Photo courtesy of Gaming Bolt.

After decades of dominating the wrestling video game space, AEW might be posing some threat to WWE.

All Elite Wrestling (AEW) was founded in 2019 as an alternative to pro wrestling fans to the juggernaut that is World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). 

“WWE 2K23” is WWE’s latest video game outing, which was released on March 14, 2023, and much like the company itself, it has only been competing among itself in the wrestling video game space. “AEW Fight Forever” was released on June 29, 2023. The publisher of the game is THQ Nordic, and the developer is Yuke’s, both of which have worked previously with the WWE video games, with THQ publishing “WWE ’13” before it filed for bankruptcy, and Yuke’s last working on “WWE 2K19.” 

If you’re wondering which video game is best suited for you… you can just keep on reading.

Gameplay

“WWE 2K23” and “AEW Fight Forever”  have vastly different gameplay from each other, including having their own pros and cons. “WWE 2k23” is marketed as a wrestling simulation, meaning movements are much slower compared to the fast paced, arcade-style of “AEW Fight Forever.” 

In “2K23,” you have multiple opportunities to reverse a move from the initial combo or grapple to the following strike or move, whereas in “Fight Forever,” once you miss the window to counter a move, you just have to take it. 

The default pin meter in “2k23” can lead to more dramatic moments in a match, such as kicking out of finishers in a match, thus resulting in a longer match, whereas in “Fight Forever” once you are hit with a signature or finisher, most of the button mashing you do to kick out will still result in a loss.

(Visual Concepts/2k Sports)

 In “2K23,” each wrestler has a maximum of two signature moves and two finishers, while in “Fight Forever” a wrestler can have a maximum of four signature and four finisher shots. 

Kenny Omega is the best wrestler in “Fight Forever,” and as a result can hit the “V-Trigger” and “One-Winged Angel” from anywhere in the game. Roman Reigns has the second highest rating in “WWE 2K23” with a 99 overall. The highest rating goes to cover athlete John Cena’s special “U Can’t See Me!” joke, being 100 overall.

You’ll be able to kick out of Roman Reigns’ “Spear,” but you won’t kick out of Kenny Omega’s “One-Winged Angel.” 

Roster

“WWE 2K23” has a roster of over 240 wrestlers.

Some are alternate gimmicks to other wrestlers while others are like cover star John Cena, who has 12 versions of himself, with very little changes in each version. The roster ranges from current stars, NXT Superstars, to WWE Legends such as The Rock, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, and The Undertaker. 

In contrast, “AEW Fight Forever” has a much smaller roster, of about 50 wrestlers. “Fight Forever” does have some advantages, such as the wrestling video game debut of Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks. 

CM Punk returns to a wrestling video game for the first time since “WWE 2K15.” “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes is actually featured in both “WWE 2K23” and “AEW Fight Forever” same entrance and all.

Presentation

“WWE 2K23” has the better presentation, by far. 

“2K23” has full entrances and commentary in their matches. “All Elite Fight Forever” has very short entrances, with most being less than five seconds, and no commentary during matches, only most of the in-game wrestlers’ themes playing in a loop.

Create-A-Wrestler

“WWE 2K23” creation suite is very detailed, allowing you to create any wrestler missing from the game, or any person you’d always want to use in a wrestling game. 

The great thing is, that for people that are impatient or do not have the talent to create, there is an online Community Creations that allows you to download almost any wrestler or almost any non-wrestler you can think of. 

“AEW Fight Forever” create-a-wrestler is very barebones, resulting in many looking off. There is also no online way of downloading other creators’ Create-A-Wrestler, so many will have to either rely on themselves, or hope there is a YouTube video to follow.

Story Mode

“WWE 2K23” features two story modes for your Create-A-Wrestler: a men’s and women’s storyline. You can either create a wrestler of your own or download one of the wrestlers (or non-wrestlers) via online Community Creations and pick a Create-A-Wrestler the online community has created. The main story takes about eight hours to complete and has its cutscenes voice acted. 

“AEW Fight Forever” has a career mode that is shorter, taking about four hours to complete, and is mostly text driven. The matches within the mode seem to be mostly random, in comparison to “2K23” where the matches are linked to the main plot. “Fight Forever” does allow the use of the in-game wrestlers such as CM Punk or Kenny Omega, which may attract some users.

Online

Online server issues can plague “WWE 2K23” at times that can hinder the overall enjoyment of the game. But, when the servers cooperate, what’s left is an enjoyable experience. You can take on wrestlers on your own in various matches or team up with a friend to fight with or against each other. 

“AEW Fight Forever” has fewer match types to choose from overall, thus you may be playing the same match types repeatedly, which can get stale. One online mode that isn’t there is Stadium Stampede, which is a mode where up to 30 wrestlers online face each other in a “Fortnite” inspired Battle Royale.

(Courtesy of Destructoid)

Both video games have their pros and cons, but, overall each game is able to do something special that the other game is lacking. 

Much like the companies themselves, “AEW Fight Forever” is a game that not only gives fans a new wrestling video game to enjoy, but can also look at “WWE 2K23” and see it does some stuff amazingly well, that may be taken for granted at times. 

Overall, in my opinion, I believe “WWE 2K23” is a solid buy, at any price, but especially if discounted. “AEW Fight Forever” is a must buy for anyone, but only if at a discount. 

While playing both games, I could see that each game does so many things well, but are lacking in other parts. Playing both games, I am excited to see the competition between these two companies. 

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