Ready 2 Rumble Revolution Review
Broken controls destroy any fun that could have been had in this arcade boxer.
- Lots of different fighting moves, both offensive and defensive.
- Awful controls ruin everything good about the game
- Character stereotypes and parodies are lame.
Given that punching people in the face is such an inherently pleasurable experience, it comes as a surprise that Ready 2 Rumble: Revolution removes any of the enjoyment of this pristine pastime. Ready 2 Rumble serves as a warning that, no matter how fun the concept behind the game is, it is impossible to enjoy those ideas if you have to put up with controls that respond neither to your movements nor desires. The motion commands that you dish out to your pugilists are rarely followed, which makes the matches chaotic and exhausting affairs. The winner can be assured only that he or she had more stamina, and more luck, than his or her fallen competitor. Matters of skill remain unresolved.
Ready 2 Rumble starts out well enough. To enter the single-player championship tournament, you must create your own fighter using an assortment of different faces, body types, and clothing options. Although you can't tweak your physical attributes to any fine degree, you can determine your fighting style and voice, and earning money in your career gives you access to more shirts and shoes. The creation tool lets you design a character less loathsome than the included spread of stereotypes and poorly concealed celebrity parodies. David Beckham makes an unofficial appearance in the guise of Mosh Deck 'Em, but the caricature lacks the humor that would make him fun to play as or beat up.
Once you get away from playing dress-up with your cartoon boxer, the real issues begin to crop up. An assortment of jabs, uppercuts, and hooks makes it seem like there is a deep offensive experience here; it's when you try to pull off these moves that you run into problems. Punching with your left or right hand requires only that you shake the remote or Nunchuk respectively, but the stronger punches require more precise movement that is maddeningly difficult to consistently pull off. For instance, a powerful hook requires you to flick to one side to wind up and then to the other to finally unleash the fury. Often, the initial flick won't register at all, so your boxer will either throw a different, much weaker, punch, or simply stand still like a dope. At other times, the first flick will register but the second will not, leaving your fighter in the wind-up pose but never striking no matter how much you shake the remote or yell in anger.
The lack of precision is even more infuriating when you're trying to defend yourself. By holding the Z and B buttons, you can hold your hands in front of your fighter to block head and body blows. You can also sway and duck by holding those buttons while moving the remote but, like powerful punches, these dodges are impossible to pull off with any sort of reliability. One key strategy to turn the tide in fights is to duck out of the way just as your opponent is trying to connect with a jaw-shattering wallop. By avoiding contact, you open him up to attack and can pepper him with punches until he regains his balance. But you can't pull off these defensive maneuvers when you need to, so your only line of defense is weak blocks, which offer little resistance to more powerful blows.
Given that you can't execute any offensive or defensive strategy with certainty, fights are far too chaotic for their own good. Against another human opponent, both players are hampered by the lousy controls, and consequently the only logical strategy is to frantically wave your arms and hope that you deal more damage than you take. Although competitive matches last no more than five minutes (five rounds that last one minute each), these are utterly exhausting because of the sheer effort that it takes to stave off blows while landing a few of your own. Against the computer, things are less chaotic but still rely more on blind luck than perfect execution. Playing offensively is still the only effective method because dealing with unpredictable punching is less punishing than managing unresponsive defensive maneuvers. Because the computer does not have to put up with awful controls, it's able to dodge or smack you with ease. At times, the computer will abuse its power, making it impossible for you to land a punch or dodge an attack. Climbing the ranks becomes an arduous chore.
Luckily, you can beef up your fighter's stats in training mode. Although training lets you raise your attributes high enough to counteract the computer's unfair advantage, the debilitating control issues once again hamstring your ability to become an elite boxer. A few of the different training modes require only that you hit with your right or left hand at the opportune time, and these regimens are easy to complete without a problem. But, like in the fights, whenever precision is required, you will find yourself severely handicapped. One mode requires that you do a few sit-ups before your coach rockets a ball at your face that you must grab. This does not work at all. Thrusting your controller forward to sit up registers only half of the time, and trying to catch the ball registers even less than that. Two of the exercises, jumping rope and jogging, require you to move the remote in rhythm as arrows scroll down the screen. Once again, Ready 2 Rumble rarely recognizes your motions, and given that the game does not give any clue if you are moving in the wrong direction or simply off rhythm, you have no chance to even try to correct your mistakes.
The most frustrating aspect of Ready 2 Rumble: Revolution is that the fundamentals are in place for an engaging arcade boxer. With a wide assortment of both offensive and defensive moves, a training program that lets you beef up your attributes however you desire, and a ton of unlockables to customize your character, this has the makings of a solid, fun experience. But the controls are just too awful to overcome. Any fighting depth is stripped away because you are unable to pull off moves with any sort of precision, which turns matches into monotonous tests of waggle endurance. Even your training regimen is hampered because only a few different modes--and therefore only a few of your attributes--can be completed with any sort of reliability. Ready 2 Rumble: Revolution enters the ring with tons of potential, but terrible controls deliver the knockout punch.