Review / The Fight: Lights Out (PS3)

I’m not sure if The Fight: Lights Out is named after its gameplay or the struggle to calibrate it properly. The motion controls work okay (most of the time) but you need ideal conditions for the Eye to pick up your own body leaning from side to side or ducking. What you’re left with is pretty ironic; a game that’s meant to offer you 100% control over your own body but actually leaves you feeling more helpless than any other fighting game before it.

The ideal way to play Lights Out is to pick up 2 Move controllers and start swinging away. The game’s quick to emphasise this isn’t a Wii Sports boxing knock off; flapping your arms about like a madman will get you nowhere. The Move controllers will act as your fists and from there you’ll have pretty much complete control of what you do. You can hold the Move button and tilt to walk around and there are certain motions you can perform to pull off dirty tricks to tip the balance in your favor.

Problem? It just doesn’t really work. It’s easy enough to swing out a strong punch but aiming that punch to connect straight with your opponent’s face is another matter. As said earlier the game picks up your leaning and ducking, but this is easily where it struggles the most. Not once did it recognise that I was trying to duck, and waving from side to side is a sluggish affair. Add in issues with a lack of feedback from your punches or the fact that you’ll pretty much break the game if you move your feet and you start to feel that you’d fare better taking on the gigantic enemies yourself rather than swinging the controllers around. Even with the wonky controls you’ll have to recalibrate before every single match/training session.

Oh and there’s head tracking… but that doesn’t work. Like… ever. Uh, let’s move on.

There are a few other systems in place like a stamina bar that will reflect your overall performance depending on how full it is. It makes sense to have it in there seeing as you could likely just smash down on your opponents with no mercy otherwise but it’s hard to keep your character’s stamina consistent with your own seeing as a couple of rounds can be pretty tiring.

What doesn’t make sense is an injury system that will slow your character down. It’s meant to add realism to the game, but this fighter is meant to represent me and my best fighting ability; if I haven’t actually hurt my hand why should I be acting like I have? I start pulling my punches when I feel out of breath and other than that I should be on top form.

At least there’s a chance for some basic character progression that does add a little depth to the game. Event mode has a bunch of fights lined up for you. Money is earned by winning these events as well as getting good moves in, which can then be spent on training, healing or other items. You’ll also climb rank points with each victory so that you can take on tougher challenges. It’s clear that The Fight has a good structure for a fighting game; it just sadly doesn’t have the gameplay to back it up.

Multiplayer is in there but with the near-broken control scheme it doesn’t make much of a case for itself. It may well be more fun to actually punch your friend in the face and then start fighting outside a bar. And then maybe you’ll get a group of friends wanting to fight and take it into the bar every week. Oh– I’m not supposed to talk about that. Moving on.

Perhaps the highlight of the game is Danny Trejo’s training videos. As you probably know, Danny Trejo is the man when it comes to B-list action movies, he should fit the part of a nitty grit training instructor just right. Well he does… until he holds up pink and blue motion controllers and screams “You’re not chasing flies around!” then proceeds to waggle his arms about like a lunatic. The Fight takes itself too seriously and comes off as a bit of a joke for it.

The visuals don’t help that much either. A black and white presentation quickly becomes boring to look at, and while character models are solid, they sometimes bear questionable faces. At least I can speak positively about the music, because there is none. The last thing I want to hear is another rap-heavy soundtrack that makes me feel like I’m “from the streets,” so The Fight doesn’t give you one. That’s good, I’m happy about that.

There are just too many things working against The Fight for it to be a worthwhile purchase. Endless recalibration, motion controls that aren’t quite all there, and a laughable presentation make this one to avoid. It’s got the basic template down and the motion controls can be fun for a while, so I wouldn’t object to a sequel if they absolutely mastered the controls.

+ Well structured with plenty of events and ways to upgrade your character
+ Regardless of how well it works, it does give you control of your fists

– Poor calibration means fighting rarely works 100%
– Super-serious presentation works against it