Now, I’d played ARMS twice with motion controls at various preview events and it was a great experience for 1v1 battles with the other person standing next to you, but as soon as I switched on the Global Testpunch this morning and burned through a few games, I knew that it was going to get tired very quickly.
ARMS is a very hectic experience (in a good way). Whilst the 1v1 battles are quite manageable, the second you step into a 1v1v1 or 2v2 or even volleyball battle, you’ll soon realise that the motion controls make the experience a much more clunky one.
The game puts a lot of emphasis on moving around, dashing and jumping for both offense and defence. You’ll need to move around frequently to dodge attacks and it’s also advised that you dash around to charge your ARMS. Unfortunately, it all becomes too much using motion controls. You must tilt the Joy-Con to move around but when you’re throwing punches, this can become challenging.
As soon as I slapped my set of Joy-Con back into the Nintendo Switch unit, ARMS felt like a completely different game. Movement instantly felt silky smooth and I could zip around the map using my analogue sticks and dash/jump with the designated face buttons. It felt like I was full in control of my character and able to employ a strategy. It didn’t feel like I was battling against the gyro technology in order succeed in battle.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The technology in the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con are incredible, and the motion controls do work. But to treat ARMS like a proper experience, I find the traditional controls to be the only way to play. It’d honestly be like playing Overwatch or Super Smash Brothers with motion controls. It’d be fun, but you wouldn’t be able to actually feel like you were fully in control of your character.
All-in-all, I felt much better about ARMS once I switched over. There’s already enough there in the online party mode to make me think that this game is actually going to have some serious legs (HA).
There’s seven characters in the Testpunch (10 when the game launches) and they’ve all got their own quirky personality and vary quite differently in movement. I had a great time scrolling through each character and trying to work out which would work best in each mode.
Lucky for you, there’s still a bunch of more sessions over the remainder of this weekend and next weekend. I’d advise you to try out the traditional controls and see how they feel for you. I loved the idea of ARMS whilst playing with the motion controls, but I felt the experience getting stale very quickly. Once I switched over to a controller, my mind was instantly changed and I can’t wait to jump back in later today.