onan's Rumble Roses XX (Xbox 360) review

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  • onan has written a total of 2 reviews. The last one was for Halo 4

RRXX - A lot of love but little thought.

Let's get this out of the way: Rumble Roses XX is a strange beast. As soon as you get into a match, you realize just how much dedication went into capturing animations and tweaking 3D models so they'd come out just right, however that wears off soon after the match ends as you take a look around and realize there is no metagame.

Even though you're given the trappings of what should be a career mode with wrestler popularity and ultimately a shot at the title belt, you get no feedback. There is zero indication you're actually doing anything. There are no cutscenes other than wrestler entrances, yet tag team matches and random outbursts during loading screens indicate that there is some sort of story waiting in the wings to be told, however if you haven't played the original Rumble Roses, you'll be at a loss. Rumble Roses XX is one of those titles that is almost completely inscrutable if the player isn't sitting next to a FAQ (and God help them if they bought it the day it came out like I did). Even after understanding the systems involved and internalizing them, you may still need a checklist if you're interested in making any sort of progress.

For example, for a shot at the title belt, You need to win 15 matches, 9 of them must be against each of the default characters, with battle royale, tag, and handicap matches not counting toward that goal. Now, none of that is documented anywhere within the game or the manual. Nor is it tracked anywhere visible within the game itself. Conceivably a player could do nothing but play random matches for about 8 hours and never be presented with a title shot. When finally an opportunity called "Champ!" shows up in a spinning ring of stars over the Arena location, when tackling the game without help you're left wondering just what triggered that, plus potentially reeling in terror that, based on the achievements, you're going to have to do that another 19 more times.

There's some good news and bad news. Good news first: It doesn't actually take 8 hours per character for a shot at the belt. The bad news: For achievement hunters, it may take much, much longer than that. The "Swimsuit Complete" and "Shop Complete" achievements require you to not only raise hundreds of thousands of RR (currency) for the Roses and their alter egos (20 characters), in a mindblowing display of either evil or carelessness, 350 gamerscore is locked behind the fact that you need to create every single potential create-a-wrestler the game allows you to make -- 30 slots in all -- and raise that money for them as well. For whatever reason, from an achievement standpoint the focus of the game is literally shifted from the 10 characters and their alter egos that the developers put all of their time and money into designing and animating into 30 generic characters. I can't believe that was intentional. Then again, I can't believe no one thought displaying your progress toward the title bout was important, either. It's like 110% of the effort behind this game in the time allotted to it was spent making it prettier, with just the barest of sinewy connective tissue making sure the title wasn't functionally broken so it could pass testing.

Whee! I'm flying!

I have a few other nits to pick, but ultimately they don't really take away any more from the package than what's already missing. There are issues with animation during some of the wrestler entrances, specifically whenever a character is required to leap, it looks like the animators took a lunch break after dragging the model across a believable arc in the air and having them land with no landing animation at all. Some submission animations take place a good 6-12" off of the mat. One location, "Red Valley", is almost impossible to play on, since the bloom lighting is so completely overdone that you can barely tell what's going on, and most of the entrances are completely blown out. There is no autosave, and the requirements of consecutive wins pretty much requires a player to go to the locker room and save the game after each match. The locker room requires loading up a 3D locker room and your character model, though, adding unnecessary load times. You also need to load multiple models to even see who is fighting at a given location, or what type of match is available. If you're focusing on getting the tag team belt, for example, prepare to needlessly load up 3 locations before finding the one tag team match available, or not finding anything at all, having to quit to the title, and reload your save (of course, after loading the locker room to save so as not to lose your progress). Installing the game to the hard drive shortens the load times considerably, but they still exist and developer Yuke's seems to have placed zero effort into avoiding them. It's pretty indicative of the care they put into the end-user experience in general, truth be told.

Ultimately, Rumble Roses XX is not a good game. The wrestling is somewhat fun, but the lack of presentation, while not technically game-breaking, does its very best to make you regret playing it. Like all of the painstakingly-modeled Roses within, this game showed up to the party looking radiant, but once the conversation got going you realized she had nothing to say, and everything she did blurt out was nonsensical and vapid. That being the case, I can't recommend this game to anyone but those with the worst cases of OCD, or fans of the sister-from-another-mother titles in the Dead or Alive Xtreme franchise. Anyone else who values their time should keep their distance.

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