AEW: Fight Forever has been highly anticipated since first being announced back in November 2020! Being developed by Yuke’s, who is well known for many of the older WWE games, Fight Forever looked like it could finally be what many fans of the Smackdown vs Raw era were looking for. But does this new wrestling title live up to the legendary games of old? Well, lets answer that question shall we!
The Interesting Visual Design in AEW Fight Forever
Upon stepping out onto the entrance ramp, one thing becomes abundantly clear! Fight Forever is definitely trying to make a statement! It has no interest in being like any competing wrestling game, and will try to set itself apart from the plethora of other rasslin’ titles that have come before it.
Whilst its 2K counterpart focuses almost exclusively on the simulation approach, Fight Forever seems to favour a much more arcadey style. Many of the characters feature accentuated muscular figures, with an almost cartoon-esque design. Whilst they still do share a decent likeness with the real wrestlers in AEW, there is definitely a lighthearted touch here that really helps set the tone of the game.
How does AEW Fight Forever play?
However, once you actually jump in the ring, the charm of the visuals wears off! AEW Fight Forever really struggles to decide on its direction. Whilst the gameplay largely opts for that arcadey feeling, its awkward controls leads to it being a bit of a mess. Whilst it does work on a technical level, the default layout feels really strange.
This can be seen in the fact that taunts and finishers share the same input (that being, moving the right stick on controller) whilst signature moves are mapped to the D-Pad. Blocking grapples has a separate input to strike guards, and even then defending yourself against the opposition doesn’t work very well! The “mash the button” approach to breaking out of a pin or submission attempt is also very outdated… Especially with the fact that there is no indication on screen as to whether blistering your fingers in this way is even worth it in the moment.
I can understand and appreciate that Yuke’s was trying to set Fight Forever apart from WWE’s titles! But I feel like all they did was muddy the waters in the process… This is one feature that would have benefited from replicating the style that works so well for the 2K series! It seems like they got caught up with trying to bring back the nostalgia of the Smackdown vs Raw series, without actually replicating that style either. So what we got, is really neither here nor there!
Fight Forever’s few Game Modes!
One of the biggest downfalls in AEW: Fight Forever is the lack of variety. Outside of a couple of match types, the standard online features and the Road to Elite gamemode (Fight Forever’s Career Mode), there really isn’t much here. This is quite disappointing as Road to Elite lacks depth and the exhibition matches are mostly just your standard match with just a variation on the amount of participants. It would have been nice to see more of AEW’s unique match stipulations. Admittedly, the Casino Battle Royale is a bit of fun. However, the other unique match type, the Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch, just doesn’t cut it… It honestly seems like a match that a 5 year old would have thought of, and sadly it plays like one…
There are also some minigames available, which offer a slightly different wrestling experience. However, only a number of them are available initially outside of career mode. These minigames may give you a laugh for a while, but they are obviously not the reason you would want to buy a wrestling game. Nice little addition though!
AEW Fight Forever’s Career Mode
On the topic of Road to Elite, this career mode itself is also quite a letdown. The storylines seem to advance way too quickly with no real rhyme or reason. You’ll be thrown into more tag teams than Randy Orton… Sorry… wrong franchise… But seriously, the pacing is just off here. Tag teams and rivalries seem to form and end for almost no reason. It is just odd…
Also, it’s strange that there is no commentating during the matches. Whilst some may choose to look at this as a design choice, I can’t help but feel this was one of the ways that the devs cut corners to help get the game finished sooner. There is a massive absence of voice acting in the career mode as well, which again, just seems odd. I am not asking that every line be acted out! But the fact that there is almost none at all, especially with the decent amount of dialogue put in the game just adds to my frustrations with the title.
I am saddened to say that the bad outweighs the good in AEW’s first venture into the world of video games! There are some really cool features here! However, they have to wrestle with clunky mechanics and a severe lack of creativity and just fall flat in the process. This just leads to AEW: Fight Forever being a really disappointing experience! If you try hard enough, you might find something to enjoy here! But unlike the actual AEW brand, the game just can’t compete with its WWE counterpart!
By Samuel Incze – Reviewed on PS5
AEW Fight Forever struggles to find its place with its first entry into the world of video games! Whilst it tries to set itself apart from WWE’s flagship series, with a lack of creativity and variety, it just ends up becoming a bit monotonous. There may be something here for die hard fans, but unfortunately beyond a few matches in exhibition and a lackluster career mode, AEW Fight Forever does not do enough to be an enticing wrestling game! Unfortunately, unlike the actual AEW brand, the game just can’t compete with its WWE counterpart!
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by THQ Nordic and AEW Games. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.
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