One «

One

When I first heard someone was working on a 3D fighting game for the N-Gage, my first thought was, “Yeah, good luck.” It turns out no luck was needed, because ONE turned out to be a very decent brawler that possesses graphics that surpass anything I thought was possible.

Smell my knee now, cuz it’s gonna end up somewhere stinky soon!

The game’s graphics aren’t the only thing it has going for itself, but I’d be doing them a disservice if they weren’t the first thing I talked about. The models are amazing — they’re large, detailed, and possess a whole lot of motion-captured animations. The levels are even more impressive; they feature 14 real-world locations, complete with background and ambient objects. Sure, the framerate isn’t perfect, but I’m not going to harp about that when things look so good.

Before you do anything in ONE, you must play Frankestein and make your fighter. The appearance options are diverse, with gender, skin color, and face being just the intro choices to make. There’s a host of tops, pants, boots, and accessories to outfit your bruiser-to-be with, and a wide color palette to further differentiate your gladiator. It’s strange not having a static fighter list, but since everyone pretty much has the same moves, you’ll quickly get over it.

That’s not to say the move list is tiny, however. In fact, it’s far from it. ONE attends the Bushido Blade school of thought, with three different fighting stances. Each one has its own weaknesses, strengths, and move set. Defensive stance is better for blocking — obviously — but also excels at grappling. Offensive position has zero actual blocks (thank goodness for dodging), but packs a much faster and more powerful punch. For those who can’t pick whether to attack or defend, there’s also neutral.

…and this one’s for your generic name, “Mac.”

Story mode entails your fighter on a journey for fame that will take him or her to a variety of locales. With a bad attitude, it won’t be hard to find plenty of opposition. While earning the respect of your foes, you’ll also build up ELO — which incrementally increases your rank. It’s not like leveling-up in an RPG, because it doesn’t actually affect your abilities, but it’s nice for bragging rights. It also goes down when you lose, motivating you not to throw in the towel against anyone.

ONE has a few other modes, including Exhibition, Survival, and Training. If you can’t figure out what these are, you probably have more important questions to think about — like how to toilet train yourself. Bluetooth multiplayer will provide some fun for those of us with an N-Gage-enabled buddy. It’s standard, no-frills fighting, but it’s still pretty good.

The AI rarely strikes a perfect balance between too easy and too hard, but I still found myself compelled to continue. The fighting engine is quite deep, and I kept finding new combos to pull off. Unlike King of Fighters, you won’t need to memorize functions for every single button on your N-Gage, so the learning curve is a little smaller.

ONE is a good game wrapped in a very pretty package. Switching stances is a rare enough commodity that it’s compelling here, you’ll enjoy crafting your fighter, and the story mode at least gives you something to read between beatings. I’d still choose King of Fighters by a slight margin, but ONE is still one for N-Gage fight fans to check out.