Tag Archives: Video Game

THOUGHTS ON: ARMS ‘Test Punch’

 

Arms global testpunchI just finished playing my second suite of matches in ARMS, Nintendo’s brand new fighting game that is slated to release for the Switch next month on June 16th. I wrote a previous blog post here stating why I was excited to play ARMS, and after battling a myriad of foes during the game’s ‘Test Punch’ as Nintendo has called it (essentially a free, online-only demo of the game’s mechanics) I can confirm that my excitement was well justified, and I’ll tell you why.

 

The ‘Test Punch’ that Nintendo has released for ARMS began yesterday in multiple time zones across the globe, and I patiently waited to play the game at 8PM EST last night. Hey, I didn’t have any plans on Friday night, I figured why not give the latest Nintendo game a shot? I have a Switch, after all. Don’t make fun of me!

 

Anyway, to say that I performed poorly during my first few matches of ARMS would be selling it short. In a word, I was dreadful when I began playing. I started my playtime using the two separated joy-con controllers to try out the game’s oft-advertised motion control scheme that critics have been praising, and initially found it to be disappointing. The motion controls felt somewhat precise, sure, but my lack of full understanding in the game’s mechanics meant that I lost way more games than I won. I also felt somewhat tired by the end of my session (to clarify – I later realized I swung my punches way too hard and more forceful than necessary) and this diminished my enjoyment with the game. During this first session, I did not think of giving the Switch Pro controller a go, considering the game’s marketing has so far centered solely on using the motion controls within the joy-con controllers.

arms fight

Earlier today, I corrected that mistake. I started up my second session with ARMS by utilizing the Switch Pro controller, and I found myself landing hits and throwing out grabs at my opponents more easily than before. The controller mapping took some getting used to, despite the game’s surprisingly low amount of required button presses. Seriously, if you’re playing ARMS using a standard Pro controller, the game doesn’t require all of the controller’s buttons to play; certain attacks and combos are mapped to multiple buttons on the controller.

mechanica

The game’s complexity is not at first noticeable. There are a wide variety of weapons (or arms) to choose from, but within the Test Punch, each of the seven fighters only has access to three. This gives you a good idea of the different playstyles that each fighter can utilize, and what their abilities and body types have on offer. For example, the heavier characters Master Mummy and Mechanica can take multiple hits without flinching but are slow, while smaller characters like Ninjara and Ribbon Girl can nimbly dash around the battlefield but take bigger hits of damage from attacks. The level of variety with just the seven fighters on offer made each match I played feel different each time, and forced me to think of a strategy to effectively take out the opponent. I found myself gravitating toward Mechanica, with her large health bar and jump-jets appealing to me. 

 

The Test Punch offers a few different game modes. 1v1, 2v2, 1v1v1, and volleyball are the game modes present. They are all pretty self-explanatory, but as expected, I found the 1v1 battles the most enjoyable. The 1v1v1 battles are a pain in the butt, because the game does not tell you how to cycle between opponents during targeting. When playing with the upright separated joy-con controllers, opponents can be cycled through by clicking the ABXY buttons on the right joy-con, or the directional buttons on the left joy-con. This made the three-player as well as four-player battles much easier to manage amidst the flurry of punches being thrown across the battlefield.

Min min

Despite this oversight of not explaining how to cycle through targets, the game does a decent job of explaining its mechanics to new players. It took me two different play sessions, but I eventually found myself zipping through the air and across the ground, capable of performing the correct punches and grabs that I wished to do.

 

ARMS is a very unique fighting game with a great premise. If this first Test Punch is a sign of the game’s online multiplayer quality, I am satisfied with the result. I experienced zero perceivable lag throughout my playtime, and suffered no disconnects. There were a few opponents of mine that dropped from the match, and it cannot be said if they were forcefully disconnected or left of their own will, but my own online experience worked flawlessly. I hope (and expect) in the final release of the game that we will be able to tailor our online gameplay experience in the ways that we enjoy most, instead of being forced to play all of the Test Punches available modes, despite how fun they can sometimes be. This first free experience of ARMS leaves me wanting more, and I think I’ll be there for day one of the game’s release.

arms logo

Did you have the chance to play the Test Punch? Have any thoughts after playing ARMS, or are you waiting until the game’s full release to play? Or, do you have little interest in the game? Feel free to let me know in the comments, and thank you for reading. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

 

  • Matt

Quick Thoughts: Mortal Kombat X

Hey everyone! I picked up my own copy of Mortal Kombat X for PS4 at a Gamestop midnight launch the other night. I’ve not yet finished the story mode (reached chapter 10) but I’ve been playing around with some of my favorite characters from previous MK games to see how they handle in the new game.

