Fire Pro Wrestling World is coming down the ramp, armed with a steel chair, ready to floor wrestling fans! Coming out as tag partners, we have New Japan Pro Wrestling! Will Fire Pro Wrestling World become the IWGP champ or will it lose to the three count?
From the start, Fire Pro Wrestling World has plenty of features and modes to pick from that wrestling fans will recognise. There’s exhibition, tournament, league, battle royal, online, story and mission mode. Within each of these are even more choices of various wrestling match types. Once a match type is selected, options open up for the venue type, the ring, and referee. Match settings can be adjusted for speed, difficulty, time, run-ins, etc. There are a lot of choices on offer to ensure you can create yourself a rather unique fight every time.
The story mode is told in an RPG/Visual novel-like manner with still images of people on the screen and their dialogue on the bottom. I found this to be brilliant as it meant I could read the wrestlers lines in the voices I imagined they would have. In other games, the animations and voices can sound extremely bad and sometimes they don’t sync up right. This is also perfect as it means I can read the story at my own pace and enjoy the story mode at a lot more comfortable pace.
Starting off as a beginner to the Fire Pro Wrestling series, I found that matches were not a simple exchange of strikes to reduce a health bar, pulling a signature, and then a finisher. In fact, a lot of the common aspects of other wrestling games can be forgotten as this goes to do its own thing. There are no health bars to show how defeated you or your opponents are. Instead, the wrestlers will stand up and be out of breath. That’s when the big hits happen in order to bring on the winning pin.
Controls for the matches are very simplistic. There’s a weak, medium, heavy attack, run, and pin. During matches, the moves are easy to pull off without trying to remember which directional and slew of button prompts does what. To help, there is a tutorial to go through which demonstrates what to look for in order to perform the best you can. Contrary to other wrestling games, there is no button mashing or minigames for you to perform so you can pull off a submission. When a pin is eventually performed, it’s based on the match results whether or not you’ll be kicking out.
Character customisation is a big deal in Fire Pro Wrestling. There’s everything from body parts to their outfits. A person can easily spend lots of time adjusting and creating the wrestlers of their imagination or creating ones that represent someone they know. The adjustments you can do can be realistic or extreme far-fetched nonsense, such as one I created who had no torso. He had floating limbs and a head. That’s how crazy the customizing can be when you decide to go all-out and mess about! There’s even a chance that with a bit of adjusting, your character could just be a floating head!
The customisation doesn’t stop with just the wrestlers either. Everything offers some form of manual customisation, such as edits that can be done to the referees, the teams, the ring, and the titles. If you’re proud of your creations, you can upload them to FPW Net for other people to try out. Likewise, you too can download other people’s creations.
There is a patch to download for Fire Pro Wrestling which fixes a number of issues, but I still encountered a few technical problems within my gameplay. While doing customisations, there is a bit of lag while adjusting features and moving things around. Trying to pick out how your character looks while dealing with that lag does bring down the experience a little. The more you want to keep doing, the more your patience is tested. If changing multiple characters, the process could feel like it’s taking forever as you try and persevere with the sluggish controls. Along with the brief lag, there are noticeable rate drops when it’s more than just a 1v1 match.
I attempted to do online but other than one match that took over five minutes to get in to, I didn’t manage to join any others in the time I was playing Fire Pro Wrestling. My settings were simply for a quick match to see what the online mode would be like and how well it handles. Based on my match with the one person, it did play as smooth as if I was playing against CPU on a local match. Since I didn’t have much chance to play others, I can safely say I am undefeated online! On Fire Pro Wrestling, at least.
My experiences with Fire Pro Wrestling World were so different compared to other wrestling games and it was very welcomed. After doing the tutorial and understanding the game’s mechanics, I was captured into wanting to play for hours straight. There might be some hiccups with lag and frame drops but the fun factor keeps going. It’s safe to say that Fire Pro Wrestling World did indeed win the IWGP Championship title.