When Nintendo first revealed Arms late last year, I cringed. The sight of players throwing fists in the air was enough to bring back memories of terrible Wii motion controls. Didn’t Nintendo learn its lesson with the mess that was Wii Boxing? Well, maybe the lesson they learned wasn’t to just abandon motion-based fighting completely, but to make it better and put it in a package that could stand on its own.
Having read a number of previews for the game, many have noted that the motion controls are better than what was displayed in Wii Boxing, but not perfect. For a stickler like me, that alone would be enough for me to dismiss the game entirely. However, Nintendo did reveal that those wanting traditional controls could use a standard controller.
Warming me up further to the proposition was a demonstration of the game that took place during a Nintendo live stream. The demonstrator was saying and doing all of the right things to pique my interest as a serious fighting game player, from discussing the rock-paper-scissor elements of attacking vs. blocking vs. throwing, to dismantling his opposition by using traditional fighting game strategies and tactics.
With my two biggest concerns somewhat quelled, what’s stopping me from jumping in? For one, I’m gravely concerned at the game’s tiny roster. Yes, each character has a number of different weapon options, but five characters for a full-priced game feels paltry. Furthermore, and this is more of a personal hangup, it’s a bit of a bridge too far in terms of fighting game style. Pocket Rumble on the Switch is much closer to my wheel house as a 2D fighter, while Arms is a 3D arena-style fighter similar to Pokken Tournament. My forays into 3D fighters haven’t amounted to much, and I don’t think I can justify the expense at this point.
Maybe Nintendo will prove me wrong. Despite my undying love for the company, I’ve dismissed some of their games in the past due to not believing in their selling proposition. The last time I did that, Splatoon proved that Nintendo could make a quality shooter. Can Nintendo prove their haters (and me) that Arms is their next big hit and a vaiable entry in the hyper-competitive fighting game scene? We’ll find out later this year when this upcoming fighter hits the Switch.