Review: ARMS

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Too often have people asked me if I play “real” fighting games.

I get requested to play Skullgirls that I am still a noob in or Super Street Fighter Five that isn’t quite my cup of tea. I need to find something with a little more action. I need to find a game that gives me the confidence to tell someone that if they keep talkin’ smack, they are going to catch these hands.

ARMS..that is

Welcome to ARMS

ARMS is essentially Nintendo’s answer to “Where’s Nintendo’s fighting game?” because I guess Smash Bros doesn’t count.

I guess…

Available only for the Nintendo Switch, it is meant to be a motion controlled video game where you hold each of the JoyCons in what’s called the ‘thumbs up’ motion.

Since I have been mostly playing this video game this in comfort of my corporate office chair, I’ve been sticking to the standard button control that provides the same functionality as the motion control.

Story

There actually isn’t that much to the story of ARMS except the little bits you get from Biff, the commentator of the matches before the start of each match and that pertains to the fighters themselves, not the ‘story’.

From what I’ve gathered, a small collection of fighters are participating in a tournament, put together by Max Brass, the final (no spoilers!) fighter you face. That’s it.

It’s the typical fighting game format. The emphasis is more on the characters then their backstory. Which leads us to…

Gameplay

The selling of the game is how exactly you can play this game, with the JoyCons as their own boxing glove. Holding them as stated in the thumbs up motion, you can throw and curve your punches. You can also grab your opponent by punching forward at the same time, dodge in on the ground and midair, and block which also charges your ARMS, giving you the chance to use its enhanced ability.

ARMS give you different ways to enjoy this game after completing the Grand Prix, from 1v1, 2v2, 3 way battle or free for all including online Party Mode with volleyball.

You do all of this with different gloves, or ARMS that have different elements ranging from fire, ice, wind, and lighting, to light or heavy ARMS like a having a grenade for an ARM or an umbrella.

And those combinations don’t even include the unique skills that each character has.

Just as a to name a few, we’ve got Byte and Barq which technically count as two characters as Barq can throw a punch as Byte throws a charged punch.

There’s Ribbon Girl that has two small extra hops after her first jump, giving her supreme mobility in the air.

Master Mummy can heal himself by blocking and with his heavy frame, standard light punches don’t stagger him.

Saving the best for last, we have the Silver Screen Queen herself. The beautiful, the luxurious Twintelle.

Twintelle can slow down incoming punches from a certain range for a brief period. If done correctly, she can dodge twice in midair rivaling Ribbon Girl with her aerial abilities.

The Breakdown

I am giving the game a solid “A-“. Even my bae Twintelle, as amazing as she is, can’t give the game a perfect score. The game will fall into the rut that all multiplayer games eventually fall into. After you unlock everything or find that perfect combination for your one character, you don’t have anything else to do.

I DO love the combinations you can make and I LOVE how different each character is. I don’t have a “Ryu” and a “Dark Ryu”. Or at least I don’t now unless there is going to be a DLC for it.

This may be only fighting game that I might want to play competitively but that will only happen after unlocking all the ARMS and THAT will only happen after some rinse and repeat Grand Prix matches which I know are going to drag. That’s the only strike I must give the game. I feel that the game is stretched out in the unlock for all the ARMS.

For example, if you unlock the Flamer for Twintelle, you’ve only unlocked that one ARM for that one character. If you want to unlock another an ARM for another character and you didn’t in the 25, 50, or 90 second interval, then you need to have the currency to start the process over.

Did I mention that which ARM you get and character you get it with is random?

Yeah…

ARMS: The only game where I’m comfortable throwing hands…I mean ARMS