It’s good to see Yuke’s making wrestling games again after going on hiatus in 2018 following a huge fallout with publisher 2K Sports. This year, the team at Yuke’s is not only more inspired but also very enthusiastic about the changes under a new brand called AEW: Fight Forever.

AEW, which stands for All Elite Wrestling, is a fast-paced arcade wrestling game that features some of the most iconic wrestlers to hit the canvas. The game offers tag-team, Casino Battle Royale, exploding barbed wire death matches, and, believe it or not, online co-op multiplayer!

The game also comes with a wide range of customization modes. These include entrances, teams, and arenas, as well as a staggering gallery of custom outfits, appearances, and move sets. Yuke’s is smart at repurposing the core assets of past WWE titles. By doing so, the gameplay mechanics are much sportier, snappier, and even snazzier!

The moves are easy to pull off. Signatures and finishers do not require growing out additional sore limbs to hold three buttons with the right stick just to drive the opponent to the ground. Sometimes, all the game needs is simplicity to be fun again, and AEW has nailed it!

Being able to roll out an assortment of killer moves just brings us back to the good-old WrestleMania. Remember Hulk Hogan going up against Andre the Giant? That was sweet and nostalgic.

Going back to AEW, the combat in the ring can be quite nasty. We have been crippled many times by AI, even on normal difficulty. These technical issues with AI wrestlers, not complying with the rules of reality, have caused us our decisive win. Sad to say, when we hit the career mode (Road to Elite), those same pesky problems are progressively getting worse.

Speaking of career, the journey to become an elite starts with a story that is divided into four major chapters (or blocks). Each chapter (block) takes up four weeks to complete, and it branches out with three possible storylines.

In those four weeks, players are given daily activities to try to simulate the life of an upcoming bona fide wrestler. These activities, whether it’s dining in, working out, or competing at training matches, increase the energy and skill points.

Mini-games are part of the daily activities, too! Players can take on the Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson) for extra cash. New challenges will develop based on the choices that were made. With new challenges come new objectives. Completing them unlocks new characters.

The final week sums up the chapter by having players participate in AEW pay-per-view events. Of course, the choices that you have made before will trigger a different storyline. As mentioned earlier, there are three possible outcomes with the story branching out.

In the creation process, the game shows off how big its gears and swags are. The lineup of big-ticket items includes flamboyant outfits, bright entrances, flashy arenas, and a carousel of sweet moves to choose from. We had fun creating our own characters and teams, though the game could use more profiles of “physical” parts.

In the graphics section, you won’t find many dazzling highlights. Instead, you’ll be dazzled by the nostalgic representation of being at the arcades. Still, the game would not be complete without cranking up the sound effects. Luckily, the game charges you with adrenaline and makes you feel like a Hulkster, leading up to the arena of smackdowns!

AEW: Fight Forever is a very fun game, especially in tag team sessions with friends (online as well as offline). The simplicity of the buttons makes passing the time truly enjoyable. The gameplay is faster and snappier. The corresponding sound effects nail down the mayhem with great satisfaction.

Yuke’s has done a fair job with the customization system, but we need to see more wrestler profiles added to the creation suite in the future. The AI component could use more attention, too! If it is left unchecked, it would leave a huge distaste among players who just switched to the AEW brand.

Though the single-player modes are rife with excitement, the main attraction goes to the career mode, better known as Road to Elite. Unlike some of the newer wrestling games out there, AEW is aesthetically modest at best. Even so, it packs enough arcade nostalgia to keep our fantasy smackdown alive.