Games

‘ARMS’ Nintendo Direct Gameplay Analysis

Yesterday Nintendo held its first Nintendo Direct since its Fire Emblem one back in January. While they unloaded a ton of new information, trailers, and release windows for a wide variety of games, the primary focus of the Direct was ARMS and Splatoon 2. ARMS is the next big release and a load of new details was revealed ahead of the game’s June 16th, 2017 release date.

The Direct segment began by retreading old ground and providing a general overview of what we saw at the January presentation. The different types of ARMs were fleshed out a bit into categories: Glove, Multi-Shot, Curve, Heavy, and Whip, with more variations inferred. Though it’s already been demonstrated that charging the standard red Toaster ARM gives it a fire effect, it’s now been revealed that there are special attributes attached to each ARM: Fire, Electric, Ice, Explosion, Stun, Blind, and Wind. It’s unclear if they’re permanently attached to certain ARMs or if they’re customizable, but hopefully, it’s the latter.

A short glimpse at the ARMs selection screen for Spring Man showed spots for 30 different types, a fairly sizable number considering they can be mixed and matched with any of the fighters and their unique abilities. That’s right: no ARMs are exclusive to any one fighter, and each combatant has a special trait (i.e. Spring Man can deflect attacks after a charge, and Ribbon Girl can quick-drop from the air). Also, it appears that each player’s 3 sets of ARMs per match must be chosen beforehand, and cannot be switched out once a fight starts. Players can, however, change up their load outs from those three options between rounds.

How do you unlock all of these weapons, you ask? Well, it looks like you can do this with in-game currency attained from winning matches and can be spent on different time tiers in the “ARM Getter” minigame. A Short Timer costs 30, Medium Timer costs 100, and Long Timer costs 200 in-game coins. The minigame itself is a shooting range-style game in which the player racks up points by punching through targets. When a player gets enough points an ARM is unlocked, though the type seems to be completely random.

Judging from the match in the direct, it looks like players will only gain 2 coins per match. This will mean different things to different kinds of gamers. Those who want to have a wide variety of weapon choices at the beginning will undoubtedly be annoyed that they have to win 15 games to earn enough for just the Short Timer (where getting enough points for a new ARM isn’t even guaranteed). On the other hand, those who enjoy unlockables and are concerned that the game wouldn’t have enough content to keep them busy will be thoroughly satisfied on both fronts. Also, it’s still unclear if more coins can be won depending on the match type or mode. If there’s a story mode, for instance, it’s likely winning a match through that will net the player more spoils than a typical PvP match online.

In terms of stages, three new stages were shown yesterday, bringing the total to seven so far. These new stages include:

A pretty neon purple stage that features a pyramid of glowing blocks that seem to light up in time with the music and disintegrate when attacked. This stage could be interesting in that because the blocks can be punched through, this stage could lend itself well to sneak attacks.

A dusty, rustic stage that has varying elevation levels and two tall columns in the middle where the curve-type arms will be very useful.

A stage that dips in the middle and looks like a ramen bowl, which might be MinMin’s stage. It’s still debatable if characters will have their own stages since the others we’ve seen so far don’t seem to have any connection to specific characters. Nonetheless, this stage screams MinMin.

Speaking of MinMin, she’s the first new playable character revealed since ARMS’ announcement. I personally love her character design, especially her beanie (which is obviously reminiscent of a ramen bowl). She’s also the first character to be able to kick as well as punch. Her kicks are used to both deflect incoming attacks and attack her opponents during her grab attack. Her left arm can turn into a dragon if she charges up the Dragon ARM. Other characters can also use the Dragon ARM, but it seems like she’s the only one who can charge it.

Shockingly, a 2v2 mode has also been confirmed, though it’s still uncertain if the second player has to be local or if it can all be done online. Teams are divvied up by color (orange and green to be precise). Does this open up the possibility for 3v1 matches or even 4-player free-for-alls? We’ll have to wait and see. During the 2v2 match shown in the presentation, teammates were tethered together by a translucent sort of rope to show their pairing. There was also some kind of robot hovering in the arena and carrying a bottle of something that healed one of the teams, so it looks like items will at least be available in 2v2 matches.

Last but certainly not least, some eagle-eyed viewers noticed glimpses of four as-of-yet unannounced characters at the bottom of the ARMs customization screen early in the segment. Whether or not this was intentional, it’s tough to say. But this does bring the character roster to 10 so far. We’ll likely learn more about these mystery characters in the two months leading up to the game’s release.

That about does it for our analysis of the latest ARMS gameplay. So far we’ve seen 10 characters, seven stages, one-on-one matches, two-on-two matches and the “ARM Getter” minigame. What else would you need to see to be on board? Personally, I still need to see a story mode that really fleshes these characters out. The character design is fantastic; I just need that backstory. A couple more characters and stages wouldn’t hurt either. But what about you? Is ARMS finally “grabbing” your attention?

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3 comments

Ricky D April 14, 2017 at 3:47 am

I played this game three times back in January and I enjoyed my time playing it but I am worried that without some sort of online community similar to Pokken Tournament, the game will become boring after a day or so. Nintendo still needs to address the online modes for many of these games.

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Phish! April 14, 2017 at 2:27 pm

I want to say that pokken Tournament has a small online community , but it is a dedicated one. But with the game being on wiiu and the Pokemon Company International not patching it anymore im fearing a slow dead, the arcadehas more fighters than the wiiu version for instance, among other differences

Pokken came 2nd in the EVO charity event for the last spot at evo 2017

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Brent Middleton April 15, 2017 at 3:55 pm

It’ll be one of the only online-focused games on the Switch when it’s released, so I’m not worried about a solid online community forming at least in the beginning. What’ll make it have staying power, though, is a ranking system similar to Pokken. There’s already the incentive of playing lots of matches to unlock new ARMs. But that ranking system would be awesome, as would a built-in tournament mode like the one in Mario Kart 8.

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