|System: X360 (KINECT)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 4, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The progression in the single-player is also frustrating. You move through the game in tiers of opponents. As you progress, you move on to harder opponents. But the next tier doesn't open up until you've acquired a set amount of points, and you'll have to fight the same characters many times before unlocking the next stage. The amount of points needed to progress is completely arbitrary, and is in place only to artificially extend the game by hiding some of the content behind the random point barrier.
There are some positives to go with all of this negativity though. We may eventually find out one day that all Kinect games offer an outstanding workout, but for now I still consider it a point of praise. Fighters Uncaged gets you moving, punching, and kicking enough that it will make your arms sore and get your heart pumping. For many Kinect buyers, that's an important thing to consider. Fighters Uncaged is not a good game, but it's occasionally a fun way to get a bit of exercise.
Also, even if the use of the Kinect camera isn't optimal, the sensor still does a good job. Movements are usually well-detected. A jab will get you a jab, a hook will register as a hook, while front kicks and side kicks both work as advertised. The only spotty areas show up when you attempt bigger moves. It's not that they're too tough, but rather that they're too easy. I often would execute huge flying kicks and honestly have no idea how it happened. It always came as a pleasant surprise, but in a motion-controlled game it doesn't really seem to make any sense that a move could happen without your knowledge.
Microsoft and Ubisoft are going to have to work a lot harder if they want to release a quality fighting game for Kinect. I believe firmly that a great fighting game will eventually emerge on the system. But where many were hoping Fighters Uncaged would be a baby step into the budding genre, it turned out to be a colossal step backward.
This game doesn't have enough polish, unique ideas, or depth to recommend. Instead it still feels like a barely-interesting tech demo for the Kinect system. It should have been the kind of game that comes on a free demo disc with the system. There's really no way to justify paying the $50 price tag for Fighters Uncaged. Even the cost of a rental seems too steep for this experience; you'll likely grow tired of its monotony quickly.
Fighting games can still succeed on this platform, but it's going to take a developer that understands the intricacies of the Kinect camera. It will absolutely need to be outfitted with 1:1 motion control, sufficient depth to justify full retail price, and competitive multiplayer. Those are just the basest level requests for a Kinect fighting game and Fighters Uncaged doesn't even have one of them.
CCC Freelance Writer