(EA for Xbox 360)
By Mike Delano
Facebreaker goes wrong on so many levels that it seems more productive to talk about what it could’ve been than what it actually is. A light, downloadable diversion on Xbox Live Arcade or Playstation Network as a “Celebrity Deathmatch”-style boxing game with celebrity likenesses mauling each other with personalized, over-the-top attacks (Britney Spears’ babies, Amy Winehouse’s, um, lungs… work with me here, people)? Or a budget-priced Wii waggle-fest? Something other than what it ended up as, which is a game with a serious identity crisis. It takes a casual, pick-up-and-go approach to the boxing controls, but the difficulty level, even on the easiest setting, brutally punishes beginners. No amount of practice can erase the crushingly boring button-mash gameplay, though, and there’s no sense of progression or achievement in the limited single-player game modes, save for the occasional fluke victories. The cartoony design of the boxers and comic book presentation is distinctive and attractive, but the concepts for the characters are straight out of the WWE reject pile, and their lame boasts and taunts rob the game of any charm. The create-a-boxer mode is impressively deep and tons of user-created characters are available for download (Borat vs. Dr. Phil!), but no amount of bells and whistles make the game fun to play.