Fire Pro Wrestling Reviews
It is a game with a legendary history to many gamers, and this new iteration by the original development studio introduces Fire Pro Wrestling Achievements to a whole new generation of gamers.
The Fire Pro Wrestling series is heralded by many to be the de facto wrestling game. While the rosters were never "officially licensed", it was obvious who many of the characters in the game were counter-parts to in real-life. The series prided itself in its technical counter system, which put many new-comers to the series at a distinct disadvantage when playing veterans of the game.
The XBLA version of the series introduces a refined control system that aims to welcome new contenders to the ring. While counter moves are still an important skill to master in this version, the emphasis is not placed quite so heavily on a strict timing window to execute a counter. Grapple counters are pulled off by a rock, paper, scissors-like mini-game, where the offensive player must press a button, and the defensive player must guess that same button to successfully counter the move.
Your in-ring meters will be familiar to veterans of wrestling games. You have your health, stamina, and special meters present that you would expect. Your health meter directly relates to how easy it will be for you to kick-out of pin attempts. The stamina meter dictates how many moves you can string together in succession. Lastly, your special meter, which is filled by performing taunts or high-spots, dictates when you can unleash your finishing maneuver. However, you need to time this move properly, as one kick, punch, or grapple by your opponent will waste your finisher opportunity.
Fire Pro Wrestling also includes Avatar FameStar support, which will net you FameStar points for performing weekly in-game tasks. You can also bring any FameStar costumes you have unlocked from other titles into the game to use as your in-ring attire.
Speaking of in-ring attire, this is where this game really goes crazy. You can customize your wrestler to your hearts content by unlocking and purchasing a multitude of costumes, tops, bottoms, boots, gloves, and other accessories to make your Avatar the most ferocious wrestler to enter the squared circle. In-game credits are needed to purchase these items for use on your wrestler, however do not fear as there are plenty of "free" choices as well.
However, I found that most of my unlocked Avatar Awards were more crazy or fit my personality better than those in-game. You can bring those props to the ring with you during your entrance, right down to the crazy ones earned in games like LIMBO Achievements, You Don't Know Jack Achievements, or ilomilo.
Unlocking skill points allow you to enhance your wrestlers abilities, and customize him to your particular style. Keep in mind, some moves you unlock will require a certain level in a particular ability before you can equip that move to your wrestler. After each match you will unlock new moves, and you should always make sure you are equipping the best moves your wrestler has to keep your special meter filled quickly. However, get used to your starting finisher move, as it will be around level 23 before your wrestler unlocks his next finisher.
One major complaint with the game is the on-line multiplayer component. Like many other wrestling games, something is lost in translation to on-line multiplayer. Executing moves during matches felt laggy, and there was a definite host-advantage noticeable. You should also familiarize yourself with the match rules before venturing on-line, as a Battle-Royal and a Four-Way-Match both feature four players in the ring at the same time, but have different match ending conditions. You could easily find yourself on the losing end of a match by not knowing that a Battle-Royal is a last-man-standing match, while a Four-Way will end on the first pinfall.
Count-outs are also a condition to watch for. However, the generously slow ring-out counter gives you ample opportunity to get back into the ring to avoid the disqualification.
Fire Pro Wrestling should find its way into any wrestling-game fanatics collection. The single-player progression will keep you entertained for hours. The game keeps your opponents and tag partners fresh by bringing in people from your friends list as well. You can progress through three increasingly difficult series before gaining your World Title shot.
The achievement list is fairly straight forward, although disappointingly worth only 200 GS. A launch day DLC pack was available that brings the total up to 250 GS, featuring three achievements for unlocking all the moves, costumes, and completing every match in the Legend Series. However, it appears the Side Business in Fire Pro Wrestling achievement is currently unobtainable due to one of the bonus stages never showing up in the rotation.
Fire Pro Wrestling is currently available on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 800 MSP and the Legend Series DLC pack is available for 400 MSP.
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