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Impressions from the Arms Global Testpunch — Winding Down After Week 1

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So the first weekend of the Arms Global Testpunch is behind us. Now, we want to briefly cover our first impressions of Arms, based on the Arms Global Testpunch. That is, now that we’ve had a chance to actually play the game, we want to give it a little critique.

Now, you may be aware that the Global Testpunch only covers the Party mode of the game. As such, this critique will be mostly limited to that and the general core gameplay. Until we have a full copy of the game, that’s all we’re going to be able to talk about, after all.

Let’s Take Up ARMS

The party mode for the demo consisted of 1v1, doubles, FFA, and volleyball. This game shows its merit as a competitive game best in 1v1, of course. Based on what character you use movement strategies will vary greatly. As Ribbon Girl, it was easy to stay in the air for extended periods of time. Then I could drop to the ground when I wanted to throw a charged punch.

Arms Global Testpunch Lobby
Prize Money (in-game currency) was handed out with 1 going to the loser, 3 to the winner, and 2 to both/all in the event of a draw.

This game seems to center heavily around the concept of bait and punish, as any punch will leave you wide open for attack. This can lead to crazy scenarios where players connect nothing because they were both uninterested in taking the bait. Or other scenarios where we’ll circle each other for twenty seconds at a time, tossing punches and avoiding the followups. It was frantic and so much fun, but I rarely felt like the game just chose me to be the loser because it could. I always felt that I either got outplayed or simply played myself.

For instance, I came across another player who jumped and grabbed over and over. I grew annoyed with this and even lost to them, once. Then, I realized that this was simply because I was impatient. If I’d wanted to counter them, I could have waited for them to reach the ground and grabbed them instead. Or, if further away, I could shield and just dodge, if they grabbed.

There’s surprising depth, here. Even some hidden techniques to discover, which we’ll take time to explain in greater detail another time. For now, just know that Arms will be able to please both casual and competitive players.

Doubles

Doubles was a mode I was a bit annoyed by, in the test punch. It consists of all the fighting game mechanics you find in 1v1 or FFA, but you’re tied to an ally. This can be a problem if you play a character that moves a lot and are tied to a character that prefers not to. However, I feel this mode has its niche as part of the crazy fun you can get up to playing Arms. I imagine it will also have a place in more competitive scenes, as some team compositions will likely work far better than others and there’s some amount of alternate strategy to be had that separates it from 1v1.

Arms Doubles
Players are restricted on how far they can move from each other. This means flanking the opponent isn’t really an option.

I do feel that doubles is particularly unbalanced, though. Grabs tend to seem a bit overpowered, as there’s too much going on to react appropriately. On top of that, a successful grab will throw both opponents, interrupting whatever the other person was doing and damaging both. It seems like a lot of reward for relatively little risk and I think players picked up on this quickly.

Volleyball

This game tends to be a bit of a mixed bag. It can feel a bit unfair, at times, as you can’t aim separately from your character’s gaze. You’re locked onto the ball, which means that sometimes you can’t do much about some spikes. This isn’t at all untrue to the actual sport, though, as putting yourself somewhere that you can’t stop the ball from falling means the enemy can capitalize on that. Overall, this mode was a lot of fun, when we didn’t take it too seriously.

Controls and Final Thoughts

This demo also gave us a good look at the control schemes available to us. After playing with it for a while, Pro Controllers may not be as disadvantageous as some once thought.  I still personally prefer the motion controls. I find they work rather well and are a lot of fun to use. We can still see competitive players opting for more controlled methods of play, though.

So overall,  Arms seems to be coming along pretty well. The title is very solid and provides plenty for both casual and competitive players to enjoy. We can’t wait for next weekend’s test punch or to see what else develops as the game nears launch. We’ll be sure to keep the analysis and impressions coming, as there’s still plenty to talk about.

In the meantime, if you want more, you may be interested in our character analysis from the Arms Direct. You can also look forward to our analysis of the arms and attributes available to them. There, we’ll be able to discuss actual strategies for using your arms to their best potential. See when the next free to play Testpunch takes place here.


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