AEW: Fight Forever Review

AEW Fight Forever

AEW: Fight Forever (PC, PS5 [Reviewed], PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch)
Developer: Yukes
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Released: June 29, 2023
ESRB: T – Teen

Some things just feel right, and one of them is a Yuke’s wrestling game being published by THQ. It’s been eleven years since a company named THQ published a wrestling game, that was WWE ’13. We haven’t seen a Yuke’s developed wrestling game since they co-developed WWE 2K18. It’s been a while.

Yuke’s has a steep history in wrestling games, so AEW definitely landed probably the best developer they could get for their debut video game. The last time the WWE games had a real challenger was TNA Impact way back in 2008. That one was terrible, this one isn’t. Not surprising considering its Yuke’s.

The WWE games still build off of the foundation that Yuke’s laid. It’s not really fair to compare those games to this one starting from scratch. Nor is Fight Forever really looking to compete against the WWE games directly. Much like the promotions themselves, there is room for both to exist as they offer different styles. The WWE games are more presentation heavy and simulation style, this one is much more arcade like. It’s pretty pick-up-and-play friendly.

Since the rumors began circulating shortly after AEW’s inception about an AEW video game, we’ve heard that it would be a spiritual successor to the old N64 games. Mainly WWF No Mercy, but those include WCW/NWO Revenge too. And thankfully, that’s pretty much what Fight Forever is. The characters are thankfully more realisitic and not blockish, but the gameplay is very reminiscent of those older and beloved titles.

I probably played Revenge more than No Mercy, and at the time two of my favorites were Sting and Chris Jericho. So of course one of the first matches I did in this game was Sting against Chris Jericho, and it definitely took me back to memories of 12-year-old me playing the same match in Revenge.

AEW Fight Forever Screenshot 06

Road to the Elite

Road to the Elite is Fight Forever’s career mode, and it’s the mode that I think will have the most complaints. It’s certainly the mode that I have the most complaints about.

With that said, I think a lot of folks will take issue with the length of the career mode and that’s not where my issues come in. To be clear, it is a very short career mode. You can plow through it in a little over an hour or so, give or take a few minutes.

While you’re free to play the mode with any of the actual AEW talent, the mode is meant for created wrestlers. It’s one of the reasons the mode is short. In order to get better skills and stats for your created wrestlers, you’re going to need to play career mode with them.

So it’s short because you’re expected to play through it many times. And there are different scenarios, so it’s not exactly the same thing each time.

I played through it twice. My first attempt was with Miro, and I was having a great time. That is until the second Double or Nothing PPV event, which is the end of career mode. I hit Go to PPV, and I just had the game screen showing Miro but unable to do anything. The only way to get off the screen was to restart the game.

AEW Fight Forever Screenshot 07

Unfortunately, whatever bug happened was saved, so despite multiple restarts, I was never able to advance to the PPV to finish my first career mode as Miro. You can see the video of the bug/freezing issue below.

The second playthrough was with Hikaru Shida, because I wanted to experience the story from the women’s division. It was laughable and greatly disappointing.

I lost my first match, a Four Way at Double or Nothing. For some reason, I then wrestled Riho on Dynamite to crown an inaugural AEW Women’s Champion. I won that, and Shida became the first champion.

Despite winning the title, I didn’t come out to the ring with it in story. In fact, two weeks after winning it, I was in a tag match against Riho and a partner and Shida called Riho the champ. At the next PPV, I was again in a Four Way match, came out with the title on, but it still pretended I just won it.

Immediately after, still at All Out, Matt Hardy approached me backstage and said he was injured and needed someone to fill in for him. I was thrust into another match, this time against Scorpio Sky, a male wrestler. I never once wrestled another female star in my career mode.

In fact, Shida went on to defeat Jon Moxley in an Exploding Barbed Wire Deathmatch at Revolution. It was one of many victories against male stars including Darby Allin, Jungleboy, MJF and Chris Jericho in a Three Way, and Matt Hardy. CM Punk even approached her in front of a river boat saying he wanted to compete against Shida in his AEW debut at Rampage, a secondary optional event. I declined.

Leading into the final PPV, the second Double or Nothing event, I was greeted by Dr. Britt Baker. Great, I thought, finally I can maybe defend my Women’s Championship. No, Baker said I wanted a challenge and so she lined up a Gauntlet match for me. I had to beat three male stars, back-to-back-to-back on Dynamite.

