Video Games

AEW: Fight Forever Review – IGN

In the 1980s, 16-time world champion Ric Flair popularized the phrase, “To be The Man, you have to beat The Man.” In the wrestling game, “The Man” is his WWE 2K series and has been quite unwavering for the better part of a decade. Newcomer AEW Fight Forever’s challenge doesn’t change his balance of power, but the classic arcade design Relying on his ideas and adopting a play-and-play philosophy is admired for its boldness should. It’s got a noticeable lack of genre-standard features, an underwhelming single-player campaign, and a few mechanical bugs that drag it down. This fighter isn’t ready for the main event yet.

In the style department, Fight Forever captivates with its cartoonish character models and energetic animation. Most of his 52 competitors available have well-rendered caricatures, with the Kenny Omega and Jon Moxley caricatures being one of my favorites of him. Even something that looks quirky, like Chris Jericho in air fryer form, has the advantage that it doesn’t have to be “realistic” to convey the right vibe.

Due to the tangle of licensing agreements, it’s impossible to release a wrestling game with an exact match to the TV show, and many games featuring wrestlers are based on character models from then and now. It looks different. Designed or not already in the company. That said, the in-game roster is visibly and almost unforgivably absent characters and championships that have featured prominently in the real-life product over the years, such as Toni Storm and Daniel Garcia.

When they get busy in the ring, every bump, kick, and punch has an almost Def Jam Vendetta-esque exaggerated explosiveness that enhances the over-the-top nature of pro wrestling’s aerials and acrobatics in a comic book fashion. increase. superhero violence. Aside from the lively animations, there are some scenes where some movements can actually affect how you play, in some cool ways you’ve never seen in a game of this kind. For example, cantankerous Dutch goth kickboxer Malakay Black can spray a black mist in his opponent’s eyes in desperation. For the receiver, the control is briefly confused.

Every bump, kick and punch has an exaggerated explosiveness almost like Def Jam Vendetta.

I wish my out-of-ring style was just as inspiring. Most of the menu is pretty but not interesting at all. Some of the music is performed by AEW wrestlers like Swerve Strickland and Max Castor, and while it’s full of energy, it’s still pretty haunting. Fight Forever’s tiny bit of narration is hit or miss, the introduction to his massive single-player campaign Road to Elite is hit, but everything else is hit or miss. Legendary wrestling announcer Jim Ross has a particularly bad way of speaking, so if someone told me that he was one of the most recognizable and most loved voices in wrestling history, and I didn’t know him well, I’d get a bang on the head. you would think you got it He has a steel chair many times.

If you’re like me and love using wrestling games’ creative tools, you might find the Create a Wrestler and Arena modes a bit bare-bones. There’s a shocking lack of facial diversity, and apart from a few jewels like the silly bear costume from the web show BTE, it’s very scarce in the cosmetics department. Ironically, the creative suite includes a ton of assets, from voiced entry calls to wrestler poses and movements that didn’t appear during the match, but with the tools available , it is very difficult to create them yourself. Tons of modding (for those with PCs and bottomless motivation). It also lacks many quality-of-life features, such as the ability to classify movements by type. That said, it can be tedious to sort through his menu of techniques in Fight Forever to find the best move for your combatant.

It’s very similar to today’s popular wrestling games, but lacks polish and responsiveness.

I’ve grown to love the in-ring action of Fight Forever, but it’s far from my favorite pro wrestling game. Fast movements and smooth animations give the action a unique frenetic energy. The basics of combat are simple in theory and should resonate with anyone who has ever played a wrestling game. The punch, kick, and grapple buttons all have different moves when combined with the directional tilt of the movement stick, making them weaker or stronger depending on whether you tap or hold them down, so you’ll never run out of options.

