What were the older fire pro games like? I've always heard so much praise, but never understood the appeal watching gameplay videos.
The main appeal of Fire Pro Returns is the insanely deep CPU logic customization. The game only has a small cult following, and I'd say the majority of the hardcore fans don't even play the game. They usually just customize wrestlers and then watch simmed matches. It's not like the 2K series where you get a handful of generic sliders that you can move back and forth, which seem to have very little actual impact on how the AI plays anyway. In FPR, you can choose from a huge list of personality traits, control the amount of times they'll go for any move by selecting a percentage, and even decide the sequence in which they perform moves. For example, you could make it so that Kazuchika Okada almost always taunts and goes for the Rainmaker after the tombstone piledriver if you wanted. Basically, well done CAWs not only have accurate movesets, but also accurate ring psychology, which makes for some epic moments.
The 2K series definitely has Fire Pro beat when it comes to looks and the fact that you can easily pick it up and start playing. Fire Pro Returns has a steep learning curve. The gameplay is all about careful timing, and if you're used to arcadey button mashing fighting games, it can be frustrating at first. You have to get used to the 2D isometric view. At first you'll try to line up a dropkick that looks it should be right on someone's nose when in fact your legs are actually in the air beside them. Some of the controls may seem a bit weird too. But once you take the time to get used to how different it is, the game is amazing. And challenging in a good way. My biggest complaint with the 2K series is how unbearably easy it is. If you haven't played Fire Pro Returns in a while and set the match difficulty to 8, you're probably going to get absolutely raped. Every once in a while I still like to play a match against the computer, and it's rarely a squash match.
So the gameplay takes practice, but it's very solid and consistent. I think a lot of people are still playing the game because the 2K series has a tendency to be kind of glitchy. You have so much control over the matches too. For example, I love the fact that you can control the overall speed of matches. If I'm doing a Ricochet vs. Will Osprey match, I like to bump up the speed to 125%. If it's a dream match between Katsuyori Shibata and Big Show, I might make it so that there's a higher chance of the match ending in a KO.
There are some other charming bells and whistles you won't find in WWE games too. Another reason I prefer the game is because I'm simply not a big fan of the WWE product anymore, and Fire Pro will always be a better representation of the much larger, diverse world of wrestling. In WWE games, I can't have Kimber Lee vs. Hallowicked for the Chikara Grand Championship. I can't have Hayabusa dragon suplex Sabu off the apron into exploding barbed wire on the floor. I can't have 8 men in the ring at once for tag matches and battle royals. I can't book a shoot fight between Lesnar and Lashley in an octagon. In Fire Pro, you can do all of that. Sure, the graphics kind of the suck and there is a lot they could have done better, but it's a great game that still holds up really well, in my opinion.
I don't think a game like Fire Pro has much to offer anymore. Still happy to see it being considered, but I'm not sure what it offers that is new and different.
I guess if they had really elaborate construction mode for building stages and arenas...that could definitely be something. It would need to be something that is easier to do with the simpler graphics and gameplay. I think a build mode like that might be just the ticket. I would buy it for that...but the other create modes don't mean that much these days. 2K does them better.
2K does the create modes better because of the amazing graphics and the fact that the games are brand new. For anyone who may not know, it's important to keep in mind that Fire Pro Wrestling Returns was released in 2005. In 2005, the game had a ring customization, ref customization, and even a primitive logo creator in edition to custom wrestlers. Also, the CPU logic features shit all over the 2K series's AI. Imagine what they could do 12 years later! I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but if a new Fire Pro is half as innovative as FPR was back then, it's going to be an incredible game.
Edited by Crowley, 27 February 2017 - 12:22 AM.