Everybody and their mother knows of the WWE2K series, which many knowledgeable fans consider to be a joke compared to the Japanese cult hit wrestling simulator, Fire Pro Wrestling. Despite Fire Pro Wrestling World, its latest installment, debuting on the PC just last year, it finally got a PS4 release for an international audience, but with some new features. So what are some reasons to play or not play Fire Pro Wrestling World besides the fact that it owns WWE2K? Well, read our list to find out!
3. Features the Stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling
For those of you that don’t know, Fire Pro made its debut on the PC Engine in Japan towards the end of the 1980s. Up until the PS4 release of Fire Pro Wrestling World, it NEVER EVER (to quote Chris Jericho) featured any actual wrestlers (although many featured wrestlers bare major resemblances to actual wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan or The Undertaker). As for PS4 version, it features the present day roster of Japan’s most illustrious wrestling promotion, New Japan Pro Wrestling. Meaning you can play as Kenny Omega, Tetsuya Naitou, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, and so on. And when you play its career mode, you get to participate in notable NJPW events such as Wrestle Kingdom!
2. Multiple Styles of Matches
As opposed to playing your standard wrestling match, there’s always the option to fight in a cage and more. For instance, you can do anywhere between 4-to-8 man tag matches, or a royal rumble with up to 30 wrestlers. I’m sure you’ve heard of some of the crazy gimmick matches that you can see only in Japan, that even the Attitude Era of the WWE would never allow, right? Ever heard of the match where if the time limit expires, the ring explodes? Guess what!? You can play that match with this game! Or what about old school ECW hardcore matches with barbwire? Then, you got that! What about MMA? Then you can play in the Octagon under unified rules! What about striking only? Then let’s get it on!
If there is one thing that Fire Pro has gotten right with not just this installment, but going far back to its releases on the PS1 and Saturn, it would have to be its create-a-wrestler mode. If you remember the create-a-wrestler for the old WWE games for the N64, then multiply that by over 9000 and that’s what you get with Fire Pro’s. For any create-an-athlete feature in any sports game, Fire Pro’s has the deepest you can ever get. Putting aside that no present day non-Japanese based promotional wrestlers are officially featured, its create-a-wrestler allows you to create the likes of Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Brock Leonard, Ric Flair, and Bret Hart to the most accurate detail.
If it takes too long for you to create them, you can easily download them off the official server provided by other players. Not only will they resemble those wrestlers, they’ll have all of their moves (Hulk Hogan’s leg drop, Brock Lesnar’s F5, and Bret Hart’s sharpshooter)! In addition to customizing (and/or downloading) wrestlers, you can also get referees and your own custom rings. So if you want a Raw, Smackdown, or old school Nitro ring, you can either create your own or download them off the server!
3. Sprite Graphics
When you look at WWE2K, you get graphics so detailed to the point that you can’t tell it from the real WWE programming. As for Fire Pro, it has always traditionally stuck with using sprite graphics. Even with this installment just nearly 30 years after its initial debut, it’s still presently the same game. Try to imagine Final Fantasy to this day still using sprites (at least upgraded enough for modern day consoles), and that’s what Fire Pro is to pro wrestling games. If graphics to the likes of WWE2K are a priority to you over quality gameplay, then Fire Pro isn’t for you.
2. Limited Soundtrack
If you want a 100+ song soundtrack, Fire Pro doesn’t have that. If there is one thing we can praise some previous WWE games for, it’s that it allows players to use custom soundtracks. Take for example if you want a Pearl Jam song as an entrance song, one of the old WWE games for the original Xbox allows that. As for Fire Pro, despite all of its great customization features, it would be nice if it allowed players to upload songs into their games for custom background music, or as entrance music. If we can make Hulk Hogan, players should sure as hell be allowed to use his classic Real American entrance song!
1. Steep Learning Curve
If you want a button masher, then Fire Pro is not your game. Mastering this game will take a lot of time. It’s more of a simulator as opposed to a quick paced fighting game like Tekken. The moment your wrestler and opponent lock up, your input is going to require precise timing in order to pull off a suplex or a piledriver. It takes a while to figure out how the game works and if you don’t have the patience to learn regardless of the rewards, then we can’t recommend Fire Pro.
Fire Pro Wrestling, with not just its present installment but as a franchise as a whole, is the true definition to substance over style. This is the game for those that are passionate fans of professional wrestling. If you don’t like wrestling but still want a challenging game, Fire Pro can still offer that. As opposed to using custom wrestlers, maybe you can use custom characters from pop culture like the Ninja Turtles, Marvel or DC’s superheroes, or maybe even WWE Hall of Fame inductee, President Donald Trump!