The last genuinely fun boxing game we saw was Midway's Ready 2 Rumble: Round Two for the PlayStation 2. While the game had arrived on the Dreamcast and Nintendo 64 prior to that, the PS2 port would be the last we'd ever see of the series. While not quite the return of the Ready 2 Rumble moniker, EA hopes to change the absence of arcade boxing games with wild mechanics by introducing FaceBreaker.
By the name alone, FaceBreaker already implies a game that'll deliver powerful smashes with every tap of a button. The early video of the game we've seen has shown to be most impressive, as boxers land punches that'd make late-80s/early-90s Mike Tyson envious. Simply based on this footage, the impacts are bone-crunching and look satisfying to connect.
"We're very excited to announce FaceBreaker, an all-new franchise from EA SPORTS that is fun, fresh and innovative," said Peter Moore, president, EA SPORTS. "FaceBreaker reinvigorates one of the great genres in sports videogames. Arcade boxing takes me back to my roots in this industry, and this game signals our shift to adding more approachable fun to our product lineup. In no time at all, you'll be picking up the controllers and knocking your opponent around the ring, smashing faces, and having a riot."
To go along with the theme of the game is a quirky cast of 16 boxers, all with their own unique personalities, backgrounds, fighting styles, statistics, and abilities. Due to the amount of unique characteristics between each character, no two boxers are alike. There are boxers like Molotov, a Russian demolitions expert; or Steve, an obese fighter who's created the fusion of kung-fu and boxing called Ninja-Boxing. The problem with a character like Steve is that he's never practiced either of those arts, he's only watched them in movies.
Already you have a taste of the hilarity and outrageousness that FaceBreaker is bound to offer. Combos will flow like water, and real-time side-effects of their impacts will result in facial deformation. If you're everyday haymakers or body blows don't shake the opponent down, feel free to use a super-punch to try to determine the round. And hey, to make matters worse, if you're pummeling away on your opponent, pummel away with one hand behind your back for even more humiliation.
You should know that if demolishing a cartoony face isn't cutting it for you, the game will allow the uploading of photos so that you can create your own game face and use it to represent yourself, or an opponent. You'll be able to save an altered boxer and share with friends online. Up to 30 can be downloaded into your game.
The game's visual style is highly reminiscent of Ready 2 Rumble, but with the proper next-gen touches added for a pleasing view. The animation set consists some highly outlandish strings of movement, and all we ask is that they aren't interrupted by a poor framerate. By the looks of it, EA seems to have the framerate ironed out. So far, so good.
Look for FaceBreaker to arrive early September 2008.
5/31/2008 Arnold Katayev