FIRE PRO WRESTLING WORLD
Systems: Steam, PS4
Wrestling games in North America have captured the arcade-style, over-the-top approach of professional wrestling really well. Simulation titles are still something that they have yet to fully nail down perfectly. They came close with WWE 2K19, but have not been able to obtain that true professional wrestling mentality to putting on matches. For example, working with your opponent to put on a great match or helping each other look good in a match has never been a focus of major titles. That is where Fire Pro Wrestling enters the chat.
Fire Pro Wrestling World is a simulation-based 2D HD wrestling title based out of Japan created by SPIKE Chunsoft. This is the most recent title in a long history of Fire Pro Wrestling video games, starting in 1989 with Fire Pro Wrestling Combination Tag for the PC. Fire Pro Wrestling World is a culmination of all of its previous titles, highlighting all of its wonderful quirks and mechanics while improving on every aspect of this game at the same time. Let’s dive into this game that many, many wrestling fans rave about!
Starting with the roster, I owned this game from day one, so we only had a default roster of the fictional SWA in-game. You were able to immediately download people on their online service for free to flesh out your roster. That was until they released their first DLC with the top superstars of Japan from Kenny Omega, to Tetsuya Naito, to Kota Ibushi, to Hiroshi Tanahashi and the list goes on and on. They added onto that with a Juniors DLC with people like Jushin Liger and Will Ospreay to name two. Once you thought that was it, they threw another one at you. Spike’s developers gave us Joshi wrestlers for the first time in many years bringing in the wonderful women of Stardom.
They also went to the effort of launching two additional Takayama Charity DLCs to help pay for his medical expenses. All of these diverse roster options with an endless supply of people to download online that grows to thousands and thousands every single day. Even on the first day they were flooding with almost any creation that you can think of. Do you want Okada to fight Gumby and Ryu from Street Fighter with Stan Lee as your referee in a Deathmatch taking place on a Mortal Kombat style ring?…YOU CAN DO IT!
The fun doesn’t stop with the roster, it extends out to the story mode where you battle your way through the ranks of New Japan Pro Wrestling, going from a hopeful trainee learning the ropes to the top of the card. You meet and interact with many different NJPW stars and learn from them as you go on excursions and train your superstar to become the top worker in the industry. I suggest making sure you have a lot of time put away for this game mode because it is a long story with a lot of rematches on your way, so be patient. This creativity and customizability flows over into the well-made Fire Promoter mode, also known as their version of a GM Mode.
In this mode, you take the booker role and create the shows for your own events with either an original in-game world, or a real life world that you can customize. You can hire, sign, send away or even scout for superstars on this journey. You have to find ways to manage your finances with your worker’s well-being and sponsorship opportunities to maximize profit each month. Your company will even be approached to do joint shows with another company where you pit your championships against theirs and see who takes the gold to their brand! You can either watch, simulate or even play every match to try and put on your best show. Keep in mind, put on a bad show and your sales will do bad leading to no one attending your future events.
Yes, they actually keep track of the fans coming to your shows. If you aren’t popular enough or Continuously put on bad events, the crowd will visually be very empty during a match, awesome mechanic. This could be an endless journey so enjoy every second of this ride! There are a lot of surprises that could make or break your company along the way.
These game modes sound great, but how does the game actually play? I mean, it is a video GAME right? Well it’s a timing based system. It has weak, medium and strong grapples. You have to time your attack on your opponent by wearing them down with weak grapples and strikes until they progress to a medium state and so forth. The only way to know if they are ready enough for the next level of attack is trial and error. You have to attempt a move and if it is successful, they are ready to beat down on some more with stronger hits! You continue do this until they are eventually beaten down enough for a SPECIAL move that can render your opponent unconscious for the three count…or just unconscious.
Playing this game is a lot of fun once you get the hang of it, but warning though, there is a STEEP learning curve in this game. This series of games is actually known for being one of the most fun games to WATCH as if it was a real wrestling show as opposed to playing it. So between learning the game and playing through those game modes, that is what you will spend roughly around 50% of your time doing.
The other 50% of your time will be dedicated to their creation suite. And oh boy does this cover every ground you can think of. Create a Superstar, Create a Belt, Create a Ring, Create an Entrance, Create a Part, and Create a Move. What more do I need to say? If you can think it, then you can make it. My words can not do this creation suite enough justice. There really are no words to explain how phenomenal it really is. The sheer amount of options are endless for this game and seeing as the game is 3 years old, people still playing it daily. You are surely going to get lost in the sheer depth of this game.
I could speak about this game for pages and pages, but I had to keep this as short as possible. Personally, this is my all-time favorite wrestling game ever released. It has everything you can ask for, it can put on PPV quality matches, exciting gameplay to keep you challenged and an endless creation suite to flex your creativity muscles. There is so much here for the base $30 price range that it’s a surefire purchase. Sadly, the only thing keeping it back from the perfect 10 out of 10 is the pricing of the DLC. Some of it is somewhat expensive for what you get, and a lot of it is sort of needed to download certain people to your game if another person has used DLC parts. That over $100 price mark of DLC will keep a lot of people away.
But even if you buy the base game and purchase the rest piece by piece, you are going to have the most fun that you’ve ever had in a wrestling game.
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