Fighting with yourself
Fighting games have long been one of the most promising genres on the market since the motion-control revolution took hold with the Nintendo Wii in 2006. However, there has not been a single worthy entry in the genre that utilizes motion controllers. Wii Sports Boxing was an entertaining novelty for all of two or three minutes until players figured out that real motions are less effective than wild flailing.
Kinect also brought a new fighting franchise into the fold with the terrible Fighters Uncaged. Bizarrely, the best fighting game yet to be released on one of these systems is actually the boxing mini-game in Kinect Sports. The game was light on substance, but made up for it in style. The Fight: Lights Out could be said to accomplish the same thing.
There’s not a lot to it, and it works decently (provided you follow the rather gameplay guidelines). There’s also a neat art style and a unique aesthetic quality. When compared to its closest competitor, the awful Fighters Unleashed on Kinect, The Fight looks fantastic. However, anyone craving a fighting game that is about more than just smashing faces will find nothing to love about The Fight.
To its credit, The Fight is the deepest entry yet released in the newly minted motion-control fighting genre. There are modes for betting on your fights, lots of upgrades, and calorie-monitoring.
Depth of content is not an issue. The problem, rather, is the depth of the fighting system. After all, how deep and rewarding can it be when you’re forced to keep your feet motionless throughout the entire proceedings? There are a wealth of different moves you can execute, but it’s all fairly limited when your movement is so restricted.
Movement is instead handled by holding down the Move button and tilting the controller. Considering Sports Champions included far more fluid character motion months ago, this isn’t something we expected to have to deal with again. The sacrifices to motion don’t do a whole lot to make things go more smoothly though. Your character will still look ridiculous as he flails arms with careless abandon across the screen. No matter how deftly you attempt to conduct the fight, you’ll still end up looking absurd in the replays.
That wouldn’t be too big a deal, but the tracking isn’t really up to snuff either. Some of these moments look ridiculous because your punch was wildly misinterpreted. A gut punch can turn into a windmill with little warning. Most of the time the controls work well, but since the advertising campaign likes to pretend that the whole experience is perfect 1:1 motion, I thought it pertinent to make this well known.
To make it work even the meager amount that it does, the game forces you to constantly recalibrate. Many other releases in the Move library have also had this flaw. Before every single engagement you’ll need to recalibrate the system. It was fine in Sports Champions, but at this point I’m beginning to grow weary of this kind of thing. If future Move games don’t correct the need for constant calibration, then even fans of the system will lose interest. I’m not a developer, but it seems to me that it can’t be that difficult for the camera to pick up the bright, shiny ball dancing in front of the screen.
The Fight employs a head tracking system that was aimed at tracking your head movements, allowing you to bob and weave during the battle. However, this system barely works at all. I was constantly told that the lighting situation was inadequate, while in truth I was in a well-lit room with more than enough lighting to play any other PlayStation Move or Kinect game. The system was constantly dropping out, so most of the game was played without it.
On the plus side, the visuals are neat. They’re washed-out and gritty, which is truly the lazy man’s route to making something look artistic and “realistic.” However, they’re still pretty good. And they’re a sight better than the faux-hardcore attitudes of Fighters Uncaged. The Fight can be very cool to watch unfold, even if it’s essentially all in black and white. This kind of style isn’t something we’re accustomed to in a motion control budget title. At least not since MadWorld.
The biggest issue with the game is that the play never evolves. Once you’ve finished your first fight, you’ve essentially seen everything there is to see in this game. From then on you’ll keep fighting harder opponents, but the tactics you employ do not get demonstrably different from fight to fight. You can practically use the same moves over and over to achieve victory. This kind of play is anathema to a good fighting experience. A good fighting game consistently challenges you to grow your style. The best will even include fights that subtly force you to learn a specific style of play in order to overcome a particularly challenging foe.
Despite all of its problems, The Fight: Lights Out is one of the most complete fighting games yet to employ motion-control, although I should note that the competition hasn’t exactly been fierce. If you’ve been craving this type of game then you’ll enjoy some of the motion-controlled punching, and the dainty $40 price tag. However, if you’re looking for a truly good fighting experience, then you’re just going to have to hang on to your joystick for now, because developers show no signs of being able to remove that from the experience.
The Fight might give you a decent workout, but it won’t be challenging your conceptions of what a fighting game can be. In fact, this game is another step in the wrong direction for motion-controlled fighters, even if the game itself isn’t particularly horrible. Pick this game up if you’re interested in experimenting with the Move hardware while shedding a few pounds. The price tag is low, but even for that paltry sum you probably won’t get your money’s worth.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.0 Graphics
It’s one of the better looking Move games thus far. The washed-out, gritty aesthetic is decent, if a bit lazy. 2.0 Control
Move does a poor job overall. You need to stand still, the head tracking doesn’t work, and some punches don’t work right. 2.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The tutorial by Danny Trejo is awesomely bad. It’s hammy, but we kind-of love him for being hammy. 2.5 Play Value
The Fight offers the deepest motion fighting experience yet. Although that’s really not saying much. It’s a standout in a crowd of horrendous losers. We like the small price tag though. 2.5 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|