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ARMS has no LEGS

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    Rating: 3.0 – Fair

    ARMS has no LEGS

    Prior to the launch of the Nintendo Switch, Arms (stylized as ARMS) was a game that was immediately on my radar. To me, it seemed like a smart evolution of Punch-Out!!, and it looked like a game that was right up my alley. After having played it, I can say that Arms is a decent game, but it fails to live up to expectations and leaves a lot to be desired.

    The main mode in the game is Grand Prix, which has players battling others in a ladder like typical fighting games. A nice touch is being able to play through Grand Prix in co-op, but even so it’s not all that fun due to the game’s surprising steep difficulty. The stiff challenge of the game may turn off many, as it’s hard even on the lower difficulty settings.

    The enemy AI in Arms is absolutely ruthless, which is part of the reason why it’s so challenging. Unfortunately, some of the challenge also stems from the game’s poor motion control detection when it comes to blocking. Punching enemies works perfectly, but the motion where players cross their Joy-Con controllers to "block" is often mistaken for trying to grab your opponent. So while motion controls work for the most part in Arms, there are some serious issues that keep it from being as good as it can be.

    Another problem with Arms is that it feels shallow and has a general lack of content. To its credit, the team attempted to fill it with some interesting modes to do besides Grand Prix, but the problem is most of them are not very fun or exciting. The game offers 4-player split-screen, which is nice, but again, none of the activities are all that great, except for volleyball mode. And even that, with a general lack of customization of the rules or anything, feels very shallow.

    What doesn’t feel shallow is the roster of fighters. Every fighter in the game plays differently from each other, and they all have great personalities and are visually very interesting. The character design is really unique and a highlight of the experience. Even though I think that a lot of the gameplay in Arms misses the mark, I would like to see these characters appear again, so hopefully Nintendo can try again with a sequel. The fighters are made even deeper when you take into account the fact that you can customize their boxing gloves.

    Where most players will spend their time in Arms is the game’s online multiplayer modes, where players can fight others and also compete in the different activities. Unfortunately, you can’t choose what activity you would like to play. So even though volleyball is really the only activity worth anything, you can’t just search for matches for that whenever you want. This is unfortunate, but on the bright side, the game’s online seems well-populated and getting into a match is fairly easy.

    Regardless, players will feel like they have seen all Arms has to offer after having just spent a few hours with the game. It is very shallow as far as fighting games go, but there is still some fun to be had, especially when it pertains to the game’s multiplayer functionality. Nintendo has continued to support it with free DLC that includes new characters, so the game should get better as time goes on, but for now, it’s a shallow fighting game with a great roster that is sadly being wasted.

    Rating:   3.0 – Fair

    Product Release: ARMS (US, 06/16/17)

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