Upon initially hearing that the title Hajime no Ippo would grace U.S. retail shelves as Victorious Boxers Revolution, we were quite excited. Then, some critics reviewed it and we were worried the game wouldn't be worth our trouble. So, upon receiving this nice little review package from XSEED, we jumped right into the game.
And you know what? It's actually quite good.
The game stars one Ippo Makunouchi, a fresh fish at the Kamogawa Boxing Gym. The owner is quite upset because he hasn't had a grand champion since opening the gym twenty years ago. Then, Ippo arrives and hope is revitalized. Ippo is your general Rocky clone, a kid who was doubted his whole life and bullied around, but has the heart and natural talent to make something of himself. But, you're not going to play this for the story.
No, what's most important here is the controls. And, there are plenty of control schemes to choose from. Swing Mode 1 has the player using both the nunchuk and Wiimote to not only throw punches and to bob and weave, but to also move their boxer around the ring. It's the worst of the control schemes, in our humble opinion, as most of the time Ippo will perform actions you did not intend for him to do or he will move just out of reach for your punches to land on your opponent. Swing Mode 2, which is our favorite, uses the nunchuk's control stick to move Ippo around, allowing you to punch with the nunchuk and Wiimote, but without all of the accidental darting around the ring. In Swing Mode 2, the game is a downright blast to play.
Then you have Pointer Mode 1, which will prompt you on-screen with small targets, tasking you with using the Wiimote as a pointer. In this mode, you still move as in Swing Mode 1, so it's quite difficult to use effectively. The better version, Pointer Mode 2, allows you to use the nunchuk's control stick to move Ippo around, with the remainder of the controls in Pointer Mode 1 being open for use.
Finally, you can also engage in Classic Controller or GameCube Controller modes, which allow you to use either. Here, the game works the same as just about any other boxing game you've played, so those of you familiar with the genre can really just pick up and play without worrying about the complicated business of motion-based controls.
Once you have the controls down, doing well in the game comes fairly easy, but due to the stylish presentation and good camera work, the act of pummeling CPU opponents is one that you can take pride in. Or, you can get a friend over and head into Sparring for a better bout than one could have in Wii Sports: Boxing.
The game's graphics use a type of cel-shading that really makes it pop. The in-game animations during boxing matches, especially the knockdown sequences, look particularly good. The game manages to present the conflict in an unrealistic way, but not so over-the-top that it totally pulls you out of the match.
Victorious Boxers Revolution is a really fun game and reminds us heavily of Super Punch-Out!!! on the SNES. The game has a nice flow to it and we genuinely had fun throughout. The only issue we really had with it was the interpretation of input on the motion-based control schemes. Sometimes we would throw the incorrect punch or just stand there and take a beating when we thought we were doing the right movements. Even going through the game's long tutorial process didn't seem to help us at points. But, overall, the game is great and recommended for all boxing fans.
Final Score: 8.5/10