ARMS Is a Great, Albeit Different, Fighting Game

ARMS Global Test Punch

Earlier today, at the Nintendo booth set up for E3 2017, I had the opportunity to play a little bit of Nintendo’s recently-released fighting game, ARMS. When the concept videos started rolling out, I was actually fairly interested as it looked like no kind of fighting game that I had seen. The characters looked cool, and the style of game play utilizing the motion controls was intriguing.

I went into this demo with next to zero expectations. Paired up with a fellow attendee queuing up, the representative introduced us to the basic controls of the game. Did I get completely whipped in the process? I sure did. While part of me was trying to grasp some of the more elegant fighting techniques needed to play the game, another part of me was deeply enjoying it even though I had no idea what I was doing.

In this game, the shoulder buttons are used to jump or dash towards the opponent. The side triggers on the JoyCons are used to activate special abilities, and the default position is to keep both hands up, kind of like a boxing match. Extending an arm out throws a punch and turning your fists inward leads to a blocking-type maneuver. Punches could be angled depending on the direction you turn your JoyCon.

The game feels very realistic, and it’s actually a lot more complex than I thought it would. Usually, fighting games are played out with complex button combos and commands, but in this case, you actually feel like you’re in the shoes of your character. It’s definitely no Wii Boxing, which feels incredibly primitive compared to this game, and maybe an early concept. There’s a lot of strategy and if the ARMS Open Invitational with Mr. Yabuki was any precedent, there are skill levels and quite a bit of intricacy involved. The game definitely has the potential to become its own competitive scene, and I certainly hope it does.

During the presentations at Treehouse Live at E3, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime stated that if games were no fun, there was no point to them. Just like the different strategy used on the shooting genre in Splatoon and its sequel, this is Nintendo doing Nintendo and creating a game that stands for itself as something unique. The Switch has a fantastic future ahead of it, and it’s only in its first year.

Will you be playing ARMS? Are you already playing ARMS? What are some tips that you can share with us?