Game: Fire Pro Wrestling World Platform: PlayStation and Microsoft Windows
Rating: T for Teen
For years now the WWE2K series has had a monopoly on wrestling games. If fans wanted to grapple in the virtual world they only had one option each and every year. Thankfully this is about to change with the return of an old wresting game star: Fire Pro Wrestling World.
Your Very Own Wrestling World
Fire Pro Wrestling World is all about the love of wrestling. This series has a long reputation of providing the most authentic wrestling experience possible, and the latest iteration is no expectation. Playable for about a year on PC, this grappler comes to PS4 with a whole host of extras, like members of the New Japan Pro Wrestling Roster packaged in the game. Players can now play as world renowned stars like Kenny Omega, Tetsuya Naito, Juice Robinson, and Kota Ibushi, and many, many more. But really—as long as you have an internet connection—it does not matter who is included because you are able to download wrestlers that other players have created from around the world. Due to both the 16-bit-esque visuals and impressive artificial intelligence, self-made grapplers can appear indistinguishable from their real-life counterparts. For instance, I have WWE fan favorite John Cena and Stone-Cold Steve Austin, both of whom who look and act just like the famous leaders of the locker room. Popular wrestling rings of the past can also be downloaded, such as Wrestlemainas, Raw, Smackdown, NXT, WCW, TNA, anything you can think of. We are given a nice variety of match types along with the standard array of bouts, including one on one, tag team, cage, death matches, tournaments, and more. All of this allows you to create your very own wrestling world.
Despite its rather simple looks, Fire Pro Wrestling World is far from simple to play. The grappling system is notorious for its difficulty and in-depth nature. It is rewarding once you learn the fighting technique, but getting there could take some time. There are combinations of light and heavy attacks. Light attacks are used to whittle away at your opponent before you can follow with heavy attacks. Attempting to use a heavy move too early will most probably result in your move being countered. As long as you don’t become flustered and keep your patience, you will be able to learn how to play, mostly thanks to the game’s tutorial mode which does a fantastic job of showing players the ropes. Not only that, moves are implemented in a phenomenal way, meaning matches are lovingly re-created, from face offs where characters exchange blow after blow to climatic finishers complete with special moves and near falls.
The graphics are constructed in a retro style. Fans of old school titles will feel right at home while newer players may feel a little put off by the aged style. Despite this somewhat crude characteristic, animations are well performed. Moves can be felt with every bone-crunching slam, crack, and bang. Get hit with a few too many chair shots and your wrestler will begin to spurt blood that will stain the mat. Colors are vivid, and when eight fighters are in one ring it is beautiful chaos.
Given time to practice and adjust to the visuals, players will find this to be one of the most enjoyable and comprehensive wrestling titles ever made. A variety of match types, endless rosters—as long as you have a large hard drive—compelling career mode, and upcoming down-loadable content which will give us new wrestlers and modes ensures us that this is a game you will be coming back to years from now.