Fire Pro Wrestling World PS4 Review

October 24, 2018 by  
Filed under PS4, Reviews & Features, PlayStation

Publisher: Spike Chunsoft Developer: Spike Chunsoft Genre: Fighting, Wrestling

Players: 1-4 Age Rating: 12+ Other console/handheld formats: N/A

When it comes to wrestling games, there’s very little choice these days. With the latter said, it’s fortunate that the latest Fire Pro Wrestling game has seen a release in the west, and while it just can’t compete with 2K’s WWE games in terms of brand and star power, the Fire Pro Wrestling series is one that has a passionate following as well as a long history. Fire Pro Wrestling World also marks the return of the series after a 12 year hiatus, and, yes, I am ignoring the 2011 Fire Pro Wrestling Xbox 360 release, which had little in common with the mainline series.

Looking at the 2D retro style graphics of Fire Pro Wrestling World reveals that the game has in no way the impressive graphical design of the WWE game, but what it does have in spades is charm. The cartoon-style visuals will certainly appeal to those who fondly remember such visuals, or to those who just like basic cartoon visuals that ooze personality. Some will still pass the visuals off as dated though and think that such graphical design doesn’t have its place in this day and age. I’m personally fine with how the game looks, but the occasional slow-down that happens from time to time does prove to be a little distracting.

When it comes to the gameplay, Fire Pro Wrestling is quite simple, but it also presents new players with a lot to learn in order to get the most out of the game. Being 2D in nature, striking your opponent can be a test of patience at first, as it can be difficult to determine if you are properly lined up with your opponent, making things feel rather cumbersome, and it does feel really quite dated in this manner it has to be said. Picking weapons up can also be the cause of frustration, with precise positioning over the object being key. Grappling proves to be easier, and the Fire Pro Wrestling series actually has some of the most impressive grappling mechanics in a wrestling game in the way that both wrestlers lock-up by simply walking towards each other, with the winner of the grapple being the one that presses their button quicker. Learning the timing definitely requires time and patience, and it’s definitely satisfying when you manage to get a proper grasp of it.

This is the first Fire Pro game that allows you to steal your opponent’s finishing move and use it against them.

If you are used to the modern day WWE games, then there’s more to get used to with Fire Pro Wrestling World than what I have already mentioned above. Reversals are completely different in the way that they are automatic, and you must soften your opponent up with light attacks before then moving on to the stronger medium and heavy attacks. If you try and do the stronger moves too early, then you more than likely will witness one of these automatic reversal animations being played out. Having not really gotten into the Fire Pro Wrestling series before, I personally found this control being taken away from me rather hard to get used to at first, but it does work well enough, and you do get the odd reversal that is player controlled such as when you are being grappled from behind.

Like other games in the series, Fire Pro Wrestling World also has stamina to manage. Your wrestler will tire through the course of the match, and there’s a breathe button that is held down in order to recover lost stamina, and if you don’t do this, your wrestler will become so exhausted that he/she will slow down and will eventually be unable to move for a brief time. It adds a nice little bit of strategy to matches, and means that you can’t always play at 100mph.

Fire Pro Wrestling also has appeal as more than a mere competitive wrestling game, as many fans are known for attempting to get a high match rating, and whether they win or lose often doesn’t matter. It’s even possible to hold down a button when you are locked in a grapple in order to disable the chance of your wrestler reversing your opponent’s attack in order to assure you to take the move to add some excitement to a match. Not only this though, as doing so also fills up a hidden meter in the background, which allows for a counter attack and possible comeback later on in a match.

The game has a mission mode, which does learn you various things about the game, which is helpful and goes to quite great lengths to school you, from the basics to the more advanced options that the game has to offer. The mode presents you with various challenges, which is always a great way to pick something up, and you are also graded when you complete each one. It’s a fun mode that is more than a simple tutorial mode, and one that is definitely worthy of your attention for a number of reasons.

Fire Pro Wrestling World also introduces the Fighting Road mode. The game is licensed and makes use of the New Japan Pro Wrestling brand, and this is highlighted in this story mode, which has you rising from simple try-outs to hopefully winning some major championship belts. The mode also has its charms in the way that the story is told in the style of a visual novel, and things can also get rather zany. You‘ll be creating your wrestler, improving your stats and learning new moves along the way. It’s also a very lengthy journey as well, which means that a lot of effort has been placed in the developer’s first attempt at such a mode.

Matches with more than two wrestlers competing are suitably chaotic.

When it comes to other options the game has a fair few when it comes to different match types. There’s single matches, tag matches, battle royals, cage matches, MMA style matches, and even landmine and barb wire matches, and some of them even have variations on their rules. There’s also an online multiplayer mode for the very first time in the series, although the servers are near empty, making the task of finding a match very difficult at this moment in time.

Then of course there’s Fire Pro Wrestling’s famous customisation options, which are wonderfully deep in every possible way imaginable. If a favourite wrestler of yours isn’t present in the game, then the wrestler creation tool will allow you to create him or her, and, by adjusting various parameters in the CPU Logic settings, even make the wrestler behave exactly like their real life counterpart when he or she is under AI control . You can also download wrestlers created by others, although it’s achieved in a rather clumsy way in which you have to sign in with your PSN ID, and you also have to assign each wrestler before you are able to use them, which is also trickier than it should have been. It’s also possible to create referees, championship belts and even rings, and with all the latter said, it’s easy to understand why the creation tools have become one of the most popular things about the Fire Pro Wrestling series. If you like this kind of stuff, there really is a staggering amount of depth to be found, and you’ll be kept busy for a long time.

When all is said and done, Fire Pro Wrestling World is a fun wrestling game that looks and feels rather old fashioned in terms of the use of 2D as well as its awkwardness to play.  As long as you can look past its flaws and don’t come into the game expecting the glitz and realism of 2K’s WWE games, you may very well find yourself having a good time. There’s certainly plenty of fun to be had, and the game definitely has a pleasing amount of options to play around with, so all in all it’s a welcome release in what is a criminally undernourished genre.