Ultra Pro Wrestling: Back to AKI
The AKI era of wrestling games is the pinnacle of the genre. The combination of a simple but deep grapple system, strikes that carry weight, and flawless animation made their releases feel like an authentic representation of the sport. Due to this, fans have been yearning for a title that continues their legacy and after over two decades, Ultra Pro Wrestling could be the one.
Recently hitting Kickstarter, Ultra Pro Wrestling is a spiritual sequel to the AKI games. Whereas several titles such as Action Arcade Wrestling and the upcoming AEW Fight Forever take inspiration from the renowned series, UPW aims to continue where it left off. The trailer looks like a one-to-one recreation that has fans eager for its release. Hitting its first goal in only a few short days, could this be the game that fans have been longing for?
It’s a Slobberknocker!
From their logo and trailer, it’s clear to see that Hyperfocus Games loves the N64 games and wants to capture the same magic, however, that’s easier said than done. Many have tried but none have reached the same level; why is that? The system AKI created was a wonderful combination of the sport and a game. Too many titles look to replicate the onscreen product and that waters down the gameplay. At its core, WWF No Mercy was an excellent fighter with impactful strikes and an incredible grapple system; that’s what made it so addictive. If Ultra Pro Wrestling can translate that, then it’ll be a title contender.
Hyperfocus Games strives to include several elements that made those games the GOAT. Timing and skill are key. There’s no intrusive button prompt, you simply learn when to press the button to reverse the attack. An issue that plagues many of its contemporaries is the overuse of cinematics. When you perform a signature or finisher, the game takes over and leaves you as a spectator. UPW will let you stay in control which will result in more drama when you try to clinch the finish.
With no licensed wrestlers, the roster consists of completely original characters. From the trailer, it is clear to see that some characters take inspiration from icons of the sport. While it is disappointing not to have any of the superstars, Hyperfocus Games looks to include a Create-A-Wrestler system that will allow you to fully customize the roster. This will let you personalize the game so you can select wrestlers from any era.
From Mid Card to Main Event
One of the stretch goals is to add a full career mode that spans multiple decades. This will place you in the boots of a wrestler as you travel the globe and work for a number of promotions. Each will challenge you in its way and offer exciting opportunities. As fans are aware, Japanese wrestling differs from American and Indies vary from conglomerates. Due to this, Ultra Pro Wrestling aims to translate these elements into the campaign. Each promotion will expect a certain style and therefore presents new challenges on your path to becoming the champ.
As you complete a decade, you can continue to the next, or select a new character that you feel best suits that period. This follows a non-linear structure and will alter due to many factors that will add endless replayability. Hyperfocus Games looks to also draw from real events and incorporate elements into the narrative. If they can pull this off, it could be the greatest campaign in a wrestling game to date.
To bolster the game further, UPW will also have an online mode where wins and losses mean something. Each match will affect your rank and you will be able to work your way up to a shot at the title. The Global Internet Wrestling Championship can only be held by one person at a time which adds real prestige to holding the belt. You will need to defend your belt once a week to hold on to it which raises the stakes further. It’s an excellent premise that will encourage more people to play online.
Back the Project
If you’re a believer in this project then you can back it here. You can also keep up to date with the latest information about the game by following them on Twitter here.
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