Wrestling Empire provides deep gameplay reminiscent of the days when wrestling games were good. We’re talking the first couple of games in the WWE SmackDown series good. They got a little janky after the first five. Wrestling Empire offers up a robust career mode wrestling fans will love. Each match lowers or raises your wrestler’s status opening new opportunities to the player. What you decide dictates your storyline.
Wrestlers cut in-ring promos and trash talk after the matches. Best of all, there is backstage drama. Deciding to join a stable or accept a manager’s services are just two of the choices you get to make. Perform well, move up the ranks and fight for titles on pay-per-view. Or stagnate and go the way of Zach Ryder.
Easy to Learn, But Take the Tutorial
Don’t rush your rookie into the ring without training first. Any veteran gamer of the squared circle will quickly figure out that G stands for grapple and A is for attack. However, you learn that grappling and hitting a directional button does not equal a fantastic move. The game offers a lot of movement, ranging from footwork to weapons, and the tutorials—six in all—do a fantastic job of laying out the groundwork. Take them. Walk your rookie into the ring, ready to fight, not tap out.
Great Move Set
Supplex, power slam, clothesline, and the general overuse of generic, boring wrestling moves are the bane of wrestling games. You can only do a spine buster so many times before yearning to hit something cool like Dolph Ziggler’s Zig Zag or an F5. Fortunately, you can arm your rookie with both in Wrestling Empire, though the F5 is called a Tornado Drop. Moves can be picked and sampled the same as in any console wrestling game. Wrestling Empire even breaks down the moves correctly by only having certain moves available depending on your position and your opponents. And yes, you can be a highflyer and hit Jeff Hardy’s Swanton Bomb.
No wrestling game is complete without the option to customize your brawler. Wresting Empire does not slack off here. The same depth of customization found in console titles is available here. Each body part can be upgraded separately, and each has multiple subcategories. With the right combinations, you can create your favorite wrestlers. Sting’s face paint and Mankind’s mask are both options you can choose.
There is more than just one promotion (wrestling company) in the game. Based upon the wrestlers available, promotions are based on WWE, AEW, NJPW and others. Wrestlers names have been changed as well, but some of them are very much on the nose. Either way you can tell who they are supposed to be.
Your rookie will not be able to waltz his way to the top of the card. Wresting Empire provides both engaging action and first-rate AI. Opponents are tough. They block and reverse moves. They taunt and fight dirty. The game also has a fatigue factor to consider when in the ring. Taking too much punishment will cause you to stagger and slow your recovery time. But you can give as good as you get. Be careful, though; if the ref sees you smack your opponent with a chair, you could get disqualified, which of course can be fun or at least par for the course.
At the end of the day, Wrestling Empire has everything you could want in a wrestling game. Tons of characters, complete move sets and a deep storyline.
Is it Hardcore?
The title provides challenging AI and opponents who are not pushovers you can just run through. Overall, MDickie’s Wrestling Empire offers up a first-rate wrestling game with hours of immersive gameplay.