WWE 2K20 has arrived and the gaming community is very split on this year’s release. There are those that are frustrated with the number of bugs present in the game upon release and those that are waiting patiently for 2K to patch it up.
While the series is no stranger to releasing with several bugs this year’s release is exceptionally bad and has suffered the worst publicity from a videogame launch seen for a game since Assassin’s Creed: Unity. The game has a lot of promise but the bugs along with missing game modes, it is clear that WWE 2K20 was not ready but once patched the game should be every bit as good as previous entries.
However, the WWE 2K series isn’t the only way for gamers to get their wrestling fix there is the lesser-known Fire Pro Wrestling: World for the hardcore wrestling fans. It's a 2D wrestling series that has been around since 1989 and instead of a yearly release schedule the developers Spike Chunsoft have instead opted to improve on an already great game engine with patches and upcoming DLC. For wrestling fans, both games offer a very different gaming experience and have enough there to appeal to all, so let’s see how they stack up against each other.
10 Fire Pro: Extreme Wrestling Matches
The WWE is stuck in the so-called PG era and it's probably the least popular incarnation of the wrestling promotion since the mid-nineties saw characters like Doink the Clown and other silly cartoon characters. As a result, the opportunity to have truly violent gimmick matches in a WWE 2K game is highly unlikely beyond its cage matches.
However, Fire Pro Wrestling: World has enough matches to satisfy a wrestling fan’s needs. There’s the Barbed Wire Death Match, The Cage Deathmatch, Gruesome Fighting (a UFC style MMA match), SWA kickboxing matches, and Landmine Deathmatches. Those disappointed with the WWE 2K20’s lack of blood will definitely get a kick out of playing these modes where the bloodstains remain on the mat.
9 WWE 2K20: The Graphics
If there is one obvious area where WWE 2K20 has an edge on Fire Pro Wrestling: World it is the graphics. Even with the glitches some of the character models for the WWE biggest stars like Roman Reigns and AJ Styles look great with some nice light and shadow effects.
It’s not that the Fire Pro series has bad visuals but they are old school and won’t appeal to a lot of modern-day gamers who have come to expect all games to feature high definition and photo-realistic visuals. The WWE 2K series does a great job in capturing the big match atmosphere and scale which the small budget Fire Pro can’t match.
8 Fire Pro: Setting The AI Logic
Both WWE 2K20 and Fire Pro Wrestling: World have an incredibly deep creation suite when it comes to recreating real-life and fictional characters to use in the squared circle. However, when it comes to the character’s behaviors in the ring Fire Pro is far more intricate.
Players are able to tweak a character’s artificial intelligence to set how they would behave in the ring. Therefore, it’s not good enough to have a character the looks like Hulk Hogan or the Macho Man Randy Savage but their logic can be worked to mimic how they act in the ring and more importantly WHEN they use certain moves at different stages of the match. It’s a unique feature that WWE 2K20 doesn’t come close to matching and is so good that many of the game's fans love to watch A.I. controlled matches playout.
7 WWE 2K20: The Entrances
Fans have come to expect a certain level of spectacle when it comes to watching WWE on a weekly basis and even more so at the big pay per view events. A big part of this spectacle is the wrestler’s entrances and music with The Undertaker and most recently The Fiend being a prime example.
Where the WWE 2K franchise shines is its ability to provide near picture-perfect entrances and WWE 2K20 is no different. Yes, the much-publicized bugs and glitches are rife in the game but the entrances still look fantastic and are as theatrical as ever. Fire Pro's simplistic walk-ins don't quite have the same level of grandiosity.
6 Fire Pro: Custom Soundtracks
A much-requested feature in the WWE 2K franchise is for players to be able to add their own custom music. This is a feature that hasn’t been in series since WWE 2K14 and fans have hoped for its reintroduction ever since. Considering how big the creative community is it’s a mystery why 2K won’t put the feature back in or at least allow players to purchase tracks for wrestlers that are missing from the roster.
Thanks to a free update added to Fire Pro Wrestling: World players are now able to add their own music tracks into the game and set them to character introductions. Furthermore, with the upcoming Entrance Craft DLC gamers can edit even more accurate recreations of their favorite stars.
5 WWE 2K20: Easier To Pick Up
Being a complex wrestling sim Fire Pro isn’t an easy game to get a hang of without playing the tutorial first. The WWE 2K series, however, has always been an easy series for newcomers to jump right into and play.
WWE 2K20 does have some complexities hidden under the surface especially when it comes to reversal strategy and timing. Despite this, it is still the kind of game where a group of friends can sit around the couch and have a blast playing six or eight-man tag matches without knowing anything about the mechanics.
4 Fire Pro: Fire Promoter Mode
Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 was the last time a WWE game featured the General Manager mode and the gaming community has been very vocal about seeing its return. Unfortunately, the developers at 2K have been more focused on making new additions to the game’s sandbox-like Universe mode instead.
Fire Pro Wrestling: World has its own version of the GM mode and it’s called Fire Promoter which was added as DLC in early 2019. The Fire Promoter DLC is arguably more in-depth than even Smackdown’s GM mode and is the kind of wrestling management sim fans have been begging 2K for.
3 WWE 2K20: Downloading Community Creations On Console
Downloading and uploading community-created content is a huge part of what draws so many gamers to the WWE 2K and Fire Pro wrestling series. This is because of the wealth of options that are available and the ability to increase the size of the roster.
Where WWE 2K20 succeeds is the ease at which players can upload and download content as it is just a simple menu option. Fire Pro, however, forces the player to download content through the PlayStation 4 browser which can be both awkward and slow. However, Fire Pro players can download an unlimited amount of content using a PC via their PSN log in details for a better experience.
2 Fire Pro: A Real Wrestling Simulation
It’s true the WWE 2K series has the edge over Fire Pro Wrestling: World when it comes to its presentation. However, as a pure wrestling simulation Fire Pro is the clear winner and perfectly replicates the back and forth matches that fans enjoy. In terms of sheer gameplay Fire Pro Wrestling: World is the best wrestling game since AKI's WCW/nWo Revenge and WWF No Mercy on the Nintendo 64.
The developers at Spike Chunsoft clearly know and have an understanding of what makes a great wrestling game. Matches in Fire Pro are about the structure and the build-up of excitement in the fans as the match progresses. The feeling-out process, near falls, comebacks, and getting heat or cheers from the fans is just as important as the wrestling itself. Instead of just hitting flashy moves like in the WWE 2K series the matches in Fire Pro are about telling a story in the ring just like the real thing.
1 WWE 2K20: The Starting Roster
Even though WWE 2K20 is missing quite a few Legends this year, the starting roster is still absolutely huge. There are over 180 licensed wrestlers from Hulk Hogan to AJ Styles complete with the signature moves and entrances and for the most part, look great. Additionally, 2K will also add more wrestlers with upcoming DLC content.
Unfortunately, Fire Pro Wrestling: World doesn’t have a huge starting line up of official wrestlers. It does, however, include 39 wrestlers from New Japan Pro Wrestling featuring wrestlers like AEW’s Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada, Tetsuya Naito, and more. Furthermore, players can download hundreds of accurate edits from the creation suite.