Lahftel takes a closer look at Epic's latest Battle Royale offering; Rumbleverse.
Rumbleverse released on August 11 and.. well its fun? Not sure what else I should tell you about a new Battle Royale game that does things just different enough to be a lot more entertaining than the rest!
The lights go bright! Career's gonna be made! Legends are going to be created! Some of you might've spied Rumbleverse and put it off as just another Battle Royale title with a funny gimmick strapped to it. Which is fair, we've kinda passed the age of the Battle Royale boom and the genre is still dominated by the same big players it was dominated by just a few years back. So why try another one? Because Rumbleverse is quite fun and deliciously simple.
Welcome to Grapplemania!
Now imagine a Battle Royale but you take the guns away. What comes to mind now is the discontinued Bleeding Edge by Ninja Theory and the still popular Naraka: Bladepoint. But Rumbleverse wears its inspirations boldly on its sleeve and honestly I love it a lot for it. Because instead of drawing inspirations from Samurais and Ninja's or cool action movies, Rumbleverse plays almost like a love letter to professional wrestling and fighting games as a whole.
So if I had to go out on a limb here and give you the elevator pitch for it, it would go something like this: “So imagine Gang Beasts as a Battle Royale with special moves.” And that still wouldn't do it proper justice. Combat is fast paced and precise while also being sloppy enough to require a little more than just spamming abilities. And you are dropped with 39 other players in a lovingly created map that you can either try to conquer solo or by teaming up with someone. And while the game has only launched a few days ago, it is already some of the most fun I had in a multiplayer title this year.
Probably because of easy it is to just laugh at the game and pop off for pulling off some insanity. But we'll get into that. Just know that Rumbleverse is by Iron Galaxy who are probably best known for their work on the recent Killer Instinct reboot and best fighting game ever, Dive Kick. So you can trust that they know their stuff and its free on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.
From Outta Nowhere!
As someone who adores both fighting games and professional wrestling, it was very easy for me to fall in love with Rumbleverse. Especially after I got to perform a Shoryuken on two guys fighting over a piece of chicken. But I should probably lay out the meat and potatoes of Rumbleverse so you understand what's actually going on here.
A typical round usually starts on a boat on which you can warm up and beat the hell out of other players. Currently a match consists out of 40 people in total which can be matched into 20 teams who'll fight for glory in Grapital City. When you get into a round you have only a few tools to defend yourself with. A standard bunch combo that can be shortened into a launcher by pressing the grapple button/key after a point in the combination. You also have the grapple which you can use to reposition yourself an the enemy, a jump, a block and a dash.
Doesn't sound like much but all of these abilities can be combined. So you dash and jump for a long jump. Jumping twice in a row will make you jump higher. You can climb almost every building, you can also jump off every building and perform a ground smashing elbow drop the Macho Man Randy Savage would be proud of. Or you can sprint at somebody only to introduce them to the heels of your feet via dropkick. You can also grab items and either use them to smash them over someone's head, toss them and use them. This can range from solid steel chairs in various durability's to street signs and post boxes.
Consumables & Manuals
Oh and there are also all kinds of boxes littered around the city, filled with all kinds of goodies. Be it the aforementioned weapons, consumables like chicken in varying sizes to heal you up or energy drinks that regenerate stamina. You can also store up to four of those. More importantly however are the colorful tubs of.. definitely steroids which you can use to skill your character. Each consumed will either raise health, damage or stamina by 10%, but you can only consume a limited amount of them per round to chose wisely what kind of build you're going for.
Another item you'll find are instruction manuals that'll allow you to slot in one of the various super moves in the game. You can learn two of them at the same time and overwrite them as you please. Those super moves also come in three tiers, from mildly devastating to and I'm quote the immortal Jim Ross here, “BAWH GAWD! HE BROKE HIM IN HALF!” Those moves can be anything from Honda's Hundred Hand Slap to Stone Cold Steve Austin's Stunner. All those moves have varying movement, damage and effects that you have to master.
Not only is using those moves pretty fun, but the game really starts to get interesting once you learn how to properly set them up and bait your opponents into a grab or jump out of their. So all those hours I spend playing Zangief and Alex in Street Fighter V were not wasted after all.
So pair all of this with a huge map with varied locals, which an insane verticality in which you can scale buildings like the mighty hulk. Loot boxes you can toss and people and drops you can chokeslam someone off of. Rumbleverse creates this kind of organic chaos the moment two players clash and it is beautiful. Especially since the Battle Royale ring that'll just count you out. Which you can also play with, because with every section the ring shrinks down to, you get a total count of 10 until you get knocked out. Which can be pretty useful for some daring plays.
Its really the variety of moves, paired with a very simple yet complex enough combat system that really makes Rumbleverse shine. Especially with the Chaos a sandbox with 40 players fighting for victory can invite. And if Iron Galaxy can keep it up by.. lets say adding a trio option and a map or two more. I can see Rumbleverse actually being more than just a beautiful flash in the pan.
The only issue I have with the title so far is the netcode. Sometimes it can feel a little too rubber bandy and is just kinda inconsistent when it comes to making inputs. Especially when you have moves that cancel each other out if used within a certain timeframe or another, or when you try to jump over an attack. Not that it happens all the time, but me and a few friends have noticed it. And I have no idea if that is just because this is the launch weekend and the servers are just packed with people or if this is just my internet being weird sometimes.
Besides that, feel some people might not like the game, because there is the distinct lack of a lock on feature. Which feels weird at first, but I've also noticed that there actually is a soft lock on for something like dropkick and some of the moves have pretty generous hitboxes. At first all of this will feel really sloppy, but this also decreases the chance of just being chain grabbed and pummelled to death. And controls being simple while the combat is kind of messy keeps the skill ceiling somewhat even. In my few rounds of playing, I haven't encountered a player that just completely dominated a match.
So playing Rumbleverse the a good mix of knowing what you're doing and trying to make the best out of a difficult situation. The character customization options are varied enough but since there is no battlepass yet, earning them feels rather slow. And as typical for a free to play title, the items you can buy for your character seem a little expansive. But pretty much play within the ballpark all the other big free to play Battle Royale's are in, so what do I know?
If it isn't obvious by now, I adore Rumbleverse. I'm not sure how long it'll take until I'll eventually burn out on it if there is no constant stream of content or events to shake things up a little. But so far the free to play title is really solid with only some minor annoyances with the Netcode. And it is pretty fun to team up with someone and plot some darstly set ups. Did you know that you can use some of the super moves in the air? Did you know that you can Superkick someone into the sky only to take them for a Last Ride? Well, you know now. Go try it.
Currently the game has all the potential in the world and honestly I would like to see a more wacky Battle Royale be in the limelight for a little an grow a dedicated audience. The team behind it definitely knows what they're doing and I'm pretty confident that it they can deliver a constant stream of content. Rumbleverse might not be the next Fortnite. But it will be at least the Fighting Game Communities favourite Battle Royale and that counts for something right? Like I mentioned before Rumbleverse is free to play on the Epic Game Store and both Xbox and PlayStation platforms.
That's all I have to say for now. If you want to stay updated on Rumbleverse, other new titles and your favourite esports, visit us here at ESTNN.
Feature Image: Epic Games