For too many years I’ve had to either rely on the newest 2K wrestling games or old school classics to get my fill of pro wrestling video games in all their bicep busting glory – until now, that is…Fortunately for wrestling fans Spike Chunsoft have brought back their flagship Fire Pro Wrestling series in the form of World. Now almost a year after its PC debut it’s finally come to PS4 so I can see if it’s deserving of the near-God-like praise the series has garnered since its inception in 1989…
My first thought after starting up the game was a resounding “No, this does not the deserve the God-like praise heaped upon it”. As for a newcomer to the series, the game makes no sense whatsoever, and makes very little effort to actually show you what to do. It’s not until you make your way through the clunky menu systems that you find the elusive ‘Missions’ where you find a list of 50 training exercises designed to help you learn the game. Now, people may argue that it’s “part of the charm”, in that it’s indicative of older games where you were given very little teaching and were set into the game with no tutorial. The only issue with this is that older game came with instruction manuals that you could spend hours reading while learning every intricacy of the game. Of course manuals didn’t give you everything, but they gave you a solid foundation to start with – something that Fire Pro World doesn’t do, because all you get in this case is the game and empty space.
So I know I started negative, but it isn’t all doom and gloom because if you put the time into it, it’s probably one of the most rewarding wrestling games I’ve played in a long time. Instead of being a solid “Who wins?” scenario it’s based more on actual wrestling and takes the approach of putting on an entertaining match for the fans. This means that you start slow with smaller, weaker moves and ramp up the intensity as the minutes go on, bringing out bigger and bigger moves until the end becomes a cacophony of finishing moves and top rope moves until one man wins. This setting of pace and slow ramp up towards the end it’s genuinely exciting and multiple times I’ve been playing only to look down at the timer and see I’m having a Kenny Omega 45 minute classic without even knowing it. When it comes to gameplay if you stick it out and learn what’s going on you will easily spend hours upon hours just having fun trying to put on great matches.
It’s a shame then that the online platform is legitimately non-existent – goodbye platinum trophy, as I’ve tried for days to find someone to wrestle with to no avail, if I go into the forum I could probably find someone, but if a game has online support, I’d like to be able to just press ‘Find Opponent’ and find an opponent.
One part of the online that isn’t lacking is the ability to download other people’s creations and add them into your game. I’m talking different wrestlers, MMA Fighters, referees and even ring graphic. There’s literally thousands upon thousands of community created items for you to download (for free) and it’s probably the coolest thing about the game. Being able to set up a match Between Pete Dunne and King from Tekken whilst Earl Hebner referees in a WCW/NWO Revenge ring is probably the greatest thing I’ve done in a wrestling game since I managed to orchestrate performing a 3D (the running one) with the Dudley Boys back on WWF No Mercy on the N64. Like anything, it isn’t perfect in that you have to use a website on the PS4 which is pretty weird and you can’t download certain music and camera mods that are available for PC, but having every character I could ever think of kind of makes up for that.
So the question is “Should I buy Fire Pro Wrestling World?” and the answer is yes, but only if you’re a fan of wrestling and you don’t mind a game that makes you learn everything yourself, because after you get past the initial hurdles, it blooms into an excellent game that will keep you learning its ins and outs and often surprising you with just how deep the system goes.
Author: Hal, Plymouth store