ARMS Review: An Innovative and Fun Nintendo Fighter
I have had extensive time with the full version of Arms thanks to a review code provided by Nintendo -- and I'm loving the game so far. The Arms Direct really opened my eyes to the depth of this game, and the Testpunch got me hooked.
I can say that if you were excited by either of those events, the full game does not disappoint.
What I Love About Arms
My favorite things about this game are the Arms and Character combinations. Each arm type is unique and can completely change a playstyle.
There are signature arms for each character, but you can also unlock all of them for all of the characters. This really opens up the possibilities -- something the game ensures you know about.
Each character also has their own character ability that can change how you play as well. Combine the two and you will find almost limitless possibilities. Half of the fun of Arms is trying different combinations to see the results.
Motion controls are great -- and a focus of the game, of course -- but I'm so glad that there are other control schemes available. I haven't gotten used to using the motion controls yet, and do much better with a normal controller.
When using the controller, I have more control over my movements, but the motion option gives me better control at aiming punches.
Method of Getting New Arms
I like the way Nintendo implemented unlocking new Arms for your characters. It involves hitting targets and boxes that have new Arms inside. You can extend the timer by hitting clocks and it's based on how fast/accurate you are at hitting the targets. (Check out my guide to getting Arms for more information on this.)
Even though it is random, the first Arm you get will be for the character you attempt the challenges with. The long timer will also lean toward that character. When I did this, I got around 15-17 Arms -- and 7 of them were for the character I was using.
Party Match is a Blast
I imagine that this is the main mode people will be playing. It is a grab bag of everything in the game and is great, even if you play for short bursts. It is cool how you can see everyone in the lobby and see what others are doing while you are not in a match.
It is also great that there is a warm-up mode you can do while waiting.
What Could Use Improvement
Not everything is perfect, there are some things I didn't like.
Lack of Proper Practice Mode
This is so important to any fighting game and is surprisingly missing from Arms. Sure you can practice many different aspects of the game in a normal match format, but there is no "Free Training" mode for you to just practice things.
I will say that it is nice to get so many options to practice, even if there is no free training.
The closest thing we have is the "warm-up" mode, which you can only do while you wait in a party match lobby.
There are tiers, which is cool, but nothing special about this mode otherwise. You can even use custom loadouts if you've unlocked other Arms. There is a requirement you must fulfill before unlocking Ranked, which I won't say here, but I don't really see a reason for that given how Ranked mode is set up.
One thing that is really cool is that you can play Grand Prix and Versus modes while waiting for a match.
Lack of Customizable Options and Controls
You can't change the audio/video or the controls in ARMS. You can choose a different control scheme, which I'm grateful for, but you cannot change how the buttons are assigned.
This is something that is minor for me, and I didn't even notice it until someone pointed it out.
There are multiple modes to keep everyone busy, the actual fighting is very fun as well, and it is so satisfying to connect your punches.
I can see this game (possibly) getting more popular than even Splatoon, which is saying a lot. ARMS is another example of how Nintendo can make great new IPs -- and I'm excited to see more.