AEW Fight Forever (Part Two)
If you haven't checked out Part One of this review, I suggest doing that before you read this one. Part One is where I cover all of the basics of this game. During this part, I will delve deeper into the various modes you can mess around with. Before we get going with that, I'd like to point out some issues with the DLC.
I bought the "Elite Edition" of AEW: Fight Forever, which means I got the season pass for all of the upcoming DLC. Since they're calling it a "season pass," there may be more than one season pass after this cycle is concluded, but I'm not sure. I guess they're leaving the door open for that option. The problem with the DLC packs is their release dates have been pushed way back. Each round of DLC features two wrestlers and one new mini-game (We'll get to the mini-games later). Thankfully, the FTR DLC bundle was ready to go on release day, as promised, but the other two that were scheduled to be released at the end of July and the end of August got pushed back to now being released at the end of August and the end of October! I really don't understand how inserting two wrestlers and a mini-game into your already existing game can apparently be so difficult and time-consuming.
Since I mentioned the mini-games; let's go over them right now. This was one part of the game I was really looking forward to but it ended up being slightly disappointing. The mini-games themselves are all pretty fun; don't get me wrong. The only reason I was slightly disappointed is because I was hoping there would be some sort of online feature with them. You know, like playing a round of Mario Party mini-games against online competition. The mini-games do feature local multiplayer so they can still be a lot of fun if you have a few friends over. The reward for performing well in the mini-games is, in-game currency used to unlock various things in the shop and also some XP to go along with it.
The mini-games included with the base game are "Chip Gather" (you compete with your opponents to run around the ring and catch the most falling poker chips), "AEW Pop Quiz" (an AEW trivia game), "Penta Says" (a rhythm-based "Simon Says" game lead by Penta El Zero Miedo), and "Join Us" (a mini-game based around The Dark Order where you chase potential members around the ring and try to put more masks on them then your opponent can). The mini-game that came with the FTR DLC is called "Deth Race-X" based on Darby Allin and his skateboard. In this mini-game, you skateboard around some sort of electrified barbed wire arena, trying to cover more distance than your opponents while also doing jumps with the skateboard to knock them down and impede their progress. "Deth Race-X" is probably my favorite mini-game so far. We'll see if that's the case once more DLC finally gets released.
Next, we'll take a look at the "Create" option. When I was in my late teens/early-20s (when Create options were first being introduced in North American wrestling games), creating my own wrestler was something that I loved to do! Nowadays, not so much. I don't know if it's something I grew out of or what but now, I enjoy playing as the wrestlers that are on the actual roster of whatever particular game that I'm playing at the time. If I were to create something now, I'd be much more likely to try to create a wrestler that I'm a fan of who's not on the roster as opposed to making one up myself.
The Create feature in AEW is really deep for those that are into that sort of thing, though. You can modify anything about any wrestler on the roster (entrance music, entrances, ring gear, etc) and there are a lot of different props and tools to be able to create your own wrestler or even your own arena. To paraphrase Soul Train Jones/Virgil when he spoke about Chris Jericho's potential on AEW Dynamite; the create options are like Olive Garden breadsticks... unlimited.
I've enjoyed the online matches that I've been able to play in AEW: Fight Forever but sometimes they're few and far between. I think part of it is the game not being cross-platform which means I can only be lined up against other players with the Switch version. I love Nintendo and I love my Switch, but when it comes to games like this one, I imagine more players are playing the PlayStation and Xbox versions rather than the Switch version that I play. I also think online matches are a little harder to find because there's no "quick match" option for players like me who aren't picky about what match type they're being dropped into. The way it works here is you have to pick a specific match type and hope that other players are also searching for that same match type at the same that you are. A quick match option would make it much easier to connect with someone.
Last but not least, we come to the Road To Elite mode. This serves as the story mode for this game. In reality, playing through a round of this mode is a pretty quick process. If you sat down and played it straight through; it would only take a couple of hours at most. The good thing is you can play through it multiple times before it begins to get stale and repetitive. This is because it's randomized each time you play through it. The story is set up with different "blocks" and story arcs. The blocks involve you working your way through a year of wrestling in AEW. You work your way through competing in 4 AEW pay-per-views (4 blocks). Each block has three different story arcs that could possibly happen - A, B, and C. Triggering different story arcs in the various blocks of the story are also how you unlock a majority of the locked wrestlers in the game so that also gives you more incentive to play through the story more than most.
Each week you play through in Road To Elite gives you various choices of things to do and ends with your wrestler competing on either Dynamite or the end-of-the-month pay-per-view itself. Each week gives you four turns and you can choose to do things like workout for extra XP or go sightseeing and build up your momentum a little. You can choose to compete on one of AEW's B-shows or even sample a bit of the local cuisine of the particular city/state that you're in, at a restaurant, in order to restore your energy level. After each meal, a fact appears about the food you just ate and why it's famous in that particular part of the country. For example, if you're in Philadelphia, you'll be chowing down on a cheesesteak and then see a fact about Philly Cheesesteaks afterward. When you first start the Road To The Elite mode; you're given the choice of having a vegetarian menu during your run in AEW. Having a detail as small as that is one of the more interesting options that I've ever seen in a video game, to be honest.
After hours of playing it, AEW: Fight Forever is somewhat hit-and-miss but it's a really fun pick-up-and-play wrestling game just like we used to get in the old days. I quite enjoy it. My main complaint has been the DLC taking forever to get released. Even if it could be improved slightly in some areas; there's a lot of fun to be had here. I would suggest everyone should check it out but if you're on the fence about it, just wait until it's on sale in the E-Shop. Then, it would definitely be worth picking up.
Until next time... keep mashing those buttons!