Facebreaker is one of those games that taught me not to judge a book by its cover. I thought that it would offer the same goofy gameplay found in titles like Ready To Rumble Boxing but unfortunately it turned out to be nothing more than a glorified game of rock, paper, scissors. This game definitely had a lot of potential, but sadly it all falls flat tanks to the tedious gameplay.
While Facebreaker is a fast paced game with good visuals and a wacky assortment of characters it has very little to do with boxing. This is surprising as it was created by the same people responsible for the rather good Fight Night series. The idea is to pick your favourite character or create one from the rather comprehensive character creator before taking to the ring. Your goal is to score three knockouts to win the match or one facebreaker, which will end it in style.
The problem is that in order to execute a facebreaker you need to land ten consecutive punches without one being blocked or dodged. This might sound very easy on paper, but in reality, it borders on the impossible. In fact, without exploiting the enemy A.I it is almost impossible to land any blows. Everything you throw at them is blocked or countered while they effortlessly lay into you. This is very frustrating to say the least and I doubt if most players will have the patience to persist against such unfair odds. Simply put, this game is no fun to play on your own. With practice, you will be able to pull off all kinds of bonebreakers, groundbreakers, skybreakers and of course facebreakers but more than likely the only thing that players will break is their gamepads.
With only two punch buttons as well as one to throw, gameplay mostly consists of button mashing. You can charge your punches by holding down the button, which also doubles as a counter, but most fights are still more about luck and exploiting enemy patters than any real skill. While I really cannot recommend this game, if you must own it stick to the multi-player to save yourself a lot of grief.
It is really a pity that this game falls so short of expectations as it could have been really good. The visuals are great, although the flesh flashing ring girl is rather cringe worthy. There is a good assortment of characters and arenas, but the game modes are rather lacking. The “Brawl for it All” mode is the closest thing to a campaign, but boneheaded choices like sending you back to a previous opponent if you lose three times in a row sucks all the fun out of it. You know a game is bad if you see some Arcade machines in the background of a level and wish you could play with them instead!
*Review originally published 2008.