Review: ARMS (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Review: ARMS (Switch)

by Danny Bivens

A pleasant punch to the face. 

When I first saw Arms back in January, my immediate reaction was to avoid the game at all costs. I liked what I was seeing from the game visually, but the thought of motion controlled boxing AGAIN really turned me off. After sinking a significant amount of time into Nintendo’s latest take on the fighting genre, I have to admit. I’m impressed. It’s not perfect, but the visual style, art direction and overall experience are surprisingly unique and fun.

Arms does suffer the same issues that Splatoon on the Wii U did in the fact that outside of the multiplayer, there really isn’t a whole lot to do. Sure, you can make your way through the Grand Prix mode multiple times, throw your friends in a basketball hoop or even go through the 1-on-10 mode. They’re fun, but online multiplayer is where it’s at with Arms. The community is vibrant (pre-Splatoon 2 at least) and as long as you practice, you can have some competitive, fair matches with other players. Party Matches used to be my go-to for the game, but recently, I’ve endeavored to “git gud” and started playing Ranked. The level of challenge (typically) is great and you can really have some fun, engaging matches.

Controls in Arms are derivative. I personally don’t care much for the motion controls, mainly because they seem to limit the movement of your character. I’ve had absolutely no problems playing with the Pro Controller or in Handheld mode. Any mistake that I’ve made in fights have been completely my fault. The gameplay is nuanced and really does require you to read your opponents. Did you try to dodge a grab instead of breaking it with a single punch? Boom, you’re getting thrown to the ground! Did you screw up the timing of your Rush Attack and your opponent blocked every single incoming punch? Well, congratulations, you did minimal damage and just wasted it! Small mistakes throughout the match can really lead to you (or your opponents) downfall.

The roster of characters in Arms is diverse and all bring something different to the table. The designs are great and the odd backstories that Nintendo is crafting via social media for them is…alarming (in a funny way). In a game where the characters could have easily been carbon copies of each other, Nintendo went in deep by making each character feel unique. You could probably say that there are definitely character types (light, medium and heavy), but the way characters control and their abilities make mastering them challenging and fun. The ability to change and get new arms also brings a customization aspect to the experience which can make it difficult

There is no getting around it. Arms is actually a good game teetering on the level of becoming great. With the planned updates coming to the game post-launch, I expect things to just get better from here. My biggest complaint about Arms has got to be the motion controls - I just couldn’t get into them. However, it’s essentially a non-issue with all of the other control options out there. Don’t count this game out just because the shiny new Splatoon 2 is everything you think you wanted. Nintendo has crafted something special here.

Final Score: 8.5

ARMS 2.0

I did get to spend some time playing through version 2.0 of the game. Max Brass is a fun character (cool design and I like to play as him, too!), and some of the changes, like adding a Stats section, is pretty detailed for OCD gamers like myself. Headlock Scramble was also crazy, yet fun to play through.

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