Arms Direct Impressions

by David Loft posted May 25th 2017

File Under Gaming

Nintendo just had a Direct for Arms, a game releasing on the Nintendo Switch on June 16th, and they finally pulled the cover off of everything we are going to see in the game. A game that has been on my wish list since it was first announced. I know many saw motion controls and immediately checked out. But something about it caught my interest enough to follow it, and after subsequent updates it steadily rose to become one of my most anticipated games for the Switch. This recent Arms Direct continues that trend.

We now know all 10 launch fighters along with their expansive customization through the use of different Arms and Elements. Nintendo spent a good amount of time showing off how unique each fighter is with their design, abilities, strengths and movement. Even the stages are unique, each with a different layout and interactive element.

Four player mode looks a bit hectic, especially with all sharing a single screen. With four players on one screen it also limits performance to 30fps instead of 60fps. Making the fast paced game that much more difficult to follow. I suspect the best way to play two on two is with a local friend together against another pair online.

One big announcement was that all DLC will be free, including new fighters, new stages and new arms.

I'm happy we finally got to see what else we will be doing other than straight up fighting. And I think the extra modes will be entertaining while also adding some needed variety. Volleyball and Basketball are definitely out there, yet look extremely fun. I think Volleyball will lend itself very well to casual two on two matches. While basketball will be for the more competitive one on one matches.

Skill shot looks like tremendous fun, that could be easily been just a throw away practice mode. But by having an opponent on the other side it changes the match significantly as you have to balance hitting the targets and contending with your opponent.

Grand Prix is essentially the Arcade mode found in most fighting games and can be played solo or with a friend. Party Mode is a more casual multiplayer mode for up to 10 systems, and each system can have up to 2 players. Than there's Ranked Mode, the meat of multiplayer in Arms, focusing on competitive 1 on 1 matches.

Overall the game is shaping up great. And no surprise really. This is the Nintendo Switch's first AAA original IP release that's exclusive.

From winning matches in any of these modes you earn money which you use with the Arms Getter to 'get' new arms. But, does anyone else wish they called it the Arms Dealer? I certainly think its a missed opportunity.

One big announcement was that all DLC will be free, including new fighters, new stages and new arms. A similar approach the original Splatoon used and makes sense for a new IP. Another big announcement was the Arms Global Testpunch which will be available on May 26th, 27th, 28th as well as June 2nd, 3rd and 4th. This will hopefully give the naysayers some hands on time so they can come to their senses.

Overall the game is shaping up great. And no surprise really. This is the Nintendo Switch's first AAA original IP release that's exclusive. The previous two games, Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 are both available on the Wii U. As a result Nintendo will certainly be putting their full effort to ensure Arms succeeds. This is clear from the get go as they put the team behind Mario Kart 8 on Arms, which is easily the best Mario Kart to date.

My one disappointment is the lack of a single player story campaign.

I'm certain the game will be good and will review well, but I'm curious how well it will sell given that its a new IP that focuses on motion controls and with no Mario or Zelda characters to help sales. I guess we will find out in just under 4 weeks when its released.

Now while I'm definitely happy with the variety of fighters, arms, stages and modes in the game, my one disappointment is the lack of a single player story campaign. Although something tells me there is more to Grand Prix than they are letting on story wise. So here's hoping that turns out true as it would be great to have a story that fleshed out the characters and world of Arms. But as an alternative to an actually story campaign they could have followed Overwatch's approach by releasing comics and animated shorts on the characters and events surrounding the game. As it is, the fighters in Arms are fairly one dimensional, I'd imagine interest would be higher in Arms if people knew more about them. It has certainly worked well for Blizzard.

I think that just about covers everything with my impressions of Arms to date. I'll certainly followup the Global Testpunch with my hands on preview and than after release, a full on review. I can't wait.


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