AEW Fight Forever

Welcome to EXPlay, (Explain & Play) the review series where we care not for scores but tell it how it is when it comes to every game we get our hands on, whilst also taking the time to include some lengthy gameplay, to give you the reader, the chance to shape your own impressions and views whilst watching and reading.

In this explanatory review, we’re covering AEW Fight Forever by developer, Yuke’s:

AEW Fight Forever

AEW Fight Forever (The Explanation)

I want to preface this EXPlay with the following statement…Professional Wrestling is not something I am currently up to date on. I was a big fan and follower of wrestling in the 80s and 90s and a bit of the early 2000s. I grew up watching the entertainment sport with my step dad following performers like Hulk Hogan, Sting, Jake the Snake, Andre the Giant, The Rock, Steve Austin, and more. If any of those names are recognizable to you, you know that those wrestlers are primarily retired and from years (maybe decades) past. 


In the late 90s and early 2000s I had been a fan of games like WWF Wrestlemania, WCW/nWo Revenge, and WWF WrestleMania 2000. The easy-to-play, pick-up nature of those games, found themselves in my rotation in single-player and couch co-op with friends. Their colorful cast of characters and multiple and varied modes of gameplay helped to push what a wrestling game could be.


Now we jump to the present, again, please note that I have been out of the wrestling entertainment world for close to two decades, AEW: Fight Forever has a lot of the staples of wrestling games with modes like 1 v 1, 2 v 2, 3 and 4 player all for one matches, ladder matches, king of the ring matches, and more. Each mode listed above contains a variety of options in match rules, venue, and terms for winning.


In the single-player campaign, you can pick an existing wrestler or create your own. After you have your wrestler chosen you will navigate around the world from venue to venue fighting in various types of matches. Between matches, you need to strengthen, rest, and aid your player in motivation. This can be done through exercise and weight training, visiting diners for meals, and sightseeing while you are in various countries. These stops along the way feel like the padding we now see in sports games adding RPG-lite elements to building up your player or team so that you can compete at higher difficulties in the journey forward.


I don’t knock AEW: Fight Forever for their inclusion of these areas, since they do put an emphasis on exercise, eating healthy, and taking care of your mental state. It just seems like more of a mini-game approach would have been good to have instead of sitting through dialogue (or skipping it altogether) in something that is just there for points and extending the time in-game.


When you are actually in the ring and fighting though the game is both nostalgic in terms of reminding me of the N64 games from THQ and Yukes and makes me feel like a kid gamer again. Each match starts off with your wrestlers’ entrance, which seems shorter in terms of overall time and is skippable if you just want to get to the match. The entrances are also lame in their presentation with a lack of great music, and the pyrotechnics are lackluster, among other issues I had. But the reality is, you will probably just skip the entrances as I did after the first few.


Matches play out similar to past wrestling games with you having the ability to grab with B, punch with Y, and kick with X. Once you have grappled with your opponent you can hit a direction button to perform a move like a suplex, arm bar, choke hold, or throw into a turnbuckle or rope. Holding your punch and kick button down or tapping quickly seems to result in various attacks in combination or a stronger blow being dealt. Once you have your opponent on the ground you can attempt to pin them with L, or pick them up off the ground with R, allowing you to try and strike or grapple them again and again.


On the defensive side of the game, you can use L or R while standing or while on the ground to attempt a reversal. Timing your button prompts while your opponent attacks you is key to turning the tide of battle and gaining the momentum you need to win the match. Throughout your match, you can also taunt your opponent or work the crowd to gain approval. This momentum shift can be the difference in winning the match. As the crowd cheers you on, and you land more and more hits, kicks, or grapples, you will eventually unlock your wrestler’s special move and finisher. 


I had a hard time getting finisher moves to work, and also my lack of understanding of each wrestler’s finishers made it unclear to me if I was doing what I should to enact the finishing blow. Playing as Sting, in my EXPlay, I know I got at least one finisher in and won a match with the finisher since I recognized his move set from growing up. I do think the collision detection in AEW: Fight Forever was a bit hit or miss (pun intended) in how your player can be pushed out of their animation when attacking if their hitbox is interrupted by another wrestler or even the referee. There’s also a bit of the “slippy ring” syndrome where your wrestler may slide a little bit to grapple with another wrestler or be pulled into them even if they are a little further from each other.


AEW: Fight Forever has a large roster of over 50 pro wrestlers both male and female. And because of the way the rules work, you can have mixed-gender matches and mixed king of the ring events which help to keep things fresh. I’ll be honest to say that I don’t recall any ring-side audio commentary on the Switch game, and I have yet to play on the PS5 to see if that version has commentary while fighting. I do think that lacking in the Switch game was ok since commentary tends to get repetitive the more you play a game.


I did not get to check out the online features in the game during my EXPlay since I received my copy of the game prior to the game being out in the wild and online being activated. I didn’t check to see if other reviewers were playing online at the time of my preview, but I will try and test that out in the future to see how the Switch game holds up.


Overall, I think AEW: Fight Forever is a welcome addition to the Switch sports entertainment library and holds its own as wrestling king of the wring on the system. There are a few 3D wrestling games on the Switch, but they haven’t been rated well by fans. AEW: Fight Forever is a solid 7 out of 10, or so, in my book. If anything, it shines some light on what could be a great franchise as the future looks bright for this wrestling series.

AEW Fight Forever

AEW Fight Forever (The Gameplay)

Game Specifications:

AEW Fight ForeverDeveloper: Yuke’s
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Sports, Fighting
No. of Players: 1-4 (Single System), 1-4 (Online)
Release Date: NA & EU: June 29, 2023
File Size: 11.8 GB Listing

By jonathanober

Jonathan is a husband to Leigh, father to Morgyn and Bailey, an avid WordPress user, a website designer/developer, Eagles football fan, and a video gamer. Jonathan cut his teeth on the Commodore 64, NES, and Gameboy and hasn't looked back since. Jonathan has owned nearly ever Nintendo system and handheld to date. His favorite series include: Legend of Zelda, Mario, and Donkey Kong.

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