|System: X360, PS3, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Canada||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA Sports||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 5, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
I would like to say that things like this don't happen all that often but they persist throughout every match you play. When the computer decides it wants to win, you basically have no chance. Every time you get close to a knockdown, a FaceBreaker, or become involved in a sudden death round, your opponent seems to kick into high gear. Whether it is countering everything you attempt or just pummeling you with virtually unstoppable combos and cheap dizzying moves, the A.I. doesn't mind destroying any and all hopes you have of winning. I have been involved in countless matches where I had four to five times more life than my opponent, just to have the A.I. decide that it didn't want me to win and then completely obliterated every attempt I made to finish the fight on my feet.
While anyone who has played through a few of the game's always frustrating fights likely won't mind, the game modes offered in FaceBreaker are rather anemic. Players are only given the option of participating in quick fights, Vs. matches, online bouts, the Couch Royale, and the Brawl for it All mode. Couch Royale is a somewhat interesting mode that has you participating in a tournament, collecting trophy heads from your fallen opponents. Online fights add longevity to the title, but players with slower connection speeds will likely find themselves at too great of a disadvantage to find them entertaining. The slower your connection is, the slower your button presses register, the less chance you have of actually winning a match. The Brawl for it All mode makes up much of the single-player experience, having the player trying to win several belts by fighting through tournaments comprised of the game's strange characters. Unfortunately, the absurd difficulty involved in doing so, even on the easiest setting, will likely keep most from grinding their way through the entirety of this mode.
The only real bright spots of this game come in the form of its visuals and its character creator. All of the game's ridiculous characters look great, in a cartoony way. They have quite a bit of charm and are rather humorous to both look at and listen to. Successfully landed punches during fights will add bruises and welts to characters' faces, leaving most looking horribly disfigured by fight's end. Players can also create their own caricatures, either through the game's fairly decent creation options or by importing pictures using the PlayStation Eye or Xbox LIVE Vision camera. You can also upload the characters you've created and even download other people's creations. There are already some great characters available for download including Borat, George Bush, and Heath Ledger's Joker.
The real crime of FaceBreaker is that its gameplay is so bad and the A.I. is so cheap that the game's excellent create-a-player feature can't really be enjoyed. Who cares how many cool characters are available in a game that is insanely frustrating to play? While FaceBreaker initially looked promising and its player creation and graphics are great, in the end the game itself is absolutely no fun to play. This is incredibly unfortunate, leaving only the hopes of a sequel with completely reworked gameplay.
CCC Staff Contributor