ARMS Global Test Punch review

I was sceptical going in, but did the Test Punch do enough to sell me on Nintendo’s new off the wall brawler ARMS?

Script

C1: Hi fight fans, welcome once again to P Myth Gaming! So the last two weekends we’ve gotten a proper hands on with Nintendo’s bug-nutty new fighting game ARMS, via the global test punch.

Across 12 one hour long stints we got to experience a variety of game modes, and get to grips with a selection of the game’s characters. After an underwhelming first experience with it at January’s premiere event in London, I was looking forward to giving it a bit more time.

First up, I think the presentation of the game is great. The music is really cool, and whilst the art direction isn’t necessarily anything to write home about, everything is bright and vibrant, and the colours really pop. It’s aesthetically, very pleasing.

VO: The various stages all look unique, and crucially have their own idiosyncrasies too meaning a fight in one level requires a different approach to that in another. This keeps each fight fresh and along with the character variety, really adds to the depth of the games core mode.

Speaking of the characters, I tried most of them at least once, and the differences between them are quite stark. No two fighters felt the same, which was surprising but very welcome! As a result of this I found myself sticking mainly to one character

C2: The noodle armed Min Min,

C1: and putting time in getting to grips with her various attributes and characteristics.

This was kinda crucial I felt, as getting to know the ins and outs of your chosen character allowed you to better adapt to both the terrain you found yourself in, and the enemies you faced, as each opponent required a slightly different approach to exploit their weaknesses.

Control wise I stuck to the pro controller throughout. It was the motion controls that kinda put me off back in January so having a more traditional control scheme was a big win for me. I hope that there’s some sort of button mapping in the final game though. Pressing the left stick in to block is kinda clumsy

C2: to the point of pointlessness

C1: whereas having a separate button would’ve made it much easier to block incoming punches and launch a counter attack. Curving your punches with the same stick you use to move took some getting used to as well.

It’s definitely a game that you need to invest a little bit of time in in order to get the most out of it. The better I got at the game and the more in sync I was with MinMin, the more I enjoyed it. I went from frustration at the slightly odd control scheme, to frustration with just getting hammered in every bout, to being consistently one of the highest scoring players in the lobby, even racking up a fair few perfects.

C2: Shoulder wipe

So I don’t think this is a pick-up-and-play title. To use a music analogy, it’s an album that lacks any killer hooks on the first listen, but a few times through once you’re familiar with it, it grows on you, and you start appreciating the craftmanship and the way everything is finely balanced.

Of the various modes on offer in the demo, one on one was far and away my favourite. Outside of that

C2: The following sentence contains more innuendo than a Carry On film

C1: Outside of that the threeways on the first weekend were kinda hectic, and it sucked getting double teamed, but were also very rewarding if you managed to skilfully beat off both of your opponents.

C2: Ooh matron

The other three fighter match where you team up to take down a boss Hedlok,

C2: A six fisted nightmarish fever dream of an enemy

C1: was also tonnes of fun. The brawls were tough, and despite being three on one, victory was far from assured. It was a genuine challenge, but succesfully co-ordinating your grabs and attacks with your teamates to take him down felt awesome.

The one mode I seriously didn’t enjoy was two on two. Because you’re tethered to your partner, if they get thrown, you get dragged along with them, and it means that there’s four fighters all throwing punches in close proximity.

The camera shifting focus whenever it wants doesn’t help, and In these bouts, the finely tuned balances and strategies go out of the window in favour of complete chaos. Would probably be a laugh playing locally with friends, but online, with the lack of voice chat to co-ordinate with your partner,

C2: stern look

C1: it’s incredibly frustrating.

VO: On the mini-game side of things, the first batch of testpunches served up V-Ball which was a fair bit of fun, but definitely better 2 on 2. Likewise I really enjoyed hoops, launching someone though a basketball net after beating them to a pulp was very satisfying, and it was my favourite of the ones we sampled. Skill Shot, where you team up with someone to break more targets than the duo opposite was the weakest of the three I thought. A tad on the chaotic side once again, but still entertaining enough.

Ultimately though, despite all of these mini-games being enjoyable in their own right, I was always kinda disappointed when they cropped up, impatient as I was to get back to the main event.

So, am I going to pick it up when it launches in a couple of weeks? Probably, but I’m still not quite sure. The only thing putting me off now really is the price tag. Fighting one and one is superb, and legitimately unlike any other fighting game I’ve played. Nintendo have created something very unique and brilliantly balanced here, I’m just a tad sceptical as to whether or not there’s going to be enough content there to justify it’s AAA price tag, and to keep me playing longer than few weeks.

If the final game is more fully featured, then I may very well take the plunge and download it. I was certainly impatient for each of the hour long testpunches to start again, and had by no means had enough when time ran out.

C2: Lord knows the core gameplay, in true Nintendo fashion, is incredibly addictive and a hell of a lot of fun.

C1: Plus with the promise of additional arms, fighters, and stages dropping further down the line, the game may well turn out to justify it’s price tag.

So how many of you tried out Nintendo’s new brawler over the past couple of weeks? Let me know what you thought of it down in the comments below, and tell me who you ended up spending the most time playing as! The different fighters are the key to that game’s success I reckon, so I’m keen to hear who people bonded with and why!

Thanks very much for watching everyone. If you’re new to the channel, do check out some of the other videos and if you like what you see feel free to subscribe! A new video goes up every Sunday, and next week I’ll be laying down my E3 predictions so make sure you stick around for that.

Cheers again guys and girls, see you next time!

 

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