AEW Fight Forever (Part Three)
I heard rumors during Fight Forever's development period that there was going to be a Stadium Stampede mode which sounded very interesting to me. I rarely watch AEW, so I had never seen their Stadium Stampede match from Double Or Nothing (2020). Once I did a little research about the match itself; I was very much anticipating being able to play this mode. Once I was able to play it, it wasn't anything like what I expected it to be like but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as we shall see.
I'll stop referring to Stadium Stampede as a "mode" from here on out because it's much more than that. It's pretty much its own game and is treated as such within Fight Forever. By adding new menu options; AEW: Fight Forever is now split between Stadium Stampede and the "Main Game". You cycle to whichever you'd like to play. Choosing Stadium Stampede takes you to... well... Stadium Stampede. The "Main Game" contains everything else, including "regular" online matches.
I mentioned that upon playing Stadium Stampede for the first time, it was nothing like I'd thought it would be and that's very true. I was not expecting the main influence for this game would be Fortnite! Who would've guessed? My initial thought was that it was gonna be a basic wrestling-style match that happened to be in a football stadium and the last man standing would win but, no. Stadium Stampede looks and feels like Fortnite more than anything else. I have a young nephew so, I have been coerced into playing more than a couple hundred hours of Fortnite. I must admit; I have never been a fan of it. If I'm going to play a shooter (first-person or third-person) then I'd rather it be a serious type of shooter. The Fortnite formula is used quite well in this game, though.
When you start up Stadium Stampede, one of the first things to do is to pick which wrestler you want to play as. All wrestlers on the main game's roster are included and they're split up between three types - power, balanced, and high-flyer. Power wrestlers have a strong focus on high-power attacks. Balanced wrestlers have a good balance of power and speed while high-flyers have good speed, can jump higher, and excel at aerial maneuvers.
After you choose your wrestler, it's important to pick your loadout. There are special abilities that can be unlocked little by little. These include the ability to heal yourself, run faster, or even do more damage with your attacks for a certain amount of time. Each time you use an ability, a cooldown timer counts down until you're able to use it again. There are also "heat skills" to choose from. These will automatically kick in while you're playing matches as you eliminate more and more opponents and do well in the match. Heat skills are broken up into four different categories - power, speed, aerial, and weapons. You can pick and choose different skill trees that will give you the ability to focus on whether you want strong strikes, aerial moves, and weapon attacks. Seriously, there is a lot to mess around with and tweak exactly how you like.
When you join a match, you can choose which area of the stadium you want to spawn in. These include the stands, the VIP lounge, on the field, etc. Once the match starts, you begin to run around at a very fast pace to hopefully, gradually take down your opponents, one by one. Of course, everyone is fighting each other so that helps to diminish the numbers. Each match starts with 29 opponents and you just try to survive to be the last one standing.
As I mentioned before, this game plays like Fortnite combined with a traditional wrestling game. Most combat is grappling-based and hand-to-hand but there are some projectile weapons like t-shirt guns and soda cans. Most weapons you pick up from loot boxes that are lying around the "battlefield" in various places. You can even grab weapons off of fallen foes once they're defeated. The action is very fast-paced and arcade-style. There are no reversals for grappling moves. You just have to run around and be quicker than your opponents. One of my favorite "dirty tactics" is to run across two people battling each other and then jump in and try to take them both out before they know what even hit them.
The only real problem I have with Stadium Stampede is the same problem I have with online matches in the main game - it's very hard to connect to a match most of the time. I always say that this may be less of a problem for the PS5 and Xbox versions of the game because out of all of the consoles; I'm sure the Switch has the smallest audience of the three for a game like this. When Stadium Stampede first got released, I was able to join a match pretty much anytime I tried but, after it had been out for a few weeks or so, it became harder and harder to find a match. Now, it's almost impossible to find any matches to join. That's a shame because Stadium Stampede is a lot of fun and if you're able to check it out; I think you should!
Until next time... keep mashing those buttons!