Arms' newest hero Max Brass reminds me of All Might, the mostly-buff hero from the anime and manga My Hero Academia. Both start puny, unassuming. Definitely not hero material. But with a puff of the chest, they bulk up, and it's time to throw punches.
Max Brass isn't all that different from the other fighters on Arms' roster. He's a newcomer to Nintendo's Arms this week; the first new entry in the game. Though for players who've tackled the Grand Prix, he's a familiar face: he's the boss you face at its very end. Max Brass is a powerful foe, as he bulks himself up, his attack, defense, and speed skyrocket, but when he's in between that he's weak—prone to attacks. He's also a large foe with wide shoulders, much like Master Mummy or Mechanica, meaning his hitbox is far wider than most other fighters, making him liable to being grabbed and hit more often.
Max Brass feels carefully balanced; strong with weaknesses, much like other fighters. But he suffers from the same problem that most battlers on Arms' roster have, he doesn't feel different enough from the rest. If anything, he feels like a stronger Spring Man with some Master Mummy brutality thrown into the mix. In Arms, all the fighters may have their singular abilities, but the only one who feels tangibly different to play as remains the lone, 2-year-old blob Helix. For a fighting game fan, the lack of stark differences between fighters remains its biggest disappointment.
Speaking of age though, Max Brass comes out swinging as the oldest member of the roster. He's a bright 52-years-old. Fans on Twitter are already calling him "daddy" or "grandpa," noting his tight clothes, fit physique, and perpetually sunny demeanor. Just like All Might, Max Brass lands every punch with a cheeky grin on his face. Brass is just happy to be here at all, his championship belt arms a sign of his gratitude.
Caution: Spoilers for Grand Prix with Max Brass ahead.
With Brass being the final foe in the Arms Grand Prix, players were overly anxious to see who new would be taking his place. Whether Hedlock—a super-masked foe with multiple arms that only pops up in the game's party mode—or a new fighter would be tossed into the fray for a change. Unfortunately, the result is underwhelming. Max Brass' ultimate opponent at the end of the Arms Grand Prix is none other than… Max Brass. One Max Brass is labeled as an imposter, and only you, seemingly the true Max Brass, can prevail. Looks like whatever character joins the ring next will be a true surprise, hardly teased in-game unlike Brass, after all.
The 2.0 update for Arms didn't just add in Max Brass and his accompanying stage (which, like Brass, was also only in the Grand Prix prior), it helped to amend some qualms players had with the game's Ranked Mode. The stage Snake Park (themed for the fighter Kid Cobra) was a particular point of contention. The heavier characters had trouble on the map due to its hoverboards, while lighter characters had an unfair leg up on the map. In the latest update though, Nintendo heard hardcore players' tears, and removed Snake Park from the rotation of Ranked Battle, replacing it with Max Brass' own new stage Sky Arena.
"The absolute madmen, they actually did it!" wrote one Reddit user. When another asked why Snake Park is so reviled, another player succinctly responded with "because fuck Snake Park." Another called it "beyblade fuckery," a phrase I wish I had coined first. Snake Park's removal from Ranked seems to have widely pleased players, in addition to a minor nerf to Kid Cobra's jump and fixes to the boss Hydra's damage.
A new versus mode, Hedlock Scramble, has also been tossed into the mix. In Hedlock Scramble, players are able to embody the Hedlock mask for the first time, giving them many more arms to work with against multiple players. During my time playing Arms, Hedlock is a formidable foe in the one-on-one at the end of the 1v100 mode. For any mode that wasn't one-on-one or even two-on-two, Arms stumbled though, primarily when three players were pit against one another, which tends to result in ganging up on one player until the end. When facing Hedlock, a cacophonous flurry of fists flew every which way until the strong AI was defeated. Perhaps having an actual player embody Hedlock in Hedlock Scramble will make the multi-armed boss feel a bit less chaotic.
Max Brass seems like a worthy fighter for Arms though. He's a bit flashy, with a boisterous personality emblematic in his moves and his outrageous outfit (he even has a skin that's a garish gold). The changes to Ranked are a positive change too. It shows that Nintendo isn't just boasting competitive finesse for their multiplayer games, but that they're listening to the passionate community playing them too.