Rumble Roses XX Hands-On

Konami takes the wraps off its sassy, but brutal, Xbox 360 wrestler.

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At its press event today Konami finally let the assembled press get its hands on Rumble Roses XX, its upcoming wrestler for the Xbox 360. The game, which is developed by famed wrestling game developer Yuke's, is the next-generation sequel to Rumble Roses, the all-female wrestler that hit the PS2 in 2004. The work-in-progress version of the game on display at the event wasn't quite done, but it offered a good sampling of the old, new, and saucy elements that make up this eye-catching game.

We'll cut to the chase first and confirm that yes, the game is as naughty and scandalous as its predecessor. The lady wrestlers that make up the roster of selectable characters should be familiar to those who played the original. Poster girls for clean living, Dixie and Reiko, return in HD glory. New to the mix is a superstar incarnation of the fighters, which complements the baby face and healer versions. The different versions of each come with cosmetic and gameplay differences ranging from costumes, cinematic entrances, and moves. A new character-editor feature will let you create your own brawling baby or tweak the existing cast. In keeping with the game's hormone-agitating intentions, you'll be able to tweak a number of different elements, such as muscle tone and, in a not entirely shocking turn of events, breast size. Besides the obvious visual enhancements, balloonlike breasts and J.Lo-sized booties will affect weight and handling on your fighter, which reflects Rumble Roses XX's attempt to responsibly blend the T and A craved by red-blooded males with the gameplay that wrestling fans demand--something its predecessor had a tough time doing.

This brings us to RRXX's gameplay, which has been considerably beefed up since its PS2 debut. The game now features a respectable selection of offline and online modes that comprise a solid offering for anyone looking for wrestling action on the Xbox 360. Tag matches are two-on-two matches for one to four players that require a pin or submission for victory. The twist to the matches is that you'll have to mind your teammate's feelings toward you while playing. If you have a good relationship, cultivated by being a supportive buddy during battle, you can expect your teammate to help you break out of a pin. If you have a bad relationship, caused by one too many accidental smacks during a fight, don't expect any backup. Queen's matches are one-on-one fights between one to two players that add a dose of humiliation to losing a match. The matches play out normally, but they take a turn into fantasy country, with the loser having to embarrass herself by playing a "penalty game," which consists of whatever humiliating task you've chosen from a creative list of acts. To make things even more interesting, you'll be able to pick what they're wearing when they do it. You'll be able to watch them perform this losing ritual from any number of camera angles. Handicap match is a one-on-two match for up to three people, which requires the two-person team to get a submission or pin to win. The three-way royal is three-way fight for one to three players that crowns whoever defeats an opponent with a pin or submission as the winner. The four-way royal is a four-way fight for one to four players that crowns whoever defeats an opponent with a pin or submission as the winner. A PHM, or "pure humiliation match," is a one-on-one fight for one to two players that requires you to perform a humiliation move to win. Finally, the street fight battles are one-on-one contests that require you to win two out of three rounds by simply emptying out your opponent's health like a traditional fighting game.

In addition to all of the above, Rumble Roses XX will also feature online gameplay for up to four players as a team or against each other. Besides gameplay, RRXX will also let you upload or download images from the game's photo shoot mode, which essentially lets you take pictures of any of the girls while she performs a variety of activities of your choosing. The game is also expected to feature downloadable content, such as wrestler outfits, at some point down the line after its release.

As far as the wrestling mechanics go, Rumble Roses XX has a solid core that benefits from Yuke's experience at crafting wrestlers. The game features a basic system that lets you perform strikes, grabs, dashes, and submissions by using the 360 controller face buttons. The shoulder buttons and bumpers are used to guard, perform reversals (when used in combination with the appropriate face button), and perform one of three unique attacks. Humiliation attacks are specials you can perform to humiliate your opponent during a match once you've filled an onscreen meter. Killer and lethal moves are context-sensitive specials you can perform based on your opponent's health and your distance from her. If you can pull them off, you'll be treated to flashy and painful acts that will do a hefty amount of damage to your foe. Though the special moves are cool, the core fighting revolves around a deliberately paced experience that's strategic and relies on grappling and well-timed attacks. The move list has been beefed up to give players more options and add variety to battles. From what we played, the direction in which the game is going seems positive, which results in a better feel during a match.

The visuals in the game look sharp overall. Obviously, much time and effort was put into the anatomical correctness of the wrestlers, and they all look good for the most part. The only blemish we've noticed so far is the hair on the ladies, which is a little too stiff. Outside of the that, the character models look quite good and animate well--with some parts that "animate" more than others. The environments are almost as well done, although they aren't quite as sharply detailed. These core elements of the game are dressed up with lighting and a host of special filter effects to give them some depth. The cinematic intros for each of the wrestlers do a fine job of showing off the powerful graphics engine with some outlandish real-time movies that are decidedly over the top. Also, from what we've seen so far, the game's frame rate runs pretty smoothly.

The audio in the version we played was a good immersive mix of chanting crowds, sassy talk from the ladies, and a whole lot of thuds and smacks. An assortment of rock tunes accompanies the ring action and sets the tone.

Rumble Roses XX appears to have a lot of the visceral stuff that fans of these games were hoping for in terms of its cast of fighters and their fighting moves. However, the attempt to refine the gameplay has resulted in a lot more promise than we would have expected. We'll be curious to play more of the game to see just how much depth this actually lends to the whole experience. But, from what we played, RRXX is certainly shaping up to handle a lot better than its predecessor. Rumble roses XX is slated to ship later this year for the Xbox 360. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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