Facebreaker is a boxing game for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 that has a lot of potential.

Facebreaker's graphics won't exactly knock your socks off but they're still pretty in a cartoony sort of way and the boxing is fast and furious; I have mild carpal tunnel from sitting in front of a computer all day and it definitely flared up after a few rounds with Facebreaker.

But as hard as I tried to like Facebreaker, I just couldn't get into it that much. There were some issues with the core gameplay that got in the way of my enjoyment.

Take Facebreaker's control scheme for example: it's simple yet ill-conceived. There's a button for high punch and low punch, a 'Haymaker' button, and a block button; movement is handled by the analogue stick.

It sounds pretty straight forward but it's a nightmare to use. For one, dodging and parrying-two highly important skills-require some tricky finger manipulation and button presses. In order to dodge a low punch, you have to hold the low punch button and let it go right before your opponent's low punch lands; to parry it, you have to do that plus hold down the block button.

But it's ridiculously hard to do because your opponent's blows come at a pretty furious rate. You're almost always guaranteed to take the first few punches of an opponent's attack which also sucks because it makes it nearly impossible to build up the meter that lets you pull off major moves such as Groundbreakers and Skybreakers. There's supposedly some ultimate Facebreaker move that lets you knock out your opponent with one blow but I never managed to get my meter built up high enough.

Also, call me paranoid but the computer A.I. cheats. I kept feeling like it was reading my moves and reacting with the perfect counter at various points in our matches; it's fine if it does that every now and again but it was pretty consistent in its perfection, which is always aggravating. Computer opponents also have a tendency to dance around the ring. They're constantly dashing around like hopped up squirrels, making it hard to engage in an actual fight unless you can get them up against the ropes.

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Facebreaker: Specs

  • Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3


I'd probably say that during my time with Facebreaker, I felt more frustration than enjoyment. Between the less than perfect controls, the cheap computer A.I. and lacklustre gameplay, I had a hard time settling into a groove. There were moments when I'd hit a nice rhythm and was able to beat the living crap out of my opponent for a few seconds but those were too few and far between. It's a passable arcade boxing simulation that probably has enough content to warrant a purchase if you're really into boxing games - both the online multiplayer and the character creation tools have potential - but I'd suggest you rent it first to make sure that its brand of fast-paced boxing action appeals to you.

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