Review: The Fight: Lights Out Swings, Misses

If you feel like destroying something ugly, take a shot at The Fight: Lights Out, a dark, dreary brawler for the PlayStation Move that's an unpleasant blend of Fight Club aesthetics and wild, Bumfights-style fist flailing.

The Fight: Lights Out is a third-person fighting game that lets players experience the thrill of brawling in underground fight club without fear of broken bone or loosened teeth. With a PlayStation Move equipped in each hand, The Fight turns the glowing wand controllers into virtual fists, your tools to pummelling dozens of grimy, greasy street toughs into submission. With more than 100 fighters to beat bloody, online multiplayer and other activities to keep one occupied between fights, The Fight: Lights Out may be one of the more robust PlayStation Move games to date - but that certainly doesn't make it one of the best.

Ideal Player

The PlayStation Move owner who's looking to build up a sweat, not necessarily play an elegant fighting game, and devout followers of actor Danny Trejo.

Why You Should Care

The PlayStation Move's mostly precise motion control detection should make for a decent brawling simulation, at least better than Wii Sports boxing and Kinect's Fighters Uncaged. The Fight: Lights Out may make a more fit you, if you have the patience for it.

Does it work? Sometimes, yes. The Fight does a decent enough job of turning your real world jabs, hooks and uppercuts into in-game punches. Blocking and body blows are also reliable. When your fighting moves get more complex, however, cracks begin to show. The Fight can be finicky in interpreting grabs, backhanded punches and some of the special moves you'll unlock during the singleplayer campaign and movement of your fighter can be a huge pain. The game's flaky head-tracking, dependent on your lighting conditions - mine were consistently "terrible" - is partly to blame. One would think the constant calibration required would translate into something just a bit more precise.

So what do you do with all this violence? The Fight's most substantial mode is its plot-free singleplayer campaign, a mostly directionless and very long list of increasingly tougher opponents. You'll win cash from fights and the bets you can place on your performance. You'll also unlock new character customisations and special attacks from certain brawlers. While the character roster may be large, unlike the Street Fighters and Punch-Outs of the world, your competition is severely lacking in personality. But so is the rest of The Fight, which is a drab, desaturated experience throughout.

How does the fighting work? These are one-on-one battles, with the player looking at the back of their custom-made fighter for much of the match as he trades blows with his opponent. Players must keep an eye on their life bar and stamina, the latter of which drains quickly if you simply throw rapid-fire punches hoping that some will connect. There's some strategy to it all - when to uppercut, when to go for the gut - but many fights can be won by simply throwing jabs and elbows until your foe crumples. It can be satisfying to land painful looking blows on your enemies, but the disconnect of punching at air, contacting with nothing while engaged in mortal combat can be off-putting. Worse, many fights look and feel like a confused flailing of floppy limbs, some of which you can't see due to your fighter's body obscuring portions of the action.

What else does The Fight offer? When you're not feeding lowlifes knuckle sandwiches, you need to hit the gym. Here you'll boost your strength, speed, stamina and other fighter attributes. That cash you earn in fights is spent training (as well as at the doctor and on clothing) so that you can get in time with the heavy bag, speed bag and sparring partners. Target practice and endurance sparring are great ways to practice and earn skill points needed to level up, but the speed bag and heavy bag mini-games were exercises in frustration. These portions feel more like an obligation than an entertaining change of pace.

The Fight sounds like a workout. This may be the best thing about The Fight: Lights Out. The intensity of the battles and throwing punches with heft can quickly build up a sweat. It's a better fitness game than it is a fighting game, at least, because the brawls distract from the physical exertions of shadowboxing.

Does multiplayer at least help? It doesn't hurt. Getting into matches was quick and painless, to The Fight's credit, and online fights were mostly lag-free. But I found that many online competitions quickly devolved into a contest between two men throwing punches at each other as fast and as furious as possible, with finesse or technique not considered.

The Fight: Lights Out In Action

The Bottom Line

There's not a whole lot to like about The Fight: Lights Out. This is a dank, dismal-looking fighting game with iffy controls, a disconnected fighting experience and a dull singleplayer campaign. The most charming moments in The Fight: Lights Out came from actor Danny Trejo's campy instructional tutorials, particularly when the leathery badass is holding pink and blue glowing Move controllers in each hand, mentoring you on how to crack skulls. But those moments are not worth the entry fee required to take part in The Fight.

The Fight: Lights Out was developed by ColdWood Interactive/XDEV and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation 3, released on November 9. Requires two PlayStation Move controllers to play. Retails for $US39.99. Review code was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Kotaku purchased a retail copy of the game to complete the review.


Comments

    How come every review says this is crap yet all the reviews on metacritic make it awesome.

    I noticed that all reviewers just say the training is an extra when what I read is that it levels up your in game character making them more responsive to controls.

    I think I'm actually going to get this game based on metacritic and not on its reviews because the reviews seem to miss a lot.

      I think a lot of the reviews aren't taking into account the Danny Trejo factor. It's a 2/10 game, but the presence of His Macheteness makes it an 8/10 package overall.

    When the Game Overthinker first mentioned this game, he highlighted how it showed what Sony thought of their player base- namely that they're a bunch of macho, muscle-headed morons for whom being "HARDCORE!" is the most important design element. He described it as looking like what a parody of Wii Boxing would look like. And what do you know, it looks like he was right.

    Ok. First off. I bought the game. Why? Because nearly every customer at amazon said this game is awesome, and there are tons of videos on youtube saying this game is awesome, and metacritic user reviews say this game is a strong 8.5/10.

    Second. I'm not disapointed. What I am disapointed with, his the inaccurate reviews. I did boxing in my teens, and martial arts when I was younger than that. I'm a boxing fan.

    The only thing I dislike about the fight is that your character is not invisible. THAT IS IT. And why are there so many reviews of this game who play it in terrible lighting conditions? My head-tracking works. The game is true 1:1. If you throw weak, your character will be weak.

    You HAVE to train your character up, that is important. The game gets better as you play it more and you get fitter too. Double Bonus.

    If you don't believe it has 1:1 tracking. Then go to sparring, set your opponent to passive so he doesn't punch you. Then see how great the 1:1 tracking really is. As you rotate your wrists, the game registers it. As you move your head, the game registers it, exactly. But obviously I had head-tracking on. I'm just a regular guy, yet these proffesional reviewers can't get the head-tracking to work..... What the hell is wrong with them?

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