Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages… it’s time for AEW Fight Forever! Yukes have returned to our screens and with AEW Fight Forever it brings the first video game officially licensed by All Elite Wrestling. Are you excited? Well you should be?
I’m as old school as it gets in this modern era
With a veritable who’s who of wrestlers on the line up you know you are in for a treat when it comes to the game. How does it actually play though? Is it fun? Does it reinvigorate the wrestling game genre? Let’s find out!
Loading up the game you are greeted with a nice menu showing off all the game modes that you can dive into. With over 10 different gameplay modes to sink your teeth into there is something for everyone. From the traditional singles and tag team to the more extreme Exploding Barbed Wire match type. All of which can be played both online and offline against friends or foes.
Moving through the menus there is the customisation options. This will see you spending hours working through creating your perfect wrestler to take into the ring. You can also create new arenas as well as craft your own entrance.
Aside from your online modes, you will be left to explore the Road to Elite. Letting you play through the first year of the AEW, starting with a Casino Battle Royale, where you seemingly always pull the number 2 card. Weird. Taking on either one of the already-created wrestlers or even your own created monster. Flying from city to city you take on matchup after matchup and make some friends and enemies along the way. Each event gives you 4 weeks to prep, this can include recovering from your previous match by eating a nice big meal. Doing some promo or meet and greet events. Even sightseeing is all on the cards for your wrestlers’ journey. Don’t forget to hit the gym though and pump some iron to build up your stats and improve your created wrestlers.
Get In The Ring
All that is left is for you to head to the match! Once you get into the action it is very reminiscent of the older style WWE games, from Smackdown: Shut Your Mouth to Smackdown Vs Raw. Yukes have done a great job at creating a game that is both fun to pick up and play and incredibly deep. With you making use of the face buttons, to punch, kick, grapple and run. Holding a punch or kick gives you a higher-powered move but at the risk of a slower attack giving your opponent longer to counter.
Hit grapple and then you open up another selection of moves to hit. Whether it’s a suplex or chokeslam, there are so many moves included it would take you quite some time to go through them all. Honestly creating your wrestler and trying to narrow down your favourite moves is such a hard task.
Taking on your opponent you are rewarded for varied attacks. So keeping the variety is key to getting that all-important momentum going. Don’t forget to taunt your opponent as they lay on the mat in pain. It all helps! When you’re momentum gets to a certain level you unlock either your Signature or your Special moves. These are what you aim for, dealing heavy damage and potentially getting your opponent ready for the pin. 1, 2, 3… DING DING!!!
Take Your Pick
One of the main elements of any fighting game is the roster of selectable characters. AEW Fight Forever has a whole host of wrestlers to choose from. From Adam Cole to MJF. From Abadon to Thunder Rosa. With around 50 wrestlers to choose from at launch, with Matt Hardy being a preorder bonus as well as the promise of roster updates through DLC. AEW Fight Forever has the potential to grow and grow.
Graphics & Audio
AEW Fight Forever has gone for the big-looking character styles. Where everything is supersized. To be honest this makes the game more fun to play, due to the arcade style of control. I think if the game had the polished-looking superstars of other wrestling games, you would be expecting a more realistic feel to the game. Instead of giving the characters noticeable likenesses, but beefing them up to 11, this allows the game to be very arcade. Character models as such are pretty good, there is a few times where there was clipping while in a cut scene. That can be forgiven though as your character can sometimes be wearing outrageous outfits. Queue the people to find the teddy bear outfit.
The ring looks great, from the surrounding area with crowds chanting and cheering. The entrances themselves are brief and are actually enjoyable to watch. Although sometimes it would have been nice to have seen an entrance that came all the way down the ramp. I get why they have been limited but, I dunno, it just sometimes left me wanting. However, hit the start button and you can skip them and get straight into the ring.
Audio wise, AEW Fight Forever gets a little let down. It’s not its fault though. There is just a lack of wrestlers’ voices in the game. Playing through the Road to Elite game mode you meet other superstars along the way, all with no voice acting. I get that the AEW roster is busy, but surely there could have been some voice-acting from them somewhere. The in-ring sound effects however are spot on, each grunt and impact being truthfully depicted. The commentary is spot on as well. Relating to in-game action as well as other events that may have gone on.
If AEW Fight Forever is well supported post launch, with roster updates as well this has the potential to be massive. I just hope that the game gets the plaudits that it deserves. I am going to be enjoying this game for months to come, it’s even given me more interest in keeping up to date with all the goings on within the AEW as well. Just to give that bit extra to the enjoyment of the game!
Having been away from the wrestling genre for around 5 years, AEW Fight Forever is a great return for Yukes! Taking on the newest and most exciting wrestling franchise is no hard task and I’m sure with the increasing popularity of the AEW, future games are only going to get better and better. All I hope is that the core gameplay stays as fun as AEW Fight Forever is.
Thumb Culture is All Elite, awarding a Thumb Culture Gold Award!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.