I was excited when Spike Chunsoft’s Fire Pro Wrestling World was announced. I’d heard great things about previous entries in the series and the partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling was a big selling point. Who wouldn’t want to interact with superstars like Kazuchika Okada and Tetsuya Naito? And it seemed like a breath of fresh air after becoming increasingly frustrated with the minuscule changes in that other wrestling game. 

The character creation suite is extensive. In Fighting Road mode, I created my character completely by using the options on the left side of the interface to change skin color and size of the various body parts before I noticed that the top right allowed me to change features. Discovering that I could make my story mode character using all women body parts (of which there was a fair selection) was a game changer and immediately elevated FPWW before I’d even really started playing. For the first time in a wrestling game, I felt like my character was actually me.

Fire Pro Wrestling World Review

Edit Mode, for most people, is going to be the most important part of the game since it’s where you create and customize wrestlers. The mode is so in-depth that it can be intimidating. Not only do you create looks and move sets, but you can customize the order in which your wrestler does moves and a slew other things. I played around with it for a while, but in the end, I just didn’t have the patience to really get heavy into it. Which isn’t a knock on the game — the sheer amount of people who have spent the last year just running simulations of the PC version indicates that the creation suite being this deep is definitely a point in FPWW’s favor. If you get overwhelmed by the massive amount of adjustments you can make, you can just download other people’s brilliant creations — and you can even do it on the go from your phone!

Graphics aside, FPPW favors a more cartoony style, much like old-school arcade games. The biggest difference between this and the WWE 2K series is gameplay. With the latter, you can have what the game considers a decent match by simply button mashing. For FPPW, you have to learn the controls and have good timing. So many times, in the beginning, did Red Shoes raise my opponent’s hands because I was just a little too late. There’s no dedicated grapple button and matches are won not by constantly spamming moves, but by actual chain wrestling. It’s much slower paced than what I’m used to, but it also feels like I’m participating in a real NJPW match. Matches are also graded by percentage, rather than a Meltzer-esque star system, which furthers the incentive to focus on having a good match. 

Fire Pro Wrestling World Review

When not in the ring in Fighting Road, you’re treated to cutscenes that feel like a visual novel and, admittedly, resemble a dating sim (especially when Hiroshi Tanahashi, in all his iconic hair’s glory, tells you he loves you). I loved the art style and the text moved at a decent pace, so it worked well. 

If you’re having difficulty with the learning curve, Mission Mode is a godsend. After struggling so much with the timing in Fighting Road (thankfully, it gives you the option to continue even if you’ve failed, but I wanted to complete all the objectives), I took a break and decided to try it. Going through Mission Mode is what actually helped me get better at the game. The first few missions are tutorials and build from there, teaching you the mechanics of the game. As a newcomer to the Fire Pro Wrestling series, I should’ve started there and I recommend doing so to other “Young Lions.”

Fire Pro Wrestling World Review

Online could get a little laggy, but I’ve never met an online game without at least some lag. No matches were lost as a result of it and it was fine for the most part. I’m not personally a fan, though, and prefer local multiplayer. Playing with three of your friends all in your living room just feels more right with this game — probably because of the aforementioned arcade-style feel.

Fire Pro Wrestling World is fun, it looks great, and it’s a fantastic break from the monotony of WWE’s 2K series.

Fire Pro Wrestling World Review (PlayStation 4)
Fire Pro Westling World is a breath of fresh air compared to the monotony of WWE's 2K series, with an inclusive customization mode and gameplay which makes it feel like you're participating in a legitimate wrestling match.
Overall Score9
  • Intricate gameplay which makes for thrilling matches
  • Deep character customization
  • Charming 2D art style
  • Online can be a little laggy
9Overall Score
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