52 Weeks of Canadian Gaming - Week 9
Release Date: November 11, 2008
Developer: EA Canada
ESRB Rating: Teen
Reviewed by: Brian Wray
It appears that each new write-up is getting shorter and shorter. At this pace, week 52 will be nothing more than an exclamation point. Well I have no intention of dropping my 52 Weeks of Canadian Gaming challenge, but out of the entire year, I knew there would be some weeks that it would be difficult to make my deadline and this is such a week. I have been working hard to complete renovations while getting ready to leave to Florida for some much deserved rest time. Luckily for me the game I choose for this hectic week was FaceBreaker.
FaceBreaker is an arcade style boxing game, by the same developers that brought is the amazing boxing simulation called Fight Night Round 3. FaceBreaker was EA answer to Ready to Rumble and Punch Out. But while Ready to Rumble and Punch Out are highly regarded in the gaming industry, FaceBreaker will not.
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As I previously mentioned in past write-ups, I like to start with the graphics. This is FaceBreaker area to shine. Each unique character looks amazing. The animation if fluid and fun to watch, for a short while at least. The game takes it's name in the capability to "break" opponents faces. As you lay a good beating on you adversary (actually more likely your adversary will lay a beating on you), the character face will deform slightly. This could be a cool feature if games lasted longer, but since matches are over in minutes, you do not get any time to enjoy this feature. The various boxing rings are nice, but the game should have shipped with at least 12 playable boxing rings out of the box.
I hope you enjoyed the good part of this write-up for everything else about FaceBreaker is not so nice. The game is supposed to be a boxing game, but this game has more in common with the Street Fighter series than the Final Round series. Each boxing match is 3 rounds maximum. In this time you must knock down your opponent at least 3 times (no need for 3 times in the same round). If you fail to do so, the game goes into sudden death were the next knock down wins the match. This does not sound so difficult, but when you consider that the AI is not even fair, then you could see a problem. Even while playing on the easiest level possible, I could only beat the most primitive of all combatants. Everyone kicked my behind in seconds.
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The problem is a two-fold. In the game you can punch, block, evade and perform through (even kick)., but the action goes so fast that trying to figure out which attack (high or low) to block becomes nothing more than a guessing game so it's simpler and more effective to just out-punch the adversary, a technique that worked great for the first opponent in the game, and only that person. Sure if you take on an opponent enough times, you will learn their weakness, but that is another problem with FaceBreaker, you do not care about the opponents. The reason for this lack if interest is caused by the characters in FaceBreaker and very forgettable for the most part. The only ones you will remember are the annoying ones. Do not expect any unique characters such as Bald Bull, Glass Joe or King Hippo.
I could go on for a few more paragraphs about the problems with this game, but as I indicated, I do not have much time for such luxuries. Take into consideration the fact that I spent most of the week playing Fable II instead of FaceBreaker and you should have your answer about how much I enjoyed this game (for those sarcastically deficient folks, I am saying I did not like this game one bit).