MKX Sub Zero

I’ll start right off by saying that the three variations given to each fighter is a genius decision that both feels meaningful to players, and cuts corners for the developers. It’s as if a designer said “Listen, we have a bunch of cool ideas for new moves, but we don’t have the time/resources to create more characters to accompany them. How about we place these cool new moves into one of three variations players can choose from among the current fighters?” This way, players get more choices on how to play the game, while the developers are able to implement their new attack ideas with existing characters.

Although there’s a bunch of fan-favorite fighters returning, the brand new characters are also very appealing. D’Vorra, Ferra/Torr, and Kotal Kahn are all fighters that I can see becoming popular in the competitive scene, each providing unique playstyles to offset each other. Ferra/Torr in particular interests me because as a duo, these fighters, to an extent, rely on each other to win a fight. Certain moves are unable to be pulled off unless the two of them are together, and so it creates interesting scenarios where the player must decide to use a move that requires both fighters together, or apart.

This game is SUPER fast-paced compared to Mortal Kombat (2011). I wasn’t expecting a speed increase of this caliber, and although I haven’t quite gotten used to the faster nature of fighting, I’m very much enjoying the depth that each character and stage is bringing to the table.

MKX Kitana

I’ll leave my thoughts there. I’m off to play some more MKX. Give this game a shot if you enjoyed previous Mortal Kombat games! It pays a lot of homage to previous characters in the series, and as a fighting game standing on its own, it is a solid experience. I’m looking forward to messing around with all of the characters soon, but right now I’ll be focusing on my two favorite from previous MK games: Sub-Zero and Kitana. Too bad Kabal isn’t playable, as I’d probably be choosing him as well!

Thanks for reading!

PLAYING RECENTLY – Bloodborne (no spoilers)

Yeah. So like the title states, I’ve been playing Bloodborne recently.  A lot of Bloodborne. It’s super good.

Bloodborne hunter

No, I mean it’s really, really good.

I’ll avoid mentioning any spoilers, since I’m sure many people have yet to play/complete the game. I’m thoroughly impressed with the atmosphere and lighting Bloodborne has on show. I assumed most of the game would take place within the cobble-stone streets of Yharnam, but I couldn’t be more wrong. A good portion of the accessible areas are within the city, absolutely, but there are also areas that diverge into what could be described as “nightmare-ish” zones, in which enemies lie in wait as you explore each new area.

The expected gameplay style from the ‘Souls’ series is here in full force, but at a much faster pace. Enemies are capable of darting around your attacks as fast as you can avoid theirs, and at some points this makes you feel equal (or flat-out less powerful than) to the creatures you are slaying. The game can be likened to a faster-paced Demon’s Souls, complete with a hub world in which you return to in order to level up by spending the game’s currency, known as blood echoes. The names of items and equipment have changed to reflect Bloodbone’s environments, and the boss encounters, for the most part, require more offensive efforts to effectively take them down.

The enemies fit perfectly into the Bloodborne universe, involving some really spectacular enemy and boss designs. Without spoiling the name of the boss, my favorite boss encounter so far has been the one that is found in the Nightmare Frontier, an optional area of the game. It provides some really thrilling encounters and ends with a boss fight that I can’t stop thinking about.

Cleric beast

I haven’t dabbled much in the player versus player (PvP) aspect of Bloodborne yet, but what I did find is a system that functionally works well, but could use a few improvements. For example, I once had another player invade my game world, only to spawn right behind me, giving me only a couple of seconds to react to his/her attack. This only happened to me once, but it seemed like such a large oversight to have happen.

However, the co-op aspect of the title definitely needs some improvements. A friend of mine and I have tried joining up to beat a couple of boss encounters together, and even though we follow all of the required guidelines to be matched up online with a friend, the game sometimes refused to allow us to play together. The new ‘bell’ summoning mechanic is cool in concept, but has yet to work fully as intended.

Lastly, I don’t think it needs much explanation, but man. Those load times could be better. They aren’t game-breaking in any way, but I wish areas would load a bit quicker between deaths/teleports.

Overall, I’m immensely enjoying my time in Yharnam. I’m approaching 30+ hours on the title, and I’m looking forward to devoting even more time into this game. If you have a PS4, check it out!

Bloodborne werewolf 2

Thanks for reading!