Spike Chunsoft – Playstation 4 (version tested), PC – Out Now
Fire Pro Wrestling is a brand that’s been around longer than most, dating back to the late 80’s, it’s one franchise that rears its head in the West every now and then, just to remind us it exists. Now it’s gracing the current generation, however it’s not quite what you’d expect. It manages to pull off the spectacular feat of being utterly terrible, yet a fantastic wrestling game at the same time. Featuring the stars of New Japan Wrestling, and a plethora of other fighters, the list of which is too daft to be entirely real, and it looks like they’ve gone down the road of many unofficial sports titles and used terrible likenesses instead. However, this being the world of Pro Wrestling, it’s probably not the latter.
There’s a ton of different modes to choose from in the game, ranging from regular exhibitions, to cage fights and even death matches involving landmines. The life of a wrestler has never been so difficult. Throw in a variety of tournament modes and the obligatory online, and there’s a lot to keep even the casual wrestling fan pleased. That being said, quantity doesn’t actually mean quality. The gameplay itself feels extremely ropey, particularly when playing against the CPU. Landing punches and kicks, even lining the characters up to perform grabs etc can prove a chore if they aren’t pin point accurate, and this is made all the more difficult by the isometric point of view. The character models and movement animations wouldn’t be out of place on an episode of South Park, and the majority of them all seem to look the same, just with different coloured costumes, especially the female characters. It seems really half-arsed.
In spite of all this, it’s an absolute blast on local multiplayer. Going up against a friend in the ring, despite its technical shortcomings, is great fun and ten times more enjoyable than going up against the CPU. If you’re really into your Japanese Pro Wrestling, then you might get something out of this, however if WWE is more your thing, you’ll not be missing anything sticking with their annual offering. The terrible animations, point of view and general controls have ruined what was a potentially great fighting game. Get a couple of friends and some beers though, and you’ll have a good laugh.