The Fight: Lights Out Review (PS3)

We must admit, when the Playstation Move was first announced, one of our initial ponderings was whether the Move would be able to provide us with a proper fighting game, with real one-to-one punching action. Would we be able to give a virtual opponent the taste of our fists, and would it actually feel as though it was us doing the damage? This may sound vicious, but up to this point the Wii had pumped us full of nicey-nice gameplay, and we were hoping at some point to break down a brick wall or two with our bare hands.

The Fight does indeed quench our thirst for violence, but also makes us sigh with the deepest of regret as we realise that motion control will most likely never provide us with the real action we were looking for. The movement feels fine and other than some sensitivity issues here and there, we have no complaints towards the actual hardware... but boy, is it dull and repetitive. We shouldn't really be surprised - you're simply punching people in the face over and over again, after all - but as our experience with The Fight, it makes us certain that motion-controlled fighting games will simply never be entertaining enough.

One down, many MANY more to go...

Here's how The Fight works - if you've got two Move controllers, you grip one in each hand and punch as normal. The game translates your movement directly onto the screen, and allows you to place your fist into your opponent's face, chest or side. If you've got just one Move controller, a regular PS3 controller can be used as a second glove, with the limited Sixaxis movement granting your access to some set punching animations.

All the main actions and movements are taught via a string of tutorial videos and tests, acted out by Mr Danny Trejo - you know, that guy from Heat and Desperado. Or maybe Machete, if you're a little bit younger. Either way, he does a pretty decent job of dropping you into the game, acting all tough and macho, yet throwing in your genuinely funny comments about how you're punching with 'a stick with a glowing, rubber ball on top'. Watching him do movements with said stick+ball combo is surreal.

Then it's into the fray, battling opponents to work your way up the ranks. Your fists are mirrored perfectly by your character on screen, which is very satisfying indeed, and punching straight forward will cause your character's arm to to extend and his fist to collide with the face of your opponent. Swing in an arc and you'll deliver a punch to the side; Uppercut, and your guy will do likewise. So you don't feel the body against your fists, but hey, it's still you doing those movements.

If you've got two Move controllers then you're laughing, but with only a single rubberballed-stick, you'll have problems. The PS3 controller isn't very good as a motion-controller, and it feels as if you need to put far more force into the punches to make the game recognise your movements. This can cause you to move your arm more rapidly and with more force than is needed... and cause some serious pain. After a couple of hours, our whole left arm was swelling up and did not want us to continue.

Can't we all just get along?

Anyway, let's say you have two Move controllers - so this must be the perfect Move game, right? Here's a brief round-up of how our session went:

First hour: Punched some guys Second hour: Punched more guys, tried to mix up the punches, didn't help much Third hour: Still punching guys Fourth hour: We don't want to punch guys anymore

Indeed, this is the problem - punching people doesn't leave much room for variety. You can punch them high, punch them mid and punch them low. Then you can block, and... nope, that's about it. All this punching is very repetitive, and after just an hour or two, becomes incredibly boring.

It doesn't help that the game is graphically dull too. Character models and environments are mediocre at best, hence progression doesn't feel all that enticing. Why beat up some generic dudes when all you're going to get as a reward is even more generic dudes? There needs to be a really feeling of reward, and this is exactly what The Fight lacks.

Slap 'im!

So are we completely giving up on 'real' fighting games, then? Honestly, the only way we can see motion-controlled fighting games evolve is if they follow the route of Punch-Out! on the Wii, using timing and perhaps rhythm to create enjoyable fist-pumping gameplay. It's ironic that, to find a method for allowing state-of-the-art technology to shine in a certain area, we need to look to ideas of the retro past - but as it is, it turns out that throwing your fists about in your living room just isn't much fun at all.

The Fight, then - possibly one of the better fighting games we will see for the Playstation Move, yet still utterly dull and repetitive. Consider giving it a rent, but nothing more.

The Fight is available for Playstation 3. You'll need a Playstation