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Arms guide

Everything you need to know to win

Just as its marketing states, Arms is a unique fighting game, with two players “punching” each other with the help of expanding spring arms and the variety of wild weapons attached to them. It certainly doesn’t resemble the genre granddaddy Street Fighter, nor even 3D brawlers such as Tekken or Virtua Fighter. Some traditionalists might not even admit that it is a fighting game at all, as they wouldn’t for Smash Brothers.

But it is.

Arms has all the basic game design concepts of a fighting game: the jockeying for position, the rock, paper, scissors guessing games and characters with unique powers. Its closest genre relative is the Sega mech combat series Cyber Troopers Virtual-On, or perhaps the upcoming Gundam Versus. For all the fun game modes built on top of the base game, at the core of Arms is a one-on-one fighting game.

We intend to teach you how to win at that game by explaining how it works. In a nutshell, Arms is a game about reading your opponent’s moves and taking advantage of their mistakes. When you understand the game better, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation of it, and you’ll start winning more. That’s an improvement on two fronts.

Arms guide table of contents

Arms is a fighting game, so we’re going to break it down like we have broken down fighting games in our guides for Injustice 2 and Street Fighter 5. The first question is “What am I trying to do?

We’ve organized our Arms guide based on related topics, each of which we’ve corralled below. You’re free to tackle them in our order or hop between them at your leisure.

Learning to fight

  • What am I trying to do in Arms?: Defense, not offense, is the key, and most of your damage is going to come from counterattacks.
  • Controls: Breaking all of the options down into motion controls and non-motion controls.
  • Movement, blocking and charging: It’s is important to know how to move around in Arms before throwing any punches. Remember: Punches don’t mean anything if you can’t land them.
  • Punching, throws and blocking: The basis of so many games — including Arms — is the time-honored playground classic rock, paper, scissors.
  • Rush attacks: The Rush move is every character’s “special” attack — and the most valuable resource you have in Arms.
  • Staying safe and when to strike: The whole game is about reacting to the other player’s actions, not so much rushing in boldly yourself.
  • Four things you need to know to win: Understanding how Arms wants you to play.

Characters

Which character should you choose? Rather than looking for the strongest Arms character, think about the way you want to play the game and try and match a character (and weapon) to that.

Elements and weapons

  • Elements: Every element type in action.
  • Arms attributes explained: Nearly every Arm has one of seven attributes — fire, electric, wind, ice, stun, explosion and blind — that augment their play style.
  • Weapons: Every weapon type, explained.
  • Choosing weapons and building sets: In Arms, you have your choice of weapons on either arm at the beginning of the fight. Deciding which of those you’re going to use each round is a major decision with a big impact on how you’re going to play.

Modes

Putting it all together