The game adds a little challenge be making reversals much more difficult than in the original PS2 Rumble Roses. Instead of having a catch-all reversal button, players have to press block in conjunction with either your strike or grapple button, depending on what you think your opponent is going to come at you with. This creates a guessing situation where players must guess their opponent's moves and learn their patterns to ensure successful reversals, which in turn boost up the humiliation gauge.
With the reversals made more difficult, the game now offers some measure of depth, but can only really be enjoyed by putting the game in hard mode, as the other two modes have AI that doesn't really give much fight in a match. With the game at hard, however, you'll be in much more challenging matches. The only thing that messes up the experience is the fact that Killer Moves and H-Moves aren't context sensitive. If you pull one on a standing opponent, a cutscene will appear for a second, and when the action cuts back, the victim will be laying down. That needs to be addressed.
Online play is included in the game, and for the most part, it's lag-free. However, spots of lag will cause the game to freeze for a moment here, a moment there. [update] The delay in controller response can adversely affect reversal or move timing. The game's online code can use some polish..
Thankfully, the dearth of modes in Rumble Roses for PS2 is addressed here. While there aren't anywhere near as many modes as in Smackdown! vs. Raw, there's certainly plenty of fun to be had, be it in singles matches, tag matches (up to four players), three-way and four-way battle royal matches, and the Queen's Match. The first three modes are pretty much what you have come to expect from the modes in Smackdown! vs. Raw, so the real novelty is the Queen's Match. This match takes place in a beach setting, with the ring in the center of a shallow pool of water. While the match itself plays out like a singles match, the interesting part is that the losing character has to endure a humiliation event that is decided upon at the beginning, ranging from sexy poses to acting like a kitten to being tickled by a giant hand attached to a stick. Yes, it's creepy. Unfortunately, these portions aren't interactive, so there really isn't an incentive to win. Hopefully Rumble Roses XXX will feature interactive humiliation games.
What was taken away, however, is saddening. The mud match is gone. While the Queen's Match more than makes up for it in terms of sheer voyueristic delight, I would have loved to see if the mud could have been rendered better with the 360's power. Also, the story mode from the original game is gone. I don't know about anyone else, but I loved how corny and cheesy the stories were for the characters. In place of a story or season mode, players basically fight to build up money reserves so they can buy a hot outfit or pose for the photo shoot (more on this later). Match wins will eventually lead to a title shot and a host of other reward matches, but there really isn't a clearly defined criteria for earning these rewards, which can make trying to get the achievement points in this game absolute hell. There needed to be more concrete, attainable goals to earn the unlockables/achievement points, and other developers would do well to learn from this.
Lastly, the perverse delight of this game is capped off with the photo shoot mode. In addition to the costumes, money earned in matches can be used to buy poses for the characters to take in a photo shoot, either alone or with a second character. During these shoots, you can manipulate the camera every which way and take snapshots of your characters. In order to keep it nice and communal, you can upload one picture at a time to share with the rest of Xbox Live, and can also download the pictures submitted by other users. It's like being able to generate tons and tons of softcore pornography with the ease of putting together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The only regret is that it's impossible to transfer the photos from the 360 to a connected PC. That would have been extremely awesome.
As it stands, Rumble Roses XX is a fun little game for those who go in with the right expectations. It's no Smackdown! vs. Raw, but it doesn't need to be. It's a fun, relaxing, and alluring game for open-minded adults, and shouldn't be missed by those who like looking at the SI swimsuit issue.