10/08/2017

☆ Review: Fire Pro Wrestling World - "Wrestling is slightly erotic for some..." ☆

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Fire Pro Wrestling World - PC

For all of the numerous wrestling games I’ve played in my time, this is only the second title in the Fire Pro series I’ve ever put any real time into.
There is an interesting history with the release of the games that follows the ebb and flow of actual professional wrestling, but the series has been gone for some time, especially since everyone wants to forget that entry on the Xbox 360 exists (I only played it briefly, I swear).
Years after the return though, once crowds had grown quiet and the smell of sweat had left the arenas, it was time to bring a beloved franchise into the new world (order).

Fire Pro Wrestling World is here and out on PC. This wasn’t quite a stealth release, but it did feel sudden and like something from the underground, a fan favorite coming out of the independents, Fire Pro came back with a roar. Don’t worry though if PC isn’t a preferred platform, as it will be coming to the PS4 soon.

For now though, this is a game that feels like an updated version of the same one I played on Super Famicom with a ton of extra bells and whistles. It isn’t the big leagues like what WWE is now, but the old territory days, or even the small dojos of Japan in its feel. Less big arcade action and more of an old retro feeling of something finely crafted to withstand the aging process. Let me try and explain.

There is a Mission Mode that acts as a sort of tutorial and training, which is where I started, and I certainly recommend anyone new to the series begin here as well. Any game in this series will have a bit of a learning curve, but figuring out the controls can be tough even with them giving instructions. Things aren’t explained well for beginners, running took me a while to get used to with the angles, and I had to ask someone on Twitter about finishers before looking up how to grab weapons. It isn’t too hard once the basics are learned, but I still can’t get used to how strikes feel useless compared to other games of the same type. The key part though is timing and learning when the game wants the player to act. Getting that part down really is important, but there will still be a lot to master.


I’m a natural performer, but there is something incredibly stressful about seeing the crowd rate your matches, giving me flashbacks to some of my favorite horrible WCW matches.

Players can’t just run in and hit their finishers, it isn’t even as easy as building a meter, but earning the bigger spots by building up with smaller and medium ones, like an art.

The crowd must be teased, prodded, and then brought to full attention before the crescendo. Wrestling is slightly erotic for some...

For people who are good at the game and learn how to use all of the tools at hand, combat makes these matches look like good theater. Even watching the computer simulate bouts is entertaining, as these clashes can be incredibly exciting while mimicking professional wrestling at its finest. The animations are fine, sound is decent, and there is an overall nice aesthetic that makes the presentation of the game’s action fantastic.


Character creation is a big part of the game, like in many of the previous titles. The cool thing now is that there is no limit to how many someone can create, as long as a little hard drive space is cleared.

The created superstars aren’t as big or detailed as other games, but the system is deep and offers a lot of options, and even those options are versatile. The sprite size does seem to limit some of what could be done, but as many of the community creations have shown already, that won’t stop anyone from making their favorites from any genre.

At this point I think any existing wrestler has a solid version that can be grabbed off of the Steam Workshop, and I’ve seen a few battle royals involving celebrities, animorphs, and even the Super Mario Brothers. Acquiring them is fun, and spices up the existing roster of generic athletes. Even with everything this part offers, there are several improvements that could make it better and a lot of room for additional content. This is also one of the only games I can think of that allows the creation of personalized referees, which is honestly way more exciting than it should be. So much potential. Managing these creations can be annoying and the menus are a pain to navigate. I ended up just using my mouse for most of the UI, which doesn’t feel smooth.


This is still an early access game and in some ways that is visible, with the lack of content in certain areas and a few missing features that seem like they should be standard, but I’m so used to games in this phase to be glitch-fests and to barely work at times or be missing entire modes.

There are a lot of match types available, different modes that offer a bit of change, but the Gruesome Fighting matches, which is an MMA style, did nothing for me. The online play isn’t bad, and though I know some people have reported some issues, my experience with it was smooth.

Some type of story or universe mode would bring the whole package together nicely, and it does seem like the developers will be adding a good bit, though I couldn’t find much on what exactly. The fans have flocked to and embraced this one fiercely and if the community’s support so far is any indication, this game will show some longevity.

Summary
It is a tough game though, and doesn’t offer some of the same shine and spectacle the WWE games do, which makes me believe it won’t pick up a large number of new fans, especially non-wrestling ones. I hope I’m wrong about that though.

Those who take the chance here may be pleasantly surprised at what they find, as long as some time is put in to learn how Fire Pro wants the player to play.

I myself haven’t picked up the last couple WWE 2K games, but now I want to, so I can see what the big boys could learn from the underdog promotion.

Game Link: Steam
Dev Link: Spike Chunsoft



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