AEW Fight Forever review: An All Out wrestling celebration

AEW Fight Forever review: An All Out wrestling celebration
Images via Yuke's | THQ Nordic

Written by 

Jack Roberts

Published 

28th Jun 2023 11:05

When AEW was first established, it quickly became the most prominent competitor in the wrestling scene. And with the release of AEW: Fight Forever, it's making moves on the wrestling game scene as well. In AEW: Fight Forever, you’ll be embarking on an experience that teaches you everything about All Elite Wrestling.

If you're just coming into this with little to know prior knowledge of AEW, within minutes you'll have everything you need to become a die-hard fan.

Despite not sporting the best visuals, AEW: Fight Forever feels like the culmination of AEW’s achievements in such a short period since its formation, and wants to celebrate it. Despite a few notable flaws, it's a fun underdog that has plenty of heart.

GGRecon Verdict

At its heart, AEW: Fight Forever feels like a celebration of the AEW brand and a culmination of the promotion’s achievements. While it may be hindered by its graphics and sparse career mode, AEW: Fight Forever shines when it is paying homage to the history of the company.

It may not be the game changer like the wrestling promotion it is based on, but it is certainly fun and feels like the classic wrestling games from a bygone era.

 The show must go on

Two wrestlersbeing thrown in the ring in AEW: Fight Forever
Click to enlarge

I was first introduced to AEW during lockdown in 2020. My friend and I would have our video calls to watch as matches took place in near-empty arenas with only a small crowd to cheer them on. But despite these restrictions so early in its life AEW held firm and continued to provide entertainment.

Fast-forward to the present and playing an AEW game feels like a full-circle moment. Whenever it gets the chance, AEW: Fight Forever pays homage to all things All Elite Wrestling. More often than not, cutscenes consist of real footage and go to great lengths to emphasise the hard work that has gone into establishing AEW as a true competitor in a world that has been dominated by WWE for decades.

From the music to the character models, Fight Forever has gone to great lengths to capture the quirks and iconic moments that have made AEW what it is today. The game balances overall gameplay with an archive of AEW's many achievements and honours its talent accordingly with accurate depictions.

A little bit of the bubbly

Kenny Omega pins his opponent in AEW: Fight Forever
Click to enlarge

In a game full to bursting with content, AEW: Fight Forever even has something of a campaign in its "Road To Elite" mode. This allows players to choose one of their favourite wrestlers and experience a year in AEW. You’ll be training them and travelling across the United States to become the ultimate wrestler.

While taking the time to mould your wrestlers has benefits for other modes, it feels a little sparse compared to the other modes in the game. Rather than an individual story for the wrestlers (which would have been an immense feat given the sheer number of them to choose from), it is one story with your wrestler effectively filling a standard character role.

However, this can leave the character models feeling a little stiff and static outside of the ring, with little voice acting beyond announcers like Jim Ross or AEW's founder, Tony Khan.

But, while I found the career mode a little lacking, AEW: Fight Forever more than made up for it in the assortment of other modes and minigames players can dive into. From the chaos of an Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match, or a Penta Says minigame (that feels oddly like something out of Rhythm Heaven), there is plenty to get stuck into.

Going All Out

Chris Jericho vs John Moxley in AEW: Fight Forever
Click to enlarge

While you're ultimately going to be playing as your favourite AEW talents like Kenny Omega, Luchasaurus or Thunder Rosa, what's a fighting game without customisation options?

The character creator is exceptionally fun, allowing you to create anything ranging from an aesthetically pleasing serious contender to an immensely burly brute. But it doesn't stop at their appearance. You can also customise their entrance, music, screen transitions and moveset.

If you think the detail that has gone into the pre-existing characters was already strong, just wait until you are designing your own to compete against the best. Chris Jericho facing off against the lil guy I made feels like something you would have seen in older wrestling games and retains the same level of charm.

A Sting in the tail

Thunder Roas spraying Abadon with a fire extinguisher
Click to enlarge

Where AEW: Fight Forever falls however is in its overall presentation. Graphically, it looks somewhat outdated, and not something you would expect to see on current-gen hardware. In taking a more arcade-like approach, it sacrifices some of the polish you would maybe come to expect now, despite harkening back to wrestling titles of old.

However, despite the graphical limitations, the wrestlers you’ll be playing are at least recognisable and contain a great level of detail in their demeanour. Right down to the taunts, entrances and victories, their signature moves and poses have been thoroughly replicated.

Seeing Dr Britt Baker spelling out D.M.D during her iconic entrance, or Orange Cassidy taunting and placing his hands in his pockets in the ring that can even change his fighting style is the attention to detail that keeps AEW: Fight Forever from feeling stale, and is a testament to Yukes' efforts.

The Verdict

Kenny Omega knees his opponent in AEW: Fight Forever
Click to enlarge

At its heart, AEW: Fight Forever feels like a celebration of the AEW brand and a culmination of the promotion’s achievements. While it may be hindered by its graphics and sparse career mode, AEW: Fight Forever shines when it is paying homage to the history of the company.

It may not be the game changer like the wrestling promotion it is based on, but it is certainly fun and feels like the classic wrestling games from a bygone era.

3.5/5

Reviewed on PS5. Review code provided by the publisher.

Jack is a Guides Writer at GGRecon. With a BA (Hons) & MA in English and Creative Writing, he was also the Gaming Editor for The Indiependent. When not pondering which game has the best cup of coffee (and drinking far too much of it himself), he can often be found playing Dead by Daylight, Street Fighter or making yet another build in Bloodborne.