By just glancing at the cover of Konami and Yuke’s Media Creations’ latest title, Rumble Roses XX, you can muster assumptions that the game is solely intended to pander to the perverted male demographic. However, to write this title off just because the characters show skin would allow you to miss out on a great wrestling title.
The Rumble Roses series has never been able to escape the stigmatization that often envelopes games that carry more than the normal amount of skin. It is true that RRXX does feature scantily clad women; some in wrestling attire, some wearing lingerie, swimsuits, and even bondage outfits. None of which are suitable for children. The game does carry a Mature (17+) rating, and it is clear what you can expect from the game right on the cover. You know what you’re going into and if you’re not mature enough to handle a few women in their skivvies, then it’s best that you find an alternative to RRXX. However, if you don’t mind staring at the female body for hours, you will be pleased to know that despite the abundance of sexual themes and scantily clad women, the game remains focused on the core of Rumble Roses XX, the wrestling gameplay.
There’s certainly no lack of wrestling titles on the market, but these said titles all lack a definite female wrestling experience. In the past, gamers were unable to play as a female wrestler and enter the career mode of some WWE titles. The focus of these games is primarily on the male wrestlers, usually only presenting the women as “managers” or “entourages”. Female Wrestling organizations like WOW (Women of Wrestling) and WxW (Women’s Extreme wrestling) have yet to set foot into gaming. It’s disappointing that we’ve never been given a true female wrestling experience, but thanks to Konami and Yuke’s, our prayers have been answered.
The core of the package is Yuke’s very refined wrestling engine. Those familiar with the engine in the Smackdown titles will feel at home. The grapple system works very well and showcases Rumble Rosesâ€™ excellent animation. Each brawler has her own unique style that is represented with varied grappling and attack animations. A character like Reiko Hinomoto will lock hands for a test of strength when grappling, while Dixie Clemets snatches the opponent by their hair. This subtle difference changes the experience for the better, instead of the mechanical grapple system usually associated with wrestling games. Everything fits the 360 controller, as it should, along with the reversal system that is now split into 2 (strikes and throws), working to add an extra bit of difficulty to changing the moment of a match.
You are presented with a world map that works as a main menu and features the base of the Career mode. By selecting one of the locations (Arena, Island Resort, Street, Red Valley, Skyscraper) you will be given a random match (Singles, Humiliation Match, Tag, Handicap, 3 Way, 4 Way, Street Fight, and Queen’s Match) and compete for popularity in order to eventually be given a title match with the champion. On the road to the championship you unlock new costumes for the Roses using the tips from the shop. For each wrestler there are over 20 costumes you can unlock, which can actually make achieving unlocking an extremely tedious task. Beyond the costumes, there are of course heel/face versions of each wrestler to unlock and bonus characters like Lady X Substance and Lady X Subsistence. If you plan on unlocking everything just make sure to stock up on food and beverages as you will be there for a very long time. Thankfully, each wrestler unlocks a “Superstar” version of themselves along the way that upgrades their costume, entrance, and moveset. At this point, we’re not even scratching the surface of the unlockable depth within Rumble Roses XX.
Also on the world map is the Locker Room, a robust set of features await you here. Within the Locker Room, you can change your character or partner as well as access both the Edit Wrestler and Create-A-Wrestler features. From here you can mess with all of the costumes you have already unlocked for each wrestler. Having played many wrestling games, even on earlier consoles, we have become accustomed to an overwhelming assortment of options at our disposal. Unfortunately, this is one item that Rumble Roses XX lacks. While the feature does allow you to tamper with a select few costumes, hair styles, hair colors, muscle detail, body proportions, and more, it does not allow you to modify individual moves on your move list; only select from the preset move lists. The CAW features within wrestling games draw in a lot of replay value, and while in this case it is missing some crucial elements, it is still serviceable.
There are features that do pander to the young male audience, such as the Photo Shoot mode. Once unlocked, it allows you to take up to 2 wrestlers and set them up in any location doing a number of poses for you to take photos of them. These photos you can save and upload online to share with friends. It works much like the Burnout Revenge Replay Download feature. While it would have been nice to have the ability to share photos taken during the matches, you have to appreciate the execution of such a feature. Community interaction, even if it is sharing photos, is a welcome addition to Xbox Live.
Online play for RRXX works very well if you are able to find an opponent online. It appears the game is more popular in Japan than any other region so be prepared to find 0 matches available or a couple with foreign opponents. Having only played about 15 online matches, I spent maybe 70% of those matches against a Japanese player. Itâ€™s not too big of an issue considering the online play does work very well with minimal lag. The game is just lacking a large community of online players, which it deserves.
Thereâ€™s no doubt the Roses look fantastic. Each character model is meticulously detailed right down to the veins on their chest. The entrances and cutscenes will ensure you notice this too. The locations donâ€™t carry the same quality as the wrestlers. Each location has its own unique lighting; some locations get far too bright, occasionally causing the wrestlers to look slightly blurry or less detailed. This is only a minor nuisance though, as each Rose still looks phenomenal whether they are under the night sky, the bright sun, or the spotlights inside the arena. It appears as though some of the crowd is smeared out during the entrance videos also. The animation is superb as I mentioned above, feeling very fluid without too much clipping.
The entire roster of Roses comes complete with a variety of one-liners and fitting comments that are spoken during matches, which is not common within the genre. The dialogue allows us to better understand these wrestlers and that is key for a title without a story mode. The background music is a mixture of both Hard Rock and Hip-Hop that at times does fit the action within the ring. Overall, the theme music for each rose works very well to their specific personality.
Xbox 360 gamers looking for an excellent wrestling title should look no further than Rumble Roses XX. Yukeâ€™s have delivered a solid sequel to the PS2 Roses. Due to the tight wrestling engine that is bolstered by hundreds of unlockables and online play, I have to say this one has some considerable replay value.
Final Score: 8 out of 10 - Good (how do we rank games?)