Review by Simon Callahan II
This game makes me want to break some faces at EA.
I was hyped to see this game come out for a while. Some people had Too Human, others had Metal Gear Solid 4, I had Facebreaker. What a disappointment. The first two games mentioned get a lot of flack, but at least they're playable. Facebreaker is a mess of a boxing game that will give you the worst case of buyers (or in my case, renters) remorse since you bought those Sesame Street underoos for the "nostalgia" value.
So I don't get my blood pressure up too much to start with, I'll begin with the most enjoyable part of the game. The reason I'm betting most people bought it for. The face-maker mode. It's a create-a-character mode that has a lot of potential, but a lot of potential don't mean anything when nothing is done with it.
The system is kind of like a cross between Rainbow Six's create-a-player mode and Soul Calibur IV's create-a-fighter. You begin by choosing a photo of your self or someone you know (or even a celebrity) and uploading it to EA's website. Or you can do it the easy way and take pictures of yourself using the Xbox Live Vision camera. Using the tool, you place nodes on your picture in specific spots for eyes, nose, chin, cheeks, etc. The game uses the nodes you placed on your picture to create a 3D rendering of you. This actually works very well, much better than Rainbow Six's face capture camera.
The Soul Calibur similarities start here, but end soon after. Upon creating your face (which can take up to 20 minutes, depending on if you did a side view or not), you select a body and costume. Problem is, the bodies and costumes are very limited, and do nothing for the performance of your character other than making them look like a goon. All the character models you can put your head on are characters from the game. This is where this goes bad, but this ties into the gameplay.
Upon creating your monster...ahem...character, you can then fight. Heading into the ring, you choose a difficulty (which makes no difference) and a person to fight against (if you just chose "Fight" mode which is a quick match).
I'm going to take this opportunity to point out another one of this game's good efforts. It actually tries to inject some strategy into the proceedings by adding a rock-paper-scissors element. There's the normal "high punch, low punch, defense", and that's what you will be using for the most part. However, there are also three types of attacks. Weak attacks will stop a strong attack, strong attacks will break through defense, and defense will stop weak attacks. Unfortunately, due to the game's AI, this can make matches either very easy or near impossible. I will explain using two characters.
One character named Romeo is an example of being too easy. He has no AI other than "block high", so he ends up falling for the classic "gut punch" over and over again. However, on the other side of the coin, another character, a girl named Kiriko, does nothing but parry, making her impossible to beat. When the fight starts, she stands still as a statue. You can walk toward her, walk away from her, walk around her, and she will do nothing. She only does something when you try to punch her, and that's parry. Because of this, there is no possible way to beat her, because you can't throw up a block in time to stop her impeccably timed parry, and if you try to throw her she'll just counter that somehow.
There are a lot more complaints about this game, but it's not worth my time to complain about the annoying characters (the first boss, Steve, is the worst, as he's basically just a big "screw you" to fans of EA) or the earsplitting music (I like reggae and hip-hop as much as the next guy, this game has too much). You already know about the worst parts.
Product Release: FaceBreaker (US, 09/05/08)
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