The next Dynamite was the same thing, only this time it was Nyla Rose saying it. Another Gauntlet match, this one against Paul Wight, Luchasaurus and Brian Cage. The go-home Dynamite saw Ruby Soho issue me a challenge, against three male stars in a Four-Way. I lost on purpose just to advance to the PPV.

Then comes the grand finale. Thunder Rosa has a challenge for me. It’s not her challenging for my title, that I don’t know if I even have or not, it’s that I’ll be competing against Kenny Omega, Jon Moxley and someone else that I don’t remember in a Four Way for the AEW World Championship. I lost that one too, though not on purpose.

AEW Fight Forever Screenshot 01

All of that said, I enjoy most of what the mode is. I like the little touch of seeing your jet flying across the map from city to city. I like occasional cutscenes you’ll see happen. In one, I was in flying talking to Chris Jericho. In another, I was driving a car while MJF was running his mouth as the passenger.

I like that you can do workouts to earn skill points (for created wrestlers), going dining to recovery stamina, and do sightseeing and promotional activities like meet and greets, press conferences, and talk show appearances. There are mini-games you can partake in against The Elite, though the dialogue never changes. And you can do optional matches on Dark or Rampage, and these can be set up at random during workouts, dining, sightseeing, etc.

I like the package, but it just doesn’t feel like an actual career mode. It’s more putting a character in storylines that happened for real, and then after its over showing you the actual footage of what really happened. There is no continuity, it never recognizes your championship wins, and generally makes no real sense. For that, it’s a blessing that it’s so short.

It’s a solid foundation but needs a lot of work. They took inspiration from No Mercy for the gameplay, but I’d say they need to look to WrestleMania 2000 for inspiration on how to do a good career mode. This is passable only for what it is, a mode to get your CAW better stats and skills.

AEW Fight Forever Screenshot 02


There’s one huge positive for AEW: Fight Forever. The game has numerous faults and issues, but at its core it’s simply fun to play. I love WWE 2K23, but it’s the exact opposite of Fight Forever. The WWE games are simulation based, and you can have great long matches, but it’s fun for a match or two.

I’ve played a ton of WWE 2K22 and 2K23, but I’ve already spent more time wrestling matches in Fight Forever than I have 2K23. In that game, I pretty much exclusively play MyGM and simulate the match results. I very rarely will actually play a match.

In Fight Forever, I enjoy having a match. The No Mercy inspiration is heavy, and I for one welcome it. I much prefer the arcade style to the simulation one. If I were going to do CPU vs CPU sims, I’d rather watch them in 2K. But for actually playing a match, Fight Forever wins hands down.

It did take a minute to get used to the controls, they are different from what we’ve been used to for so long. As such, I lost my first three matches. After that, the controls clicked and I didn’t have a problem again. Went from losing on normal, to winning on Easy, to now winning on Elite.

Fight Forever has the following match types:

  • Singles Match
    • Normal
    • Lights Out
    • Falls Count Anywhere
  • Tag Team
  • Three Way
  • Four Way
  • Casino Battle Royale


There’s also Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match and Ladder Match that are listed separately in the menu, but as far as I can tell are limited to a singles match. Which is kinda weird considering AEW has probably had more tag-team or multi-person ladder matches than singles. It’s also a bummer that even when a title is on the line in a ladder match, it’s the poker chip that’s hanging a

bove the ring and not the title.

The game excels in its creative use of weapons allowed. There’s an absurd amount of weapons that can be used, including some crazy ones like a propane tank that you throw at your opponent and it explodes. And then there’s Darby’s skateboard, which you can ride around and use and it is hilarious to see in action.

The game also features Challenges, which come in Normal (always there), Daily and Weekly flavors. These award AEW Cash, which is used in the games shop to purchase creation stuff, attires, and characters like Cody Rhodes.

You can play online in Ranked, Casual, or Private matches, with all the match types available. The online that I did ran fairly smoothly. The co-op tag team match I did in private match had a little bit of lag, but overall, a solid and smooth online experience.

The gameplay is the best part of the game. And that’s really the most important thing. And you’re going to want to like the gameplay if you want to play as Owen Hart, because you need to complete 100 Exhibition games to unlock him.

