AEW Fight Forever Review – Room to Become Elite

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) is the latest American professional wrestling league to attempt to take on the WWE. It burst onto the scene in 2019, and caused quite a buzz in the wrestling world. Fast-forward four years, and the organization has seen fit to hire developer Yuke’s (formerly of WWE 2K fame) to create the very first console game with its official stamp of approval. First entries of any sports title are usually a bit rough around the edges, though. Can AEW Fight Forever avoid such a fate?

In the Shadows of Giants

Let’s be realistic here: most people should go into the first entry of a sports title with tepid expectations. These days, we are spoiled with venerable sports games such as MLB The Show, Madden, NBA 2K, Gran Turismo, Forza, and others which feature showcase-worthy graphics, broadcast-quality presentation, jaw-droppingly accurate character and stadium modeling, real-world physics…the list goes on for the ways in which sports video games bring the action to life and help you believe you are really playing in or watching a sporting event. But none of the titles mentioned here began life that way; heck, most of them began with 2D sprites on pseudo-3D fields, with no player names or endorsements to speak of.

With these things in mind, AEW Fight Forever will probably pleasantly surprise wrestling fans. There is a decent smattering of event types to choose from, including online modes. This includes the most over-the-top Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch, which delivers exactly what it says on the tin. Two wrestlers are locked in, and must fight until either someone is pinned, or the whole ring explodes. The player who is closest to the wire as it explodes receives the most damage, likely setting them up for a loss. It’s modes like this which help to separate AEW from WWE beyond a simple roster change, and give it some character it sorely needs.

A Stacked Roster

One impressive area AEW Fight Forever has going for it, especially as a fledging video game series, is in its star-studded roster. There are almost 50 characters to play or unlock, the majority of which are available from the get-go. Current champions are also denoted, and can be played with their special outfit or designation in a match. Unfortunately, these characters are not voiced, but perhaps that will come in future versions of Fight Forever should its sales warrant such a thing.

The Unreal Engine 4 runs the show, and the results are okay. The PS5’s SSD zips along and ensure blink-and-you’ll-miss-it loading times, though the small size of environments and characters that need to load in likely help cut this time down as well. Character models look fine, though faces definitely look “off” in a way that is hard to quantify. You can easily recognize who they are supposed to be, but as for what emotion they’re feeling, it’s usually anybody’s guess unless they’re grimacing in pain, something that body language helps to convey far more than facial features. Fight Forever features a handful of arenas, and other than some set dressing you fight in a square ring surrounded by spectators. There are only a couple of different spectator characters, who are randomly placed and who also randomly play through animations, which are all synced so you’ll see quite a few of them performing their animations at exactly the same time. The bottom line is that the presentation of these arenas needs a bit of work.

Limited Presentation

Really, the whole package that is AEW: Fight Forever needs a bit of work. It all starts with the audio mix. Traversing the game’s various menus will play a brief introduction by an AEW personality, but if you’ve got your TV or sound system turned up, it’ll be kind of hard to hear them. The volume on these commentators needed to be turned up from the start, though considering they do not speak at all during an actual match, I suppose it’s a moot point. Since this is the first entry in the mainline series of AEW games, this can be forgiven – after all, long-running sports games have several years’ worth of audio samples to work with to create convincing live commentary, while Yuke’s does not have that luxury just starting out.

Speaking of starting out, one advantage that any new franchise benefits from is a lack of baggage from the past. We are all newbies when it comes to AEW games, so easing players into this game’s control scheme and mechanics is a must for Yuke’s. For the most part, they get it right with a tutorial that automatically plays when you start any match, and explains things quite simply. There is even an easy mode so that players don’t have to worry about moving the analog stick a certain way to perform some of the game’s more impressive moves. AEW Fight Forever is quite easy to pick up and play, so long as you know how to pin your opponent when the time comes.

Easy to Get Into

Animations are also passable in AEW Fight Forever, but many feel pretty stiff. This has the potential to be fixed in future entries as more movement data can be captured and added to what Yuke’s launched with. Running animations in particular look accidentally funny, while victory poses leave a lot to be desired. There is also next to nothing in terms of presentation once a match begins: a camera shot or two of the walkup of whoever is walking out onto the arena, and then no fake broadcast logos or noticeable changes in the audience such as signs (though you will occasionally hear them break out into chanting a character’s name, which is a nice touch).

Yuke’s did see fit to launch a career mode, something most sports games do not do for at least a few iterations. Called Road to Elite, you take your character (whom you’ve created, or one of the pros) and launch their AEW career. In typical sports career style, things just happen to go your way and through a mix of skill, luck, and determination, your character becomes a superstar. In atypical sports career style, you hilariously can choose whether your character’s diet is vegetarian or not (Vegetarian Mode) — yes, really!), which has no bearing on anything other than what foods you eat throughout your career. The season progresses as you have some time to work out, go out on whatever town the tour has brought you to, dine to recover some energy, and finally actually fight in a match. All the while, a branching storyline plays out, mostly in in-game cutscenes with no voice acting (expect to read a lot), with occasional breaks as archival footage from various points in AEW’s short history is played when you reach a certain milestone. There is a lot of focus on AEW as a revolution in wrestling, something the game seems to truly believe in.

Room to Become Elite

Another staple of sports games is a character creator. AEW Fight Forever features one, but it is quite limited in choices for the player. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but again, a newly-established sports video game series is likely to have limited options, so this isn’t unexpected but it is still disappointing. One aspect to all characters, though, is that if you play with them and level them up in one mode, their progress is saved and available in all other modes. Now this is a great touch that modern sports games include, and is pleasantly surprising to see here.

AEW Fight Forever is a good start which can hopefully lead to much greater things. If you’re a fan of the newest professional wrestling league, then you should purchase this game to send a message to the league that you appreciate their efforts, and you’ll have plenty to look forward to in any potential sequel that may follow this if the game sells well. Wrestling fans in general should check this out as well, because it’s not like you’re exactly swimming in current game choices these days. For everyone else, this remains a hard sell, but that is true of most sports games. If one word could sum up AEW Fight Forever, it’s simply this: potential.

Score: 6/10


  • A fully realized roster of characters
  • Easy to pick up
  • Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch!


  • Rough presentation
  • No real voice acting
  • Limited customization options

AEW Fight Forever review code was provided by the publisher. You can read MP1st’s review and scoring policy right here.

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