It’s very similar to today’s popular wrestling games, but lacks polish and responsiveness. In some cases, strike combos and grapple sequences can complete successfully. Occasionally, however, attacks inexplicably miss, or worse, they’re momentarily bugged to the point that pressing a button does nothing. Things like running, jumping off the ropes, dragging your opponent around the ring, and slamming them into the ropes are things I’ve always felt disconnected from. Adding to the list of complaints, the AI ​​is often insensitive, frequently doing inexplicable things like standing completely still or aimlessly walking towards opponents or corners, at least on Normal difficulty. . All of these problems are exacerbated when playing against friends online. It can add clipping and rubberbanding frequently at frankly unacceptable speeds.

Whereas Fight Forever deviates from modern wrestling games and borrows from heavyweight games of past genres like WWF, No Mercy is on the momentum system, offering a wide variety of attacks by getting closer and closer to the finishing move. and a solid defense can be rewarded. Once the momentum meter is full, the character can freely unlock his four traits and special moves. These feel like true match-ending abilities, whether used fairly early on or when properly leveraging each wrestler’s unique passive skill set (like jumping off a turnbuckle, You can take advantage of their strengths and gain bonus momentum by doing things like attacking first (during the match) and you’ll soon find yourself ready with a big weapon.

It’s frustrating when nothing tells you exactly where you stand all the time.

On the other hand, low activity puts you at a higher risk of losing a match due to pings or submissions, but this is separate from the opaque health and limb damage systems, which are also a big factor in your chances of winning. . It may seem intuitive that taking more damage over time makes the attrition worse, but it’s frustrating not having something to tell you exactly where you’re at all the time.

This frustration carries over to submissions and the recovery system in general. If you are stretched by your opponent, you will be prompted to mash the button to release it, but it will not tell you how many mashes you need to do to release it. When downed, I tend to mash buttons and move sticks to speed up my recovery, but I’m not sure if that actually works. To keep the accessibility bar low, this kind of thing doesn’t have to be a mystery.

Of the limited match types on offer, the ones I mostly enjoyed were the anything-goes hardcore style lights out matches. This is mainly because it showcases Fight Forever’s unique and hilarious weapons. Genre staples like humble steel chairs and kendo sticks are joined by rideable skateboards, barbed-wire broomsticks, and literal explosives. These matches in particular have a strong spirit of sillyness in the name of fun, something that WWE’s wrestling games have been lacking for some time.

Its signature single-player mode, Road to Elite, is a serious but disappointing attempt to bring back the old-school season mode that reminds us of PS2-era WWE wrestling games. After choosing a character from the AEW talent roster or from your own creations, speedrun his year through the life of an AEW wrestler. Playing for four months, each split into weekly matches that eventually culminate in his massive monthly PPV event. I actually like the brevity of it. We were able to complete the entire run in just a few hours. This is very important for modes that emphasize replayability.

The stories your character gets into are mostly silly and bad, but they’re not entirely beyond the scope of professional wrestling. Having your willing tag team partner also be someone who’s been stealing your stuff for weeks isn’t as offensive to your IQ as anything you’d see in a regular episode of Dynamite, but It wasn’t that I was trying a little harder to experience multiple times. And unlike his MyRise mode in the 2K game, it features short, gimmicky subplots to suit the larger overarching storyline, but these are all just stop-and-start angles, not real content. there is no. The story is supposed to branch depending on wins and losses, but does that mean you need to win certain matches to get different results, or do you have a win/loss record above a certain percentage? It is not clear what is meant by I’m playing Road to Elite for his third time, but I’ve only seen half of the 12 different stories available, and there are no specific instructions on how to watch the rest.

Also, while Road to Elite has some light management sim elements, it’s a little undercooked. Each week, you can work out to earn skill points that improve your stats, go sightseeing to earn his buffs as temporary motivation for your next match, or sample local cuisine to enjoy all of it. You can recover the energy you need. However, if you choose a character that hasn’t been created, all your skill points are completely useless, as you can’t change your stats. Created wrestlers start with minimal skill and no practice, so new players can be bullied by fully-equipped, top-end opponents they’ll be paired with early on. This mode has a lot of potential, but it’s not realized here.

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