Monday, June 5, 2017

Demo Hotness: ARMS Global Test Punch

A game that I like more in theory than I do in practice
Over the past 2 weekends, I've had the opportunity to try out the online multiplayer demo of Nintendo's newest fighting game, ARMS. Now that I've been able to participate in 3 different sessions of the ARMS Global Test Punch, my thoughts on the game are starting to come together.
  • Controls: I initially went back and forth between two of the game's control schemes: motion controls and Pro-controller. In general, I found that while the motion controls allow for more fine control of punches in mid-flight, the pro-con offered much better movement and blocking. I ultimately found that I got more consistent results with the pro-con, but it's definitely admirable that the motion controls work as well as they do; they're certainly a viable option. I'm very curious to see if any competitive players will be using motion controls in the upcoming E3 ARMS tournament.
  • Characters: While I initially didn't appreciate them, the character designs really started to grow on me. There's a good amount of variety to their designs and play-styles. I do wish that they had a little bit more personality in their win and loss animations. Hopefully, the full game will feature some additional voice work to give the characters more life.
  • Mechanics: There is more depth to this game than meets the eye and I like how switching between characters and mixing and matching weapons allows for a wide variety of strategies. This is a game that requires a fairly high degree of finesse to play, and thus I don't think button-mashers will get very far. As a result, the game doesn't feel as approachable as old-school fighting games or Smash Bros, so I think exciting matches pretty much require two players of equivalent skill and a firm grasp on the systems.
  • Music: The theme song is extremely repetitive, but manages to get stuck in my head every time I play!
Overall, I really appreciate the creativity and intricacies of ARMS, but I'm just not sure that it's a game for me. Generally, the games that work for me have to do at least one of the three following things: offer a satisfying single-player campaign, be a good co-op experience with my wife, or keep house guests entertained. From what I've heard from those who have early access to the full game, the single-player is very limited and there's been no mention of co-op. Thus, the whole thing hinges on ARMS's potential as a party game, and at this point, I don't think this game's mechanics lend themselves well to that. From what I can see in the demo, ARMS is a game that really encourages honing one's skills and then going online in search of worthy opponents. By the time I got to the 45-minute mark in my third Test Punch session, I found myself checking my watch; I think I got my fill of online competition from the demo alone. Thus, there's a good chance I'll be passing on the full version of ARMS until it gets a price-drop unless I hear something especially compelling about the content not featured in the demo.

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