When Rumble Roses first appeared on the PS2 two years ago it was met with mixed reviews. Some gamers clamored to the fact that it was a simplified wrestling game lacking the depth of say the Smackdown series; others saw it for exactly what it was; an excuse to parade around half-naked women and have them grope each other in inappropriate manners. Konami has never been shy about what the RR series is all about and the 360 version is certainly no different. Whether you are tickling your opponent with a giant hand or simply wrapping your legs around them in a maid costume while they moan in pain this game is certainly not just about the wrestling.
The biggest upgrade you will notice from the previous incarnation are the visuals. The Xbox 360 has given Konami the ability to craft some absolutely gorgeous character models. Hair flows realistically, the animations are smooth and flow well, and everything has a nice layer of bump mapping goodness to clearly define all of the girls’..ahem assets. There are a few clipping issues here and there such as heads going through ropes and legs disappearing into each other, but it is certainly no worse than any other game of this type. There is certainly a small amount of satisfaction any red-blooded man will get by watching these ladies pound each other into submission, especially in all its HD glory.
As far as the actual game play is concerned Rumble Roses is certainly not a broken game, in fact the actual system itself is very functional and works extremely well. The only complaint is the lack of moves that you can perform. You have two general attacks, strike and grapple, and by pressing different directions on the d-pad you can perform variations of either. There are also certain moves you can perform when an opponent is either laying on the canvas or stunned. Now while the possibilities of all the moves certainly seem like a lot, they really do pale in comparison to some of the more mainstream grapplers.
There are also several special moves each lady can perform when she builds up a special meter. The first is called a Killer Move, which is basically like a finishing move you would likely see on Smackdown. The second is called a Lethal Move which is more catered towards whichever lady you happen to be controlling, for instance Anesthesia will pull out a set of paddles and give her opponent a charge, very cool stuff. The third and final move is called an H-Move, which stands for humiliation. Basically if you perform enough moves to fill your opponent’s humiliation meter she goes into this mode, and then once you have your special bar filled you can perform it by simply tapping the left trigger. These are very similar to Killer Moves but much more powerful.
The only downside to these moves is that it is far too easy to perform them, once the meter is full it is simply a matter of tapping the left bumper or trigger for an almost instant victory every time. This leads the single player into a tedium of smack, stun, grapple, repeat until your meter is full, then unleashing the move and pinning your opponent. It would have been nice to see Konami make the moves a tad harder to pull off, or even make them motion or position sensitive because as it is they feel extremely cheap.
The single player portion of RRXX also feels a bit tacked on. You begin the game choosing a character and then are thrown into a poorly designed map that you navigate to obtain challenges. To begin with the map is very hard to comprehend at first, do you want to head to an Exhibition match, the Arena, or into the Locker Room? Thankfully there is a small tutorial, but it really fails to help you with anything outside of actual moves. For most gamers the goal will be to win the title and of course unlock all of the extra goodies the game has to offer such as costumes and of course more ways to humiliate your opponent in the Queen’s Match. Unfortunately Rumble Roses doesn’t make it easy, from what I can tell there is no set way to get a title match, the best strategy I have found is to fight each girl once and attempt at least one Street Fight before the match will appear. I had even won the title with one character and then fought them while they had the belt for a non-title match three times before getting a shot. It certainly is an enigma, which sucks because the main goal is certainly the collection aspect. You can also now edit and even create your own characters via the games customization menu. It does have a few nice features such as muscle tone and body size, but as far as depth goes it really doesn’t deliver enough to make it anything more than a nice distraction.
As you progress through matches you will earn stat upgrades, money, and of course popularity that your avatar will retain even after you switch characters. The money can be used to purchase costumes, artwork, and even new poses for the photo mode. Collecting every single item for every single girl will certainly take a long time so be prepared for hours upon hours of tedious grappling if you plan to unlock it all. Thankfully RRXX does offer a few different modes to keep you entertained through it all. There are of course the standard matches along with the newly added tag team events plus you can also have handicap and three and four way matches. There are also two new types of special matches in XX, the first is simply called a Street Fight. Basically this is a fighting game with wrestling moves that plays sort of like a dumbed down Tekken. It is very simple and only serves as a small distraction to the main course.
The second, and probably most entertaining, is called the Queen’s Match. This is probably one of the most bizarre yet intriguing match styles I have seen in all of my years of gaming. This match takes place on an island resort; before the event begins you choose what the loser must do when they are finally pinned. These activities range from things like doing the limbo to rubbing oil on the winners back, yes they can be a bit out of the ordinary. The best part is you can now take all of these match types online and show your skills to the world, of course being tickled by a ten year old in Dallas is certainly going to do wonders on your self-esteem so consider yourself warned. You can also take photos and share them online with friends, which while a nice feature is certainly only for a few select individuals really into photography.
In the end Rumble Roses XX does exactly what it set out to do, deliver a healthy amount of T and A with wrestling action thrown in as the means of reaching it. The graphics are superb and the online is smooth, but for gamers looking for deep engaging experience you will be disappointed. While the addition of more modes, customization options, and of course moves would have made the game a little more respectable, it would really take away from the true meaning of playing Rumble Roses, and that is simply enjoying watching hot women beat the crap out of each other while wearing minimal clothing, and I think that is something we all need now and again.