The Fight: Lights Out is the latest game built specifically for the PS Move. Requiring two PS Move Remotes/Controllers (which act as your fists), The Fight casts gamers as an up-and-coming underground fighter. Veteran tough guy actor Danny Trejo will offer you guidance on your journey via full motion video cutscenes, but ultimately it's up to you to battle the dozens of characters that the game throws at you. As it turns out, you'll be fighting the game itself as much as anything it or an online opponent can throw at you.
The Fight experience begins with character creation which asks you to input your height, weight, and age (so that it can give you your BMI). Then, it's off to Appearance customization in which you get to choose from several body types that you can alter with different hair styles, clothing, tattoos, jewelry, pants, and so forth -- most of these items have to be unlocked as you might expect. Next, you can distribute your initial batch of 60 skill points across these Abilities: Strength, Speed, Stamina, Chin, Heart, and Technique.
Next up is the calibration process. This process is longer than the one you have to do before every fight. The game will ask you to point each remote at the screen and press the Move button. Then you will simulate a few punches. Next, you're asked to clear the room so the game can take a snapshot of your environment. It will give you results on background movement and lighting, and it will also tell you if head-tracking is available given these conditions. For some reason, my environment never allowed me to use head tracking, meaning I couldn't sway to dodge (although I could usually duck). My lighting rank was always great as was my background, but head-tracking was always "Terrible" which I found perplexing. Anyway, after that, you hold out each remote on either side of your body, press each button, then take a casual fight stance with the remotes tucked under your chin, and press a button. These latter two steps have to be done in between each fight.
As Danny Trejo will tell you, do not move once you're calibrated. During a fight, you have to keep your feet planted. Not only is this a upper-body only fighting game, but if you move around while you're fighting, accuracy goes (further) out the door. You can recalibrate during the fight, but, just don't move... it'll be easier that way. That said, I didn't find staying stationary to be a big problem, but there are however two major issues with the gameplay itself.
First, and you'll notice this right away in the tutorial, the game seems like it's running at half speed. Every action you perform, while it may be in full speed in your living room, is like punching underwater on screen. I never got far enough in the game to max out my Speed, but I just thought that that was nuts. Maybe later the speed of my character actually matches what I am doing for real, but it's a shame I have to hope and find out. It should be tracking my velocity in real time from the get-go, period. I definitely don't remember the gameplay being this slow at E3, either.
Secondly, as is practically always the case with motion gaming on any platform, there is a considerable amount of inaccuracy. No matter how many times I redid a full calibration, I found myself having to punch either below my face or even above it in one really bad scenario to get my hits connecting with the face of my opponent. That's something I could have gotten used to barring the other problems, but these issues combined make this a very tough game to enjoy. Certain other gameplay designs don't help matters.
The Fight actually includes a stamina meter for your character, which as other reviewers have pointed out, is silly. I'm supposed to be the character; I'm the one throwing the punches, right? Make no mistake, The Fight will get you breaking a sweat as you swing punch after punch. But as the player, it seems right to me that I should be the one who controls the stamina, not the game itself. My character may be out of juice but if I'm still trying to throw punches, why shouldn't I be able to?
The control scheme and what moves are available to you when was also disappointing. To move in a certain direction, you press the Move button and tilt the controller in that direction. Believe it or not, it's cumbersome to do that as much as you actually have to do that in game. Additionally, despite being able to cycle through multiple over the shoulder and above camera angles at anytime with Triangle, I found it difficult to tell how close my opponent was. That's another thing I like about Fighters Uncaged on Kinect actually, in that it pops up a visual cue to inform you of the distance. But yeah, trying to flick the remote forward to get in closer to your foe or trying to sidestep just doesn't fit. The rest of the time you're throwing these full speed punches (which of course are going much slower in the game) and then to have to do these little controller tweaks just to get your opponent back in front of you isn't smooth at all.
I was also a bit surprised at how much T button action there was to help the game distinguish the different movements (backfist, elbow, etc.). Having to use the T button isn't a deal breaker but it definitely takes you out of the action a little bit further, especially when combined with the other gameplay snags. Not to mention, it doesn't work as consistently as you'd hope.
I also didn't like the Rage meter and Dirty Moves concept. Since when is a hammerfist a dirty move? Besides, I thought this was no holds underground fighting? Biting and uppercuts to the groin would seem like dirty moves, but a hammerfist or headbutt (and others)? It seemed very arbitrary to me, but basically what this does is practically limit you to straight punches while you build up your Rage meter, at which point you're then allowed to execute these "dirty moves." Having to keep an eye on the Rage meter while you fight is just another bad decision. If you try to do a dirty move before you have enough Rage, your character will just do something that doesn't mimic what you did at all. For example, if you don't have enough Rage built up for a hammerfist, he'll just extend his arm out, harmlessly, and uselessly. So now I have to keep track of my health, stamina, and rage meter, when it reality, this game should have been HUD-free and just used visual cues of and on the fighters themselves. More blood, limping, welts and bruises, heavy breathing and staggering would all have been great ways to help keep players attuned to the state of the fighters. Instead you've got meters to keep an eye on.
So single player mode has several options including the tournament which is spreadout across twelve different areas like an underpass, chapel, and warehouse. After your first fight, five of these areas are selectable and there are about a dozen fights to win in each. As you win each fight, the next fight opens up, until you get to the boss of that area. Each fight has some kind of criteria for you to try and complete such as winning with only taking a certain amount of damage or within a certain time limit and so forth. You can also place wagers on fights, kind of like (but not as deep as) the old PSP game The Con. Betting in fights helps you earn money quicker. Money is used to go to the gym to earn Skill Points to spend on your Abilities. Money is also used to fix up Injuries which you should tend to in between fights. Injuries occur on your torso and head and they have an effect on your stamina in the next fight if you don't pay to get them healed.
I should also point out that you can earn Boosters like Thunder, Survivor, and Clubber which alter your Strength, Heart, and Hammerfirst efficiency for example. You can also purchase Cheats from the Extras menu for $1 each; these give you extra strength and speed and so on. I imagine these don't work in multiplayer but I wasn't about to waste a buck to find out.
The multiplayer component of The Fight allows for local split screen competition and online play. Online matches can be either ranked or unranked or you can just spectate and place bets which is kind of neat. There isn't much of an online presence at this time, but that may change as more people get the Move.
As for the presentation, The Fight looks fine to me, I wasn't expecting some Unreal 3 powered blockbuster or anything. Danny Trejo as "Duke" is also okay by me. The sounds in game are alright, but the hip-hop music seemed out of place and reminded me of Def Jam: Fight For New York for some reason. Ultimately, the presentation is fine, I just wish the darn game worked better than it does. Maybe a patch to fix the speed issues would help mask some of the tracking/inaccuracy problems which I imagine could be harder to patch.
To the summary...