Developer: AKI Corporation
Release Date: March 17, 2009
I remember playing the original Ready 2 Rumble Boxing on the Sega Dreamcast and coming away feeling less than impressed. I was hoping to get a Super Punch-Out vibe from it, and it looked like the developer was trying to achieve this, but the game really fell flat. The controls were clunky, as were the boxers themselves, and while the designs had a really goofy, cartoon style, they didn't have much in the way of charm or actual humor.
Since the original didn't appeal to me, I skipped the sequel when it was released for the PS2 and other platforms. It looked like the same type of game again, and it had the same design and play style that I didn't care for in the first place. Unfortunately, I've got to say that the latest iteration, Ready 2 Rumble Revolution for the Wii, is even worse than the original title.
I tried to keep an open mind going into this, and although I haven't been impressed with the series up to this point, I was hoping that the addition of motion controls could propel this title beyond the gameplay issues that it had suffered in the past. While I could see that the design sensibilities of the boxers had pretty much remained the same, I wouldn't care so much if the game had managed to become enjoyable.
Unfortunately, the motion controls seem to cause more problems than they solve, and while I can certainly chalk up a few things to user error on my part, the system doesn't respond well to the movements you're trying to create. The result is a mess of a game that rarely does what you want it to, and it manages to frustrate you far more than any form of entertainment ever should.
When Ready 2 Rumble Revolution begins, you're given a few mode options to pick from, such as exhibition or career mode. Choosing the career mode will open up a new file, and you'll create a boxer for the game. There are issues right off the bat, and while the title features some zany designs for the opposing boxers, the options to create your own boxer are pretty tame in comparison. There's a lot of unlockable content that you'll see, but the starting options are really boring and lack the visual flair that the rest of the cast seems to have. Along with that, you're given a slider for your body type, but you can only fit into three default body styles, so although you can adjust your weight, you may as well just select one of the three default forms. After that, you can select face options, hair, facial hair, etc. — pretty standard stuff as far as character creation goes in a video game.
You're then introduced to the gym, where you'll meet your trainer who will give you the lowdown on how your weekly schedule works, and how to fight a match. Basically, during the week, you can train or rest, and on the weekend, you can sign with the promoter to have a fight. The more you fight, the higher in the rankings you get, and that's obviously how you progress in the game. You'll still want to participate in training during the week, though, as it's the only way you can increase your character stats. There are about five or six training options to pick from — heavy bag, jump rope, etc. — and they all come with their own set of controls using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk.
Certain training segments are pretty easy to perform and respond well to the motion control setup, but the game starts to fall apart in other training segments, and this is before you even get to your first match. Basically, anything that requires a certain amount of precision from the player is going to give you issues. For instance, there are a pretty large variety of punches you can perform, from your basic jabs, hooks, and uppercuts to variations that increase the power. There are obviously sets for both right and left as well, and then there's the Rumble activator, which is basically a small meter that builds up and lets you unleash super attacks.
The problem comes from the actual swings, though, and how the game interprets what you're doing. Jabs are really easy, and they're generally the most reliable, where you simply push the Remote or Nunchuk forward to perform the punch. Hooks, on the other hand, tend to give you a bit of trouble, and require two movements of pushing the controller to the right and then left, or vice versa if you're a leftie. Either way, the game frequently will not register the first movement, leaving you with no punch at all (and your defense down), or you'll get a halfway motion, as if you're gearing up for the hook but you don't follow through. The same can be said for the uppercut motion, which gave me as much trouble as the hook did.
With the Heavy Bag training exercise, you're required to punch the bag in any way to fill up the meter at the bottom of the screen, and when that is full, you'll need to punch a particular spot on the bag to finish the set. I could rarely get this final punch to connect where the game intended, though, and I'd rarely see any large gains from any exercises that required precise motion control.
The same problem occurs in the fights, and because of this, whether or not you win a match becomes a pretty random game of chance. The computer doesn't suffer from the same issues as the player, and while the early matches can be overcome without much difficulty, taking on some of the bigger guys will prove to be more challenging than it should be. Defense has the same issue as offense, and while you're given the ability to simply block, dodge or duck, you're almost always going to have to rely on blocking. Timing your dodge or duck is nearly impossible because you don't know if the game will pick up on your movement in time. Blocking only requires you to hold up the Remote and Nunchuk and press down a couple of buttons, but although you can block most of the small attacks thrown your way, it'll prove to be no defense against the harder hits or an opponent's Rumble mode.
Basically, Ready 2 Rumble Revolution for the Wii is nearly unplayable. I love the idea of having an arcade boxer on the Wii, and while boxing on Wii Sports didn't exactly blow my socks off, it worked out far better than this game did. I'm not sure that complicated controls for an arcade boxer are the way to go on the Wii, and Ready 2 Rumble proves that more punch types don't necessarily translate into a better boxing experience.
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