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Fighters Uncaged


I'd just prefer if Ubisoft just came over to my house and roundhouse kicked my face.
Published in the first batch of Kinect launch titles, Fighters Uncaged appears to be a direct competitor of Sonyís The Fight: Lights Out. It basically looks like an attempt to pull in some of the core Xbox 360 userbase (opposed to new casual gamers) and convince them to upgrade to the Kinect motion controller. This title was developed by AMA Studios, a subset of UbiSoft. Unfortunately, it seems as if UbiSoft was less concerned with quality and more concerned with meeting the launch date of the Kinect system in early November. For starters, the presentation leaves it all to the imagination. Unless you read the instruction manual, you are unlikely to find out that the main character, Simon, is being forced into a back-room fighting tournament in order to save his father from being murdered. Simon, a poorly structured stereotype, must roam around the city from fight to fight attempting to work his way up the ranks. The concept is solid, but the team in charge of conveying all this information to you must have been on holiday when that portion of the game was being developed. This is the first sign that this was rushed out of the gate to meet a launch date.

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Moving into the actual fights, you will be amazed at how terrible that the Kinect system actually picks up your fighting movements. The game takes you through some opening tutorials that introduce you to your own motor skills. But the on screen movements donít match up to your movements, thereís a slight lag coming into play. This really screws up the combo system and the Kinect rarely picks up combos that involve punch / kick movements. If you can somehow move onto league fighting after wildly throwing punches to skip the tutorial, you fight a stream of idiots also involved in this underground fighting ring. And you get to fight people like One Jab, Angle Face and Piston Joe over and over and over until you reach the top league.

But itís incredibly unlikely that you will make it that far. Beyond the motion controller not picking up combos or even punches, you are fighting against a weird scoring system that doesnít make any sense. Even if you win fights, you may not get enough points to reach the next round. You are also just trying to outlast your opponent most of the time because you canít land a punch combo to save your life, unless you can manage to find their weak spot. Then itís just a matter of spamming one attack over and over. More importantly, itís not entertaining to climb the ranks. Thereís no motivating factor pushing Simon, or the player, along to continue this farce of a game.

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Thereís no multiplayer included in the game, pretty shocking for a fighting game. Thereís not even local multiplayer for playing against a friend. This is a single player game only. There are achievements included in the game, but it would take a ridiculous amount of time to get them with the broken motion controls. Most of the achievements involve beating a specific fighter 20 times and those are actually duplicated for another game mode (open league). There are also achievements for performing combos, beating opponents of a certain weight class and winning a specific number of fights. It would be a balanced set if the game actually worked properly.

Graphics

Many years into the lifecycle of the Xbox 360 and Iím still amazed that games are suffering from terrible designs (Or perhaps idiotic designers). The character models are the most detailed aspect of the visuals, but lack the smooth animation of fighters that were released years ago. The backgrounds are equally as ugly and object detection (probably a great feature for a fighting game) is laughable. Add in the delay of character motion on the screen from the motion control (if it picks up) and we have a visual experience that may be the worst of 2010.

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Audio

There are rare occasions that I actually have to turn off the audio during a game, but this was one of them. The announcer in Fighters Uncaged is one of the most annoying characters that Iíve heard in the last 5 years. The grating, arcade style voice is terrible and kills the presentation. In addition, the actor that voices Simon is equally as bad, but thatís mostly due to the writing; lost in a sea of stereotypes. Also, the looped, techno song during the fights are just as annoying.

Conclusion

I have no idea what possessed Ubisoft to back this title for Kinectís launch. AMA Studios absolutely massacres the concept and implementation with the Kinect motion controls. On top of that, the game is ugly, annoying, absent of replay value and simply poorly thought out. I canít imagine anyone at AMA Studios getting more work after this crapfest was released. They should all be forced to play this game in QA for the next year as punishment. Fighters Uncaged is a mess of a game and should be avoided completely by anyone that upgraded to the Kinect. Let me repeat that for the parents. Do Not Buy this game if you got your kids if you also got them a Kinect for Christmas. Itís not worth $4.99, much less the ridiculous $49.99 MSRP. For shame, UbiSoft, for shame.



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