We put a lot of trust in a button press. When you squeeze that trigger in Halo you always know what’s going to come out of that gun. It has to be this way. Imagine, for example, if nine times out of ten Master Chief’s shoot button became an instruction to drop his weapon – he’d be pretty screwed. Wii remote gestures are not button presses, however, and Ready 2 Rumble hammers the point home.
We love a bit of Wii waggle but you have to know its limitations. The remote does basic directional flicks well, but until the MotionPlus peripheral launches, one-to-one action is off the cards. To get around this, developers 10tacle have mapped moves onto overblown gestures. Uppercuts, jabs, high punches, low punches; to pull them off requires too much precision in the heat of battle. Blocks become punches, punches become dodges and Ready 2 Rumble becomes unplayable.
The dodgy detection between offensive and defensive moves forces you to play the game in a very deliberate, mechanical manner. This would be okay if the rest of the game moved at the same pace, but it doesn’t. The computer AI is a relentless powerhouse, bombarding you with hits you can’t deal with. It never feels like the AI is using the same controls as you are – do they have a GameCube controller squirreled away in there?
It’s a shame, as some effort has clearly gone into this. Visually, the characters have real weight to them, and when a heavy punch collides with an unprotected cheek you can really feel the brain cells dying. Likewise, time a dodge perfectly and you weave in slow-motion, a lovely trick that brilliantly emphasises the ferociousness of the follow-up punch. If only these moves worked reliably.
We’re not so sure about the character design. A collection of celebrity caricatures (renamed, presumably, to avoid legal implications), they are such horrible looking things that it can be hard to tell who they actually are. Is that Jack Black or Dawn French? And why on earth is Brad Pitt’s character model based on the gypsy boxer he played back in 2000’s Snatch?
We enjoyed the original Dreamcast Ready 2 Rumble, and while we always welcome arcade boxing, to see this old fave gutted with dud controls and lame characters is a real shame.
Apr 1, 2009