Cort has some fantastic hands-on impressions of Punch-Out!! Wii from GDC, so I am turning over the ‘EoD’ section to him. I get to ramble on nonsensically all day…it’s nice to have something well-written posted up! I hope you guys enjoy his work. I’ll catch you all in a few, short hours.
Mere minutes after my infamous lunch, RMC and I trudged back to the GDC expo show floor to scope out the other half of Nintendo’s Wii showing, Punch Out!!. We’d only spent a few minutes ogling the game beforehand while waiting to play ExciteBots, and were ready to get our mitts on it. Up until seeing Nintendo’s booth, I’d been taking a hands-off approach to the game, having only spoiled my expectations with a couple screens awhile back, so it was pretty fresh to me. The NES version was always a nostalgic favourite of mine, even as far back as it having Mike Tyson’s name firmly attached.
The first thing anyone will notice is the visual style. Done in 3D but also cel-shaded, it really holds true to the 2D style of the original, but with a very modern spin, spit and polish. It looks fantastic, and the small details like model damage (bruises, bumps, missing teeth) add an extra layer to boot.
However, the thing that really struck me—as a Computer Animation major—was the brilliance of this game’s animation. The subtlety of characters’ movements is so nuanced that it borders on the surreal. I honestly couldn’t tell if it was superb motion capture, hand animated from scratch, or (likely) some enhanced combination of both approaches. Whatever it is, my mouth was literally dropped open and left drooling at how gorgeous this game is in motion; someone has definitely put some love into this game. Newcomer Disco Kid is a perfect example; not just his quasi dance/boxing moves, but also his facial expressions and animation. I think saying “OMG I love it marry me please” sums it up nicely.
As for the controls, they’re very easy to grasp, as well they should be if it can be done both motion- and NES-style. While a few people have spoken out against them, most everyone else generally accepts and enjoys the motion controls. Don’t call it “waggle”, because that implies gimmicky or tacked-on motion controls, which this game does NOT have. All of the motions make sense, aren’t overdone, and work very well. Shake the Wiimote to punch one hand, shake the nunchuk to punch the other. Press “A” for the star-powered uppercut, use the analogue stick to dodge L/R, down for ducking, or up for a high/face punch. That’s it. Pick up, play and have fun.
Check out the video below to see my very first moments with the game. Not too shabby (against the easiest opponent), the video ends just seconds before I clobber Glass Joe with a star punch for a fancy knockout and win.
I’m dying to get my hands on this game again. So for the record, I went from n00b to superfan in seconds; Punch Out!! really won me over. The demo menus were mostly locked up, so it’s hard to know just how much content the final game will be packing, and their official Fact Sheet for press doesn’t give anything away. I’m hoping if the retail price will be 50$ it has enough content to warrant the cash, but even still; it’s one game that will be in my collection sooner or later. —cortjezter
Trivia P.S.: Eagle-eyed GoNintendoers will notice 3 members of the IGN Nintendo Team wandering through the frame near the end of the video, at about 1:21.