AEW Fight Forever Review (PS5) – With what is shaping up to be quite an exciting year for All Elite Wrestling, their long awaited debut game is finally here, developed by Yuke’s, who have a storied history developing wrestling games, and published by THQ Nordic.
After a number of set backs and delays, AEW Fight Forever is ready to step into the arena, and provide an alternative to the excellent WWE 2K23, but is it a worthy competitor?
AEW Fight Forever Review (PS5) – A Disappointing Debut
In stark contrast to WWE 2K23, AEW Fight Forever is taking a different approach to the style of wrestling game it is going for. Less simulation, and more arcade.
Basic heavy, light, and low attacks are made with the face buttons and grapples can be performed by pressing a direction and face button, after locking up with your opponent.
It’s very straight forward, and allows for a low bar of entry for every type of player. It can even be made easier within the settings, which is great for accessibility.
If you’ve played any wrestling game before the 2K era of WWE games, you will feel a keen sense of familiarity. Alas, therein lies the problem.
The problems those games had back then, exist in equal measure in AEW Fight Forever. Whether it be the finicky lock on system that sees you cycle through opponents, the lackluster kick out system that has you spam buttons to break a pin fall, or the matches where you face more than one opponent, that are more frustrating than fun.
On a more positive note, chain wrestling and organic reversals can be very eye catching, and feels more like you’re playing active part in a very satisfying aspect of wrestling. There is also a fun array of weapons to hit your opponents with, which I’m sure fans will appreciate.
Lacking Content At Launch
Perhaps the more significant issue with AEW fight forever is that it is lacking content at launch. Whilst there is the barbed wire exploding death match which is fun, there is a lack of match types, modes, and a rather disappointing roster.
It’s especially disappointing given that AEW has such a rich and varied roster of incredible talent.
The pyro and special effects in the entrances are interactive, which is a nice feature, but its lacking as the entrances themselves are cut short, and that takes away from some of the flare and spectacle of wrestling in general, and perhaps even worse is the lack of commentary.
Beyond some snippets from the likes of Taz, William Regal, Excalibur, and the legendary JR, for mostly tutorial purposes, the game has no in match commentary or other such voice work to speak of, which for me is key and its absence is greatly felt.
Career Cut Short
Unfortunately, the career mode is also found wanting. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some cool ideas in there. Between shows, the player character can train at the gym, eat at restaurants to sustain energy for your upcoming matches, take part in press conferences, or just see the sights of whatever city you’re in.
You can even challenge The Elite themselves, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega, to a variety of mini games, which make for a fun aside.
However, the career mode is short. It’s over before you know it. There’s even a trophy for completing the “Road to Elite” 10 times, which should give you an idea of just how short it is.
Even still, the story beats that are there, are rather generic and towards the end it eventually gets a little hokey. Sometimes, there are video clips of memorable AEW moments that will play, often lining up contextually with the story of the career mode. I thought this was a nice touch.
Road to Elite can at least be played with any character you choose, including your own created wrestler, not that it makes a significant difference.
Lackluster Creation Suite and Disappointing Character Models
The character models can range from passable to poor. The likeness of some wrestlers just isn’t there, regardless of the style or aesthetic the game is going for. It really comes off as dated, especially when you look to the crowd, who honestly look strange at times.
Wrestling games really benefit from a solid creation suite. The CAW community can provide longevity, especially in a game that is already missing so many of its top stars. Alas, I don’t see how that’s possible with what’s available here.
Disappointingly, there isn’t a lot appearance options to speak of. It’s alarmingly minimal in its offerings. The end product of a created character only further accentuates the unsightly character models.
Oppositely, when it comes to move sets, there is plenty available. A wide array of moves can be applied to your created character, with plenty of references that hardcore wrestling fans will enjoy. Definitely the strongest part of the creation suite.
AEW Fight Forever Doesn’t Capture What AEW Is All About
During my time with AEW Fight Forever, I didn’t experience many technical hiccups. Some pop in here and there, but nothing significant.
As a big fan of AEW and wrestling in general, it’s difficult not to be disappointed by AEW Fight Forever. For a promotion that celebrates the many different styles of professional wrestling, this game doesn’t come close to reflecting that.
I will say it was great to get to play as some of my favourite wrestlers, but sadly, the game is lacking in almost every department.
The Yuke’s style of wrestling game feels too rigid to really capture what AEW is all about. Beyond that initial nostalgia for a more arcadey approach, It’s difficult to recommend AEW Fight Forever when there are better wrestling games available.
AEW Fight Forever is available on PS5 on June 29th, 2023.