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The Fight: Lights Out Review

8 November 2010

“Don’t wave your hands around like you're chasing flies,” warns bare-knuckle boxing trainer, Danny Trejo prior to your violent journey into the lawless world of street fighting. His gruff and aggressive voice fits perfectly with the dark and gritty theme that throbs through the veins of The Fight: Lights Out, the first ever PlayStation Move-compatible brawler.

Indeed, in terms of overall look, Swedish developer ColdWood Interactive has created a sombre game that accurately captures the violent spirit of the type of men who take part in no-holds-barred fisticuffs. The characters are intricately designed and look overtly aggressive in the ring, with their bulging biceps and battered and bruised faces, while the locations that you fight in, such as a grimy, abandoned warehouse, make for some appropriately gloomy arenas where the dark red of spilled blood stands out impressively against the ill-lit palette of black and white colour.

Unsurprisingly, there’s no real storyline to tell you about, other than you assuming control of a rag to riches, lowly street fighter looking to make it big and earn money along the way. What is disappointing, however, is there’s no real character building, which would have given more meaning to the numerous one-on-one bouts of bare-knuckle fighting that you’ll participate in – we’d rather beat someone we hate to a pulp, rather than someone that just looks a bit mean.

Compensating somewhat for this lack of depth is a basic customisation system, allowing you to earn points at the gym and through fights and then spend it on improving various attributes, such as strength and speed. As you battle from one opponent to the next, your character builds in stature, as does your confidence as you feel the difference in the ring. Sadly, the gym games are particularly monotonous as you rain blows repeatedly on a punch bag, or physically drain yourself by trying to pummel a speed bag as fast as you possibly can. Nevertheless, you won’t spend as much time in the gym as you will in the ring so you should be able to live with it. Just don’t waste all your energy there because you’ll really need it!

Setting up the two PlayStation Move controllers takes just a few moments of calibration before each match, but it can get a little tiresome doing it so frequently. We’re told that frequent calibration is necessary because you may have moved from the position you were standing in at the start of the last fight, so the PlayStation Eye needs to reassess your positioning prior to each bout. Ideally, you shouldn’t move when boxing otherwise shots don’t register. As it turns out, it doesn’t really seem to matter whether you stay still or move a little bit because your shots register inconsistently anyhow.

As soon as a fight starts you’re free to jab, upper-cut and body punch your way to success by mimicking real-life boxing moves with both controllers clenched firmly in hand. In reality, it’s not quite that easy though, especially if you’re unfit. The Fight: Lights Out is a real challenge physically and by our third match we were on the verge of begging for the beatings to stop, and we'd lost our coordination, punching our arms frantically forward like we were trying to batter our way through an invisible brick wall. You really do need stamina to play The Fight, and lots of it.

What’s more worrying though is the lack of accuracy with the Move controllers. We were expecting true 1:1 accuracy, but what you actually get is a boxer that responds sluggishly to your movements, often bringing his fist forward slightly behind your own actions. When the game does recognise your movements precisely, matches flow smoothly and The Fight: Lights Out is fun to play, but it does so inconsistently and those moments are all too brief. Such is the problem that it doesn’t just feel like you’re just fighting the other guy in the ring; it feels like you’re wrestling against the loose game mechanics as well. You’ll therefore, probably, find yourself trying to overcompensate for its lack of accuracy by throwing over-the-top punches even more, which will just make you more exhausted and frustrated than you already were.

The most satisfaction you’ll get from the The Fight: Lights Out isn’t from the art of actual boxing, or attempting to mimic the moves of a boxer to execute pinpoint punches. Instead, it’s from the array of special, and highly illegal, moves. Head-butts, elbows, bullcharges and double hammers look impressive and carrying them out effectively, by perfecting the art of moving the controllers in combination with button presses, is very satisfying. Similarly, guarding yourself from blows by putting the controllers to your face and then dodging left and right to avoid getting hit, works particularly well. However, it doesn’t ever make up for the overall inconsistent boxing experience on offer.

The continuous one-on-one, sluggish battles of The Fight: Lights Out will wear you down after a while, probably until you either drop to the floor with exhaustion, or have just had enough of the frustrating control scheme. Split-screen play and the option to take bets online against other players extend the misery, but The Fight does show some hope for the future of boxing titles that utilise Sony’s motion-sensing peripheral, largely thanks to the intuitive and fun to execute special moves, and those times when Move does get the motion-sensing right. If you were hoping for the true boxing sim that was promised, you won't get it here. If you want some decent exercise, however, then we guarantee you'll shed a few pounds in battering your on-screen opponents to a bloody pulp.

-The Final Word-

Rocky Balboa you're not. The Fight: Lights Out is a sluggish game of boxing with less than impressive Move controls.
  • The illegal moves, such as headbutting. Move works well here and it's satisfying to drop the nut
  • The gritty locations and sombre atmosphere
  • The inconsistent Move controls. You won't land a punch every time, even if you were accurate
  • How it's physically exhausting. The fact that motion-sensing isn't always great means that you put more effort in, and it kills you
  • Going to the gym. You tire yourself out before the fights
5.5
Platforms reviewed : PlayStation 3
See PSU's reviews scores on Metacritic and Gamerankings

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