Rumble Roses XX Review (Xbox 360)
My experience with console wrestling games only stretches back to the Nintendo 64. I spent countless nights with my buddies winning belts with the "Canadian Crippler" Chris Benoit, in WCW/NWO Revenge. Not long after, I found myself obsessed with WWF No Mercy, also on the Nintendo 64, a game widely considered as the best to ever grace a console. These two titles had it all: great graphics, a terrific wrestling engine and most importantly, an identity in the form of a faction license.
Any gaming company would be taking a huge risk releasing a game that falls under the sports genre but also lacks a license. However, if any of us have learned from the Winning Eleven soccer series, Konami has taken these risks and they've succeeded. That leads us to Rumble Roses XX for the Xbox 360. This isn't your usual wrestling title. Lacking a license, Konami hopes a solid wrestling engine, and....well, scantily clothed women will appeal to wrestling fans.
Make no mistake about it, Rumble Roses XX is visual next-gen eye candy at its finest, and I'm not just talking about the women. Each player model is well proportioned, and some of the best you'll find in any videogame to date. With no noticeable framerate drops, and realistic animations, the action in the ring flows seamlessly. A lot of work was put into the character models, and it really shows. The venues, however, are somewhat disappointing. Crowds look great, but with only 5 venues to choose from, I was hoping I'd be blown away with their level of detail like I was with the character models. Sadly, I wasn't. The ring is too small, and these ladies look too good for their environments. Another disappointment is the soundtrack. Nothing but terrible music you're likely to see these ladies dancing to while you're feeding them one dollar bills. It's quite clear from the outset what areas of the game Konami focused on, and the music definitely doesn't fall into the category.
Perhaps the biggest letdown in Rumble Roses XX is the lack of gameplay options. In the single player portion, you'll select your vixen and from there your choices become severely limited. You have your Locker Room, which is basically the main area to edit your character. Whether it be switching characters, changing your partner or loading a saved game, it's all accessible in the Locker Room. After you've convinced yourself that you're content with your character, it's time to step into the ring. Rumble Roses XX features several new gameplay modes, such as Tag matches, 3 and 4 way battles, Handicap matches, Street Fight, and Queen's Match. Sure, at first glance it might seem like a lot, but after spending a couple hours with the game, you realize that it just isn't enough.
The Queen's Match mode takes place on an Island Resort. The winner of the match forces their opponent to go through what is characterized as a penalty game. These penalties include being tickled by the winner, performing sexy poses, being dropped into a pool by the winner, and the list goes on and on. I know what you're thinking, penalties? This mode is a voyeur's dream. I imagine plenty of gamers will be playing this mode well into the early morning hours...with the lights off...and the door locked. You get my point. Depending on your social status with the ladies, this mode might be the most enjoyable. The Street Fight mode is basically a traditional mode found in any game classified as a fighter. The objective is to win two out of three rounds against your opponent, simply by depleting their health bar. It's nothing different that you've experienced in the Dead or Alive series, aside from the fact that these ladies show a little more skin. Ok, a lot more skin.
The biggest problem with the single player mode is that it's difficult to determine what it exactly is that you are supposed to do. Championship matches appear out of nowhere, but ultimately serve no purpose. You can raise your character's popularity meter, but all that does is enhance your entrance sequence, and upgrade your move set. The long list of achievements consists of becoming a singles champion with a character, and unlocking a specific character's entire costume. In the end, earning these achievements is likely the most challenging aspect to Rumble Roses XX.
The gameplay controls for Rumble Roses XX are rather simplistic, which make the game easier to pick up and play. Using a scheme relying on a grappling system, there's a vast variety of moves your vixen can pull off. Strikes, grabs, finishers and taunts can all be executed with the simple press of one button. The B button executes strikes, which are your slaps, punches and kicks. The Y button is your grapple button. For those unfamiliar with wrestling or fighting games, a grapple is basically a grab. Combining the Y button with a press of the directional pad will perform a different move depending on the direction you've pressed.
The most appealing move in any fighter or wrestling game is the Finisher. There's nothing more frustrating than having to combine 6 button presses in succession to execute a finishing move. In Rumble Roses XX, that's not a problem you have to worry about. As you inflict damage upon your opponent, you'll notice finishing move gauge filling up. Once the gauge fills, the counter next to it will increase by 1. This number indicates how many times you can execute a finishing move. Every character has two types of finishers, Lethal Moves and Killer Moves. Lethal Moves can only be executed in specific situations. Once your opponent is in a position that fulfills the conditions to execute Lethal Moves, press the left shoulder button. Killer Moves, on the other hand, can be performed under any condition as long as the finishing move counter is displaying a number. Once again, like the Lethal Moves, the left shoulder button executes Killer Moves.
Rumble Roses XX is Xbox Live compatible, allowing you to match up with other gamers around the world. The online functionality supports ranked and unranked matches, and the ability to download photos of the virtual vixens that have been uploaded to Xbox Live by other gamers. The ability to upload some of your photos from the offline portions is also an option. The wrestling online was just as smooth as the wrestling offline, with no noticeable lag in the dozen or so matches I had my butt handed to me.
Konami is on to something. Stunning character models, simplistic controls, and fluid gameplay usually result in a instant classic. However, the wrestling genre is, and always will be, dominated by a licensed product. Rumble Roses XX is a enjoyable pick up and play alternative to other wrestling titles, despite its fictional characters and lack of gameplay options. With all of the next gen titles that have released, the price point increase will always be a factor in my review. If we're paying more, we expect more. With that said, it's hard to recommend Rumble Roses XX wearing a $60 price tag. If you can find it on the cheap, I'd highly recommend it. If not, give it a rent. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.