NEW YORK — While at the New York Comic Con, I spent some time with Atari playing their first entry in the Ready 2 Rumble series, Ready 2 Rumble: Revolution. The previous entries in the series were Midway properties, but Atari is distributing this AKI developed title this March.
The characters in this game are based off of real-life celebrities, though Atari was mum about just who everyone was meant to represent. Some of them are pretty easy to figure out, as you will see in the screenshots, while others may take you a little time. The classic characters you know from the series are not making an appearance, but thankfully the gameplay, from my hands-on time with it, seems solid.
The punching is motion controlled with both the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk. Unlike the boxing mode in Wii Sports, where you need to aim at different areas (punch low to punch low, punch high to punch high, etc.), Ready 2 Rumble allows you to press a button in order to switch to lower punches or power punches. This helps you maintain the feel of actually boxing with the controllers, but also makes sure that your punches are more accurate.
I played a lot of boxing on Wii Sports, putting up with the inconsistency in the control scheme, so this was a welcome change of pace. Because of this system, the controls are easy to pick up, but the fighting is deceptively deep as well. You can punch high and low as stated, but there are also different strength for your punches and combinations. In addition, you have a meter at the top of the screen, your “Rumble” meter, and when it fills up you are essentially unstoppable.
The Rumble meter can be knocked back down before they utilize it by stringing together a few punches. If they do happen to succeed in filling the meter, the only way to avoid taking a beating is to dodge their incoming attacks until the effects of Rumble wear off.
There are also multiple camera angles; you can either view the fight from a side view where both players are visible (this is required in multiplayer, so you can both see what’s happening) but there is also a Punch-Out!! Style camera, which I preferred to use during my single-player time. It made things a little easier as far as choosing a direction to dodge or punch went, which helped the rhythm of the punches and combos.
In addition to the single-player and multiplayer modes, there are also mini-games which are meant to act as training for you. This was much like in Wii Sports boxing, when you had a trainer holding pads that you needed to punch in a certain order, or speed punching, but the difference is that the controls are much more responsive, and if you hit the wrong pad or your trainer, it was your own doing and not faulty motion. I played these after I spent time playing in actual fights, but I feel like if I had done these first, I probably would have performed better in the matches.
One thing I want to mention as well: this game looks better in motion than it does in screenshots. The earliest screens released for this game made it look like AKI was not spending any time crafting a charming looking product, but after seeing the game in action, I can say that this is not the case.
Ready 2 Rumble: Revolution looks like it’s shaping up to be a worthwhile entry in the series, and one fans of the original Midway titles can get behind. Atari is making it easier for you to afford the game as well: if you preorder the game at Wal-Mart, Gamestop or on Amazon.com, you will get $10 off of the price of the game. We’ll have more information on the game as Atari releases it, and after the game releases we will also have a review ready for you.