E3 2008: FaceBreaker Hands-On Preview

A few weeks ago EA announced a new boxing game titled FaceBreaker. Seemingly made from the mold of the popular (and unfortunately defunct) Ready 2 Rumble series, FaceBreaker featured cartoon graphics, intense and quick fights, quirky characters, and unorthodox attacks galore.

But how’s it play?

In short, it plays fantastically. The game is the perfect blend of simple and complex. I know most of you are curious about how the Wii version plays, but I tried the PS3 build (it was open and I saw Jen Riley sitting there, so I wanted to try it out). On the PS3, the combat is very simple and uses mostly the left analog and the face buttons. X is a low punch, square is high punch, circle throws your opponent, and triangle activates your special attacks and facebreaker maneuver.

Rather than place an emphasis on blocking or weaving like Fight Night and other realistic boxing games, FaceBreaker puts the emphasis on guessing your opponents move in a violent game of rock, paper, scissors. By holding the high or low punch buttons, your boxer performs two actions: charge up an attack, and dodge. If you’re holding the high punch button and someone hits you with a high punch, your boxer will dodge and you can unleash a vicious counter; vice versa for low punch. Since there’s only two types of punches, what results is a constant mix of dodging and hitting. Even if you try to alternate between the two attacks, it’s easy for an opponent to dodge a strike and move on the offensive.

Landing numerous consecutive blows is integral to winning in FaceBreaker. By hitting your opponent without being hit, you build a meter on the corner of the screen. As this meter fills (four separate levels) you perform varying attacks by pressing triangle. The first levels result in special two-hit combos such as launching your opponent into the air, and if you fill your meter up you perform your facebreaker attack which, if landed successfully, is an instant KO.


FaceBreaker Steve


During our time playing the game, Jen used a character known as Steve while I preferred the crazy looking Socks. Steve is an older, overweight white guy who’s convinced he knows kung-fu and martial arts from watching martial arts movies, while Socks is a lunatic who fights with socks on his hands which he believes are controlling him.

Along with unique facebreakers, each character also has a unique stun maneuver. In Steve’s case, he teleports out of sight and attacks the opponent; Socks shocks his with electricity a la the Emperor.

While FaceBreaker might not be the most realistic boxing title coming out, it’s certainly fun. I had never played the game before, and I managed to beat Jen my second try. The game is accessible for veteran and new gamers, and if early signs are any indication, it’s definitely a game to watch out for and should instantly give EA’s new Freestyle brand a flagship series to build upon.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.