November 11, 2010
The last time I stood in front of a TV waving my arms about trying to deck an imaginary opponent, was when Ricky Hatton took on Floyd Mayweather. Funnily enough, I had just as much control over Hatton that night as I did over my fighters in Ubisoft’s Kinect fighting title, Fighters Uncaged. And for a motion control title that fundamentally relies on your on-screen avatar re-enacting your moves on-screen, that’s a bit of a drawback. And by bit, I mean it’s an absolute clusterfuck.
That’s not to say that Fighters Uncaged is completely useless. It’s just mostly useless. Mostly useless in the sense that if I throw 3 punches, my on-screen avatar will throw 1. Mostly useless in the sense that if I try and dodge an attack, for some reason my character tries to headbutt my opponent. I know they say the best form of defence is attack, however, I say, it’s my game, you will do as I say or I will put the disc in a food processor and then spread the ashes at the base of the toilet in the nearest public WC. I may even pee on it a little after... you know, to boost my damaged male ego after I had the inability to control a digital character who is meant to be the portal into this specific gaming experience. Which he totally wasn’t. Asshole.
The truth is though, that upon first inspection, Fighters Uncaged could be described as utter tripe – feel free to quote me on that one – but the fact remains that it’s all about working out the game’s subtle nuances. That’s not to say I’m making excuses for the game, hell no, it’s still terrible... but it’s not as unplayable as you might expect. It’s all about timing, precision and patience. Still, if I want to throw windmill punches in my own lounge while the neighbours call the ambulance reporting that I’m having convulsions, I should be allowed to do that and have it recreated in-game. Even if it can’t do that, it should at least respond to my actions... which it clearly doesn’t.
The game doesn’t look all too bad I suppose, it’s average of course, but it’s got one thing going for it... it looks better than the shovelware that ships out on the Wii, week in, week out. The same unfortunately can’t be said for the dialogue and audio, which is bordering on torturous if anything.
Fighters Uncaged, bizarrely, is a single player game and looks to throw you into the seedy underbelly of the illegal street fighting crowd. Interestingly, there’s no multiplayer, online or even local, which is a frankly peculiar choice from the off. Considering that fighting games usually set their stalls up to cater mostly for multiplayer gaming, why Fighters Uncaged opts not to is beyond the logic of even the world’s stupidest person. In essence though, it’s a 3D-esque Street Fighter game where the actions you perform in front of Kinect are mirrored by your on-screen character... supposedly anyway.
Like Street Fighter, you can expect any number of health bars, focus meters, and combos galore. The main mode – aside from the tutorial which can last up to 45 minutes if it keeps ignoring your kicks and such – of Fighters Uncaged lies in its 1-on-1 battles against the CPU, where it challenges you to climb the ranks of the open league from the bottom, all the way to the top. Great, right? No, that’s all the game is. Fight after fight of CPU battles where none of your moves you wanted to throw register. It’s really as hellish as it sounds and anyone that can get past the two hour mark should be given a medal – incidentally, it is a good calorie burner, for all the wrong reasons.
Oddly, rather than just gifting you the win based on match performance, there’s often a target score to hit if you want to gain "crowns" and climb the leagues, which means that you’ll need to kick ass quickly and without soaking up too much damage. This is especially frustrating as you rise through the ranks and the opponents get tougher.
There’s a whole range of kicks, punches, knees, elbows and headbutts to throw, with you able to block by holding your arms up and then dodge by leaning back when the notification pops up on-screen – again, like I mentioned earlier, meaning to dodge and headbutting instead is rather frustrating. The problem comes down to either the sensor or the game’s inability to detect what you are doing. Throw a punch and your on-screen character will throw a kick... I know my arms are chunky and my toes are like fingers, but come the hell on... they stem from entirely different parts of my body!
By dodging punches, you’ll be able to build up a pink meter on the left hand side of the screen, which when full, will allow you to perform a “super strike,” which involves some clichéd slow-motion ass-kicking move. It was very rare that I was on the defensive though early on, and having to dodge would require you sit back and be patient, watching the clock – and valuable points – go down the drain at the same time. Possibly the best way to attack then is using the combo attacks, which result in a slightly less flashy combo move. Again though, completing the combos requires completing certain moves in a certain order, which Kinect and Fighters Uncaged combine to totally shaft you on, more often than not. Incidentally, outside of the training, I failed to perform one mid fight.
At least you can earn achievements by playing it, right? Well, yes and no. Incidentally, in all my time with the game I earned about 70 gamerscore. All that for not losing one fight as well. It’s another one of the by-the-numbers list though – beat him 20 times, beat them 20 times, beat that dude 20 times, win 150 matches, and so on. It’s rather fitting that the achievement list is as bad as the game itself... and that’s pretty damn terrible.
When I sat down... well, stood up, to play Joy Ride the other day, I thought to myself, “Oh well, at least things can’t get much worse than this with the launch titles.” Apparently I jumped the gun a little. May I introduce Fighters Uncaged, the most “hardcore” game out of all the Kinect launch titles, and easily the most incompetent. With essentially one game mode, flawed gameplay, unresponsive and downright inaccurate controls, the one redeeming quality that Fighters Uncaged does have is that I’ll never have to play it again... ever! Thank goodness!
Terrible, clichéd and annoying dialogue with sufferable menu music. Ugh, it’s upsetting me just thinking about it.
Fighters Uncaged doesn’t look that bad, which is about all the game really has going for it.
I wouldn’t say it was downright unplayable, but it’s not far off. The actions on-screen rarely mimic your actions in front of the camera. Even getting through the tutorial was a chore.
Fighters Uncaged is a single player fighting game with one game mode. That about sums it up. Oh, there’s a tutorial as well and some training arena... whoopy doo!
Mundane, unoriginal and very much by-the-numbers. They’re as repetitive and predictable as a talking clock.
Fighters Uncaged is easily the worst Kinect title to date and I assume it’ll be propping up the rest of the titles for quite some time. And yes, I’ve played Joy Ride too! It’s unresponsive, has inaccurate controls and I’d much rather chew on glass than ever put it back in the console ever again. Even the achievements can’t lure me in... and that’s saying something!