I’ll be totally honest, when Nintendo first announced ARMS I wasn’t enthused. It’s another game in a genre I despise, that uses a control scheme that I hate. And yet to my great surprise, after playing an hour of it last night, I can safely say that I think ARMS has legs. It’s a fun, easy-to-learn-but-hard-to-master romp with a sense of style that is full of potential.
Firstly, let’s take a moment to talk about something I don’t think Nintendo gets enough credit for: Style. With Splatoon, Mario Kart and now ARMS, they’ve embraced the bold and bright colour palate that most other games seem almost scared of. And whilst it’s no Overwatch, the game oozes charm and character from every pore. The menu’s are adorable, the characters well designed and the arena’s all unique.
As for the gameplay itself, I like what they offering. I was expecting lots of 1 on 1 fighting, but I ended up playing an awful lot of 2 on 2 and three-way action (Niiiice). As well as a slightly weird but actually rather fun Volleyball mode. The impression I get is that ARMS isn’t a game that’s going to be held back by genre conventions. And hopefully that means we’ll get to play some truly unique modes and maps in ARMS.
With that being said however, there are a few things I didn’t love. The motion controls for one. Whilst I (surprisingly) did enjoy playing with the motion enabled I did find a few actions a little too hard to enact. Namely switching my character focus, dashing and moving forwards and backwards. I’m sure I’ll get used to it in time, but in the hour I spent with the game it was a very minor niggle and something that does take away from the game.
A larger problem for me was how easy it seemed to be to cheese the game. Numerous times I found myself against opponents who were all to happy to throw out ‘grab’ after infuriating grab. The onus is obviously on me to work around that strategy, but it seemed a touch too easy to game the system in that regard. Maybe this is something that’s built-in to the genre. Maybe grabbing is to ARMS what button mashing is to every other fighting game?
I liked what I played of ARMS, and despite being truly awful at it, I still had a lot of fun. I was expecting a fairly generic 3rd person action game, what I got with ARMS is something else entirely. ARMS isnt the shallow fighter I feared it would be. There’s depth here that hardcore players are going to absolutely love to unearth. There’s challange, and skill. With every loss I felt myself improving, slowly learning the basics of a game that wants you to be constantly on the move; jumping, dashing and dodging your way around the arena and attacking your foe from every conceivable angle, with every convievable move.
Will it sell consoles? Probably not (what does anymore?), but it’s absolutely full of potential and could really take off if it gets a community behind it. One hour isn’t enough time to really formulate an opinion on a game, luckily for me there’s another Test Punch next week. A chance to hone my skills, work on those grabs and ultimately decide if I’ll be grabbing ARMS with both hands. Ahem.