Fire Pro Wrestling Returns

One of the longest running and best pro-wrestling game series returns to PS2! The latest installment (and hopefully not the last) in the series brings back more of the same fun 2D wrestling action of the series, with a huge roster spanning every major organization in Japan as well as a hand full of indy promotions.
Available this time around are wrestlers from NJPW, NOAH, AJPW, Zero-1 MAX, Dragon Gate, Osaka Pro, DDT, BJW, Kaientai Dojo, MPro, Riki-Pro, as well as joshi, freelancers and legends. And of course a collection of PRIDE, K-1 and other MMA fighters. There are even more mediocre promotions involved like Apache-Pro, as well as factions like K-Dojo’s RAVE and GET. The only small complaint I have is that I even though you can CAW about 500 wrestlers, I would have preferred the rosters be more complete (just 5 guys for K-Dojo?).
The game still looks like its classic 2D style. Its easy to tell who is who in the game, but things get pixilated rather easily if you have a big TV, and sometimes the color schemes for the wrestlers look like a total mess. Audio is passable, but nothing remarkable. The voices for the wrestlers are fun to hear though.
Gameplay wise you got a ton of different game options to choose from. From standard singles matches to big eight man elimination tags to death matches! It might not have the variety of the WWE games, but this is as good as any authentic Japanese show will have.
The controls are still the same as every other title in the series. It might take awhile to get used to the timing again, but once that’s down, you’ll be having a lot of fun beating up CPU or player controlled opponents.
And then there’s the Edit mode, which is what put the game series on the map. None of the wrestlers or promotions in the game are officially licensed, but you can easily change all the wrestler and promotion names, as well as re-color certain wrestlers so they look like their real life counterparts. You can also create your own wrestlers, promotions, referees, and title belts. I really wish we could make more title belts, as seven belts for the dozen promotions in the game is way too little.
Since there isn’t a US version planned, it will take some time to understand all the Japanese options in the game so you know what your doing. I also feel the game really could have used somekind of career mode instead of the “book a show” option in the game. Still, this retains all the fun of the series and many puroresu fans will be playing and simulating matches in this game for a LONG time (or at least until the next game comes out!).

Graphics – 6
Sound – 7
Gameplay – 8
Lifespan – 8
Overall – 8


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