, Eugene, Rene Dupree, Val Venis, Rhyno and Tajiri. Then of course you have the divas, there are only about 6 divas in total but unless you're a real divas fan, this shouldn't be too much of a problem. Finally, you have a new addition to the WWE XBOX game franchise, WM 21 introduces Legends to the game. Andre the Giant, The Rock, Bret Hart, Mankind and Jimmy Snuka are all playable within the game but need to be bought through the WWE Shop.

    The gameplay itself is a lot of fun, there are loads of different moves to use throughout the match so it never feels like you're using the same boring old move over and over again. Each superstar has their own unique finishing maneuver in the game and weapons can be used in matches like steel chairs, sledgehammers etc. There are a variety of arenas in the game like SummerSlam, RAW, SmackDown, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, Heat, Velocity but one of the main flaws with the game is that there is no WrestleMania 21, instead there's only the WrestleMania XX arena, which kind of spoiled the game for me.

    The story mode is a nice addition to the game, you create a superstar and take him through the ranks in order to make him a top WWE superstar, it's not mind blowing but it's not a let down either. As you play through story mode, you will earn money. The money you have earnt can be used to purchase Legends, Arenas and Alt Attires (such as Big Show with hair.)

    Another downside to the game is it's Create-A-Wrestler mode. As you'd expect, it's nothing compared to recent WWE games such as SmackDown vs RAW 2011 or WWE'12 but it's a very poor mode, compared to the previous XBOX original WWE game, WWE RAW 2, where the customization on that is so out there, with the player being able to not only create a wrestler but also being able to edit current WWE superstars attires, WWE WrestleMania 21 just seems like a total let down when it comes to creating a wrestler. Overall, WWE WrestleMania 21 is a fantastic wrestling game, it's really cheap now and can be bought for about £2-£10 somewhere on the internet, it's definitely a must have for anyone looking to get a good wrestling game on the original xbox which is why I'm giving it a 9 out of 10.
    Full Review »
  3. RichardS.
    Dec 16, 2005
    I have no interest in wrestling at all, but a friend lent me the game. Basically it's totally unplayable - nothing seems to happen I have no interest in wrestling at all, but a friend lent me the game. Basically it's totally unplayable - nothing seems to happen whatever buttons you press. Truly dreadful. Full Review »