Not a great display of the Kinect’s capabilities
Fighters Uncaged was a first generation fighting game from Ubisoft, released at the same time that the Kinect was launched. Like other third-party games released that time, this one was kludgey and poorly executed. One day there will be a great fighting game for the Kinect, but this isn’t it.
During the quiet days of the summer, I’m going back and reviewing some of the Kinect games that were released before I started this blog. One of the games I wanted to try most was Fighters Uncaged.
Some day there is going to be a great fighting game for the Kinect. But Fighters Uncaged is not it.
Starting the game is promising. You see dark, gritty graphics that are excellently drawn. After you sign in, you proceed to go through a series of “training” exercises, which basically teaches you the different moves you can make. You can jab, throw a hook, throw an uppercut for short-range contact, throw a knee for medium-range contact, or kick straight or roundhouse for long-range contact. As you proceed through the game, advanced moves like headbutts and elbow strikes are available.
Once you’ve been through the training, you can start actually fighting. Here, the game is pretty much a clone of Street Fighter, in that you face off against different opponents of increasing difficulty. Like Street Fighter, there’s a lame cut scene after selecting an opponent where the opponent basically taunts you. Also like Street Fighter, the announcer yells out “Round 1, Fight!” before the fight stars.
The game does a decent job at things like differentiating between different motions (for example, it can tell the difference between a left hook and a jab, something similar games on the Wii couldn’t do. I also loved the fact that for the first time in my life, I was playing a boxing video game without holding any controllers in my hand. This gave me a great workout in itself, and it left the option open of letting me do some weight training by boxing while holding hand weights.
But where the game really falls apart is that it can’t keep up with you. If you make quick moves, the on-screen character will punch and kick at his own slow and labored pace. Also, there are many times you’ll be making a move and the game will interpret it as something completely different, again, no doubt because of the very sluggish response time.
Another annoyance of the game is that the camera angle is very, very awkward. While other boxing games (even Wii Sports) do creative things like show a translucent image of your own fighter’s body so that you can clearly see your opponent, for some odd reason Fighters Uncaged decided to show your fighter’s back, which happens to cover 90% of the opponent’s body. So you have a great view of your character’s back and butt, but you can’t see where on your opponent’s body you’re punching or kicking.
All in all, I was disappointed at Fighters Uncaged. Since it was the first fighting game for the Kinect, it did do things that no other fighting video game did before it. And it’s a great workout, if only because you’ll be flailing your arms and legs trying to beat opponents because you can’t see where to aim or target your punches and kicks. But it could have been so much more.
In the ongoing debate of “which is better, the PS3 or the Xbox”, it’s interesting how things are evolving. The Xbox clearly is superior as far as dancing games go (when comparing Dance Central on the Xbox to the less-than-stellar Singstar Dance on the PS3). But in a heavyweight bout of which is the best fighting game between Fighters Uncaged for the Xbox and The Fight: Lights Out for the PS3, the PS3 clearly wins hands down for now. Here’s hoping that Microsoft or another game company will produce a much stronger effort in the near future.