I fell out of love with wrestling games a few years ago. It wasn’t that they weren’t enjoyable, It was just that it was the same thing over and over again. For me, all wrestling games went from a “must purchase” to a “I can wait till Christmas” to “rental only” in the space of 12 short months. With my appetite already wetted for WWE ’13 could Fire Pro Wrestling tide me over for the time being.
Fire Pro Wrestling is an Avatar based game (with Avatar Famestar), so without even investigating you know you will be looking at a cartoony, arcade experience with a few dashes of humour added for good measure – hell, even your character’s muscles come in the form of flesh coloured tee shirt and I’m not sure the tickle attack is a genuine wrestling move.
Being a fan of wrestling games years ago, I always found it hard not to get frustrated with the limited number of moves that you could actually assign to your character. Fire Pro Wrestling exaggerates this problem greatly – despite every single button on your controller being utilised.
Every wrestler has one basic strike, a single powerful strike and a charged strike. You can also implement grapple moves with the push of a button which opens up a number of new moves such as piledrivers and suplexes. A running move, an aerial jump from the turnbuckle, a downed opponent strike and a finisher round up your complete move-set.
Let’s add them up. Yes, Fire Pro Wrestling gives you a grand total of 12 moves plus a finisher. This becomes a lot more frustrating when – as you win matches – you unlock more and more moves. For example the game has 32 basic strikes which you can assign. Personally I would have liked to have seen a ‘directional +’ button combination implemented just give a little bit more variety.
This doesn’t mean that the game isn’t fun. The point of the game, as per all wrestling games, is to become the champion. there are 3 single player “circuits” each consisting of 18 matches which are split between a selection of different match types such as single matches, tag team and battle-royale to name just three. All matches last no more than a few minutes but your enjoyment level will be directly proportionate to the number of time you feel that the A.I has “cheated”.
After each match you earn money and experience and also unlock various moves and taunts available for you to purchase with said earned money. Each time you earn enough experience to level up you are rewarded with attribute points which you can assign to basic skills such speed, power or technique.
You also unlock various wrestling related attire in which you can dress your avatar in. This gave me endless amounts of fun as whilst it is limited, if you spend some time on it exploring the different options available, you can experiment and come up with an outfit that, while not 100% unique, you would be hard pushed to see on someone else.
The focus of Fire Pro Wrestling is for good old fashioned, quick multiplayer fun, and finding online matches is easy enough. However, the implementation of rank matching was sadly forgotten and you can very often have a 70-75 level difference between players which handicaps the lower level player far too much.
Fire Pro Wrestling is good fun, in quick, short doses. The levelling and unlocking elements will keep the OCD gamers amongst us coming back. It is rather limited in what matters most – online gameplay – but will certainly keep a wrestling fan happy until the big guns of WWE ’13 come out next month.
MLG Rating: 6/10 Platform: Xbox 360 Release Date: 19/09/2012
Disclosure: Fire Pro Wrestling was purchased by SiStevens. The title was reviewed over the course of five days on an Xbox 360. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.