Ever since the Playstation Move was officially announced at last year’s GDC, Sony has been positioning both Sports Champions and The Fight as the premier titles for their new motion controller. Sport Champions was an excellent sporting compilation which proved that the Move is more than just a Wii Remote with a light bulb on the end of it but unfortunately The Fight will have you questioning whether the Move’s potential has already piqued.
On paper it seems like an impossible thing to screw up. A gritty, over-the-shoulder boxing game which utilizes the Move’s one-to-one tracking ability sounds like a winner. However poor controls, ugly visuals and repetition all work against this Coldwood Interactive developed brawler. Although Sony hasn’t said as much, it’s clear that they envisioned The Fight as “the big Move game of Fall 2010” but in reality this appalling title is more likely to push consumers toward Microsoft’s Kinect than it is to boost Move sales. As with Sports Champions, to get the most out of The Fight you’ll need a Move controller in each of your hands. If you only have one Move controller you’ll need either a Navigation Controller or a Dualshock as a substitute but at that point you might as well not even play the game to begin with.
Right from the jump The Fight makes a terrible first impression. Upon booting up the game you’re required to create your own fighter. I tried for roughly half an hour to create a fighter who didn’t look like a burn victim but my attempts were futile. After creating my own brawler I then had to suffer through a laughable tutorial from Danny ‘Machete’ Trejo, which unintentionally provided the only entertaining moments in the entire game. Hearing the leather-faced movie star hurl abuse at you with his poorly scripted “hardened convict” motif, all while holding Pink and Baby Blue controllers in his hands is hilarious! Likewise, having him talk directly to you as if you are the actual fighter but then constantly breaking the forth wall by telling you about the HUD and button layouts will have you laughing about the ridiculousness of it all. Trejo has no problem playing as the tough guy in every other action movie, so I feel compelled to blame the game for his poor performance.
Even if Trejo’s performance was Oscar-worthy it wouldn’t change the fact that this game is a complete train wreck. Despite the potential for one-to-one movement tracking the controls in The Fight are frustrating and wildly inaccurate. You’ll often be standing in front of your TV dishing out menacing blows like you’re the protégé of Mike Tyson, only to have your comically slow fighter throw measly jabs that barely tilt your opponents chin. The game encourages you throw punches just as you would in a real fight but more often than not you’ll just be wasting your energy. I’ve had several bouts where I’ve landed 10 times more hits than my opponent but I still end up as the dummy on the floor, why? I honestly don’t know. The computer controlled fighters seem to be freakishly strong, making the game feel unfair. I’m doing everything the game has to told me to do but emerging victorious seems to be more down to luck than skill. Waiting for you opponent to take a shot at you, leaping out of the way and returning a shot of your own seems to be the only method to avoid a first class beating but playing in such a way is no fun.
Even though the game requires you to calibrate your controllers before each fight, keeping them calibrated is nigh on impossible. Your fights will never last more than a few minutes but even so the Playstation Eye will constantly lose track of your movements, forcing you to hit the circle button to quickly recalibrate. During the heat of a battle the last thing you’ll need is for the game to become all confused and cheat you out of a victory. The Fight also “claims” to support head tracking but despite the fact that I’m playing in a well lit room, using the required PS Eye camera I am constantly told that head tracking is disabled due to the “terrible” lighting conditions in my room. To further complicate matters Coldwood have also incorporate Rage and Stamina systems for you to micro-manage mid-fight but you’ll probably be too busy trying to land a punch to realize.
Graphically The Fight once again fails to impress. The games colour pallet is just as moody and depressing as the game is to play. The butt-ugly characters who lack personality only serve to make the overall experience even blander. Animation isn’t the games strong suite either as you’ll often be distracted by your fighters unnatural arm movements. If you own a 3D TV you’ll be pleased to hear that The Fight can also be played in stereoscopic 3D. The third person prospective works well in 3D and the extra dimension will help to take your mind off the mundane graphics, at least for a while. If you enjoy a good story looks elsewhere, The Fight offers no explanation as to why you’re bare knuckle brawling in prison, you just are. What The Fight does offer is additional modes outside of the stagnant career mode but since the core gameplay is a mess, any extras instantly become redundant.
The fact that I dislike The Fight as much as I do is really upsetting to me. As a huge believer of the Playstation Move I would love to see more mature games support the peripheral… but not at the expense of gameplay! Hopefully Coldwood Interactive will learn from their mistakes and try to rectify the game’s problems for a sequel. Until then look elsewhere for your fighting fix, this is one fight that not even the police would bother with.