Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 16, 2017

Email: Don’t underestimate ARMS

I got to try ARMS at the Switch demo event in my country yesterday, and I’ve got to say it’s fun. It’s everything you could want from a game like Wii Boxing, and the arcade vibe is strong in this one. It reminds me of cult arcade games like Windjammers, SEGA’s Virtual On and Capcom’s Powerstone… Come to think of it kinda feels like a Capcom game or a SEGA/Dreamcast game actually, even though it’s developed by the Mario Kart 8 team. Something about the colors and the “energy” of the game I think.

For starters, on the technical side, the motion controls are even better than anything we ever got on the Wii. Unlike the WiiMotion Plus, the Joycons never need any sort of calibrating or recalibrating. Remember in Wii Sports Resort when you would gradually lose accuracy and periodically had to point the Wiimote at the screen and let it rest flat for a while? Yeah, that’s gone. The motion controls just work perfectly, all the time. Whatever movement you want to do, the game replicates as intended. They’ve become so refined that you actually control your character’s movements with motion controls only, and it feels natural. If you tilt a Joycon during an attack, the glove will change its trajectory accordingly, for instance. The only small caveat is, it takes a little bit of time to separate in your mind the motion-controlled actions from the button-based actions such as jumping and dashing, but it shouldn’t take long to get used to it. Nintendo says you can play using “regular” controls (probably for portable mode), so that should appease motion control haters anyway. The cherry on top is that the game is pretty, colorful and extremely smooth.

But is it fun, you may ask. Why yes, yes it is. It seems to have a good amount of depth beyond the surface. Between the extensive mobility the game offers – e.g. full 360° movement, dashes, evades, jumps, including a quadruple jump for one of the characters, grabs, super attacks, charged attacks, blocking, character abilities and selectable gloves with different properties – and the accuracy of the motion controls, this feels more like a bonafide fighting game where actual technique and reflexes are involved than a party game. There were only one arena and five characters in the demo, but Nintendo has already stated that there are going to be more. Here’s a video where the Nintendo Treehouse guys go into detail about the mechanics:

Granted, you’re probably right that the need for two sets of Joycons for local multiplayer is going to hamper its success. Oh well, at least there’s going to be online play to soften the blow. Like Splatoon, it’ll probably never be a true breakout hit/system seller, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it as an arcade gamer. This was the one game I took another go at at the event because I just wanted to play more of it and get into the subtleties of its gameplay. I’m not going to say “be excited for it” just yet, but you should definitely keep an eye on it.

P.S.: Tried Super Bomberman R as well. Plays like Bomberman. Not a fan of the artstyle, but it could be worse. 30fps is disappointing, but not a big deal. Plays fine with a JoyCon turned on its side – doesn’t feel as cramped as I thought it would -, and it’s gonna have 8-player multiplayer. The host couldn’t tell me any more info about the game. Bummer. But rest assured: it sure is a Bomberman game!

We went through this during the Wii. There would always be a game people would hype, sometimes Nintendo would hype it up too. Remember the Treehouse gushing over how The Wonder 101 would be Wii U’s killer app? Yeah.

Can use traditional controller saying that all the motion can be mapped to buttons? Cannot play multiplayer unless you pay $90 more for additional Joycons? I will channel the Hardcore Gamers and say for the ARMS: DOA.

It’s a cool combat system. Now put that combat system into a RPG system where you gain xp, can cast spells, where you travel a vast overworld. It would be the spiritual sequel to Zelda 2.

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