AEW Fight Forever Screenshot 03

Creation Suite

I’m not going to spend a lot of time harping on this. It’s no secret that the creation suite in Fight Forever is extremely limited, and nothing close to what its competition offers. You can create a wrestler, modify existing wrestlers, create a tag team and create an arena.

It’s all pretty limited and basic. There is no Community Creations like feature. You’re not going to be downloading other peoples characters. There’s no logo uploader or maker, or anything like that. You’re not going to see WWE arenas and wrestlers like you can make AEW in the WWE games.

This is extremely basic stuff, and I know that’s a downer for a lot of people.

I get it, but folks need to have expectations. The WWE games have been going for many years, and have been able to see new additions and expanded features and options to make the amazing creation suite that they offer today.

This is a brand-new game, with assets created from scratch, and without a huge budget. It was also going to be basic. It’s a foundation that can be expanded upon. But if you expected anything close to the WWE games here than you had highly unrealistic expectations.

A limited creation suite is still better than no creation suite.

AEW Fight Forever Screenshot 04

Graphics and Sound

I’ll admit, based on the videos I saw, I thought this game looked bad. Playing it is a different story though. It looks really good and plays really good. The character models mostly look great, and like their real-life counterparts without trying for the hyper realistic flair that the WWE games attempt.

There’s no full entrances here, and I personally think that’s a good thing. It’s reminiscent of the N64 games (especially Revenge), and lends itself well to pick up and play quick matches. If it had full entrances, I’d probably turn them off or skip them. Again, this is an arcade like experience, not an authentic simulation.

The blood, when it happens, is of course way over the top and hilarious. That’s really the only thing I’d say looks bad, but you’re really not going to see that in a normal match.

The sound is good. The crowd sounds a little muted, but that’s the worst of it. There is no commentary during the matches, which I would say should’ve been expected and is probably for the best.

You can edit the Jukebox, which is music that plays when in the menus and during matches. Default, it’s a bunch of custom music. I turned those off and put in the actual wrestlers music. There’s an extensive line up available, including plenty of people who aren’t in the game and who haven’t even been signed by AEW. Like Aja Kong and Maki Itoh’s music is in the game. All in all, a great selection.

AEW Fight Forever Screenshot 05

Final Thoughts

AEW: Fight Forever has plenty of faults. Gameplay wise, in matches involving multiple people, wrestlers get stuck on a downed opponent way too much. Grappling at air and throwing blind punches is funny for a minute, but wears thin.

The roster is both a mix of current and outdated, but is overall quite good. For example, Kris Statlander changed her gimmick, got injured and was out for quite a while, recently came back and won the TBS Championship, but in this game she’s still an alien. Matt Hardy was in AEW for a long time before Jeff arrived, but Jeff is in the game and Matt was a pre-order bonus.

The creation suite is severely limited and not at all what most folks expect from a wrestling game in 2023. Likewise, the career mode is quite laughable and inconsistent.

None of that even factors in the glitches that have been in Yuke’s wrestling games for decades. Just check the below video as an example of that.

Still, even with those faults, I think this is a very enjoyable wrestling game. It’s fun to play, and to me that is by far the most important thing in a game. This is a solid foundation. Will Yuke’s, THQ and AEW built upon it and continue to make Fight Forever better? Or will we see sequel at some point that is able to drastically build upon what this game offers? Time will tell.

I would hope this game would get updates, both free and paid, and then see a sequel in a few years. As is, and especially with the limited creation suite, this game could be supported for years with wrestler packs, new arenas, and new modes (and the mini-games which were fun). It’s not going to be an annual series, so with this foundation, DLC could keep this game relevant for years.

I hate to say, “solid first effort” considering it’s developed by Yuke’s who literally got their start developing a NJPW game back in 1995. Yuke’s has been synonymous with wrestling games. They did here though basically start from scratch, and the result is a good.

This is a wrestling game that I will return to over and over again to have quick and fun wrestling matches. It’s fun to play, and that for me trumps everything else. It’s not perfect, it’s not even great, but it’s fun and because of that I’d say it’s a pretty good game with high replayability in exhibition and online play.

AEW: Fight Forever gets a three out of five: GOOD

3 Stars

A digital code was provided by the publisher for review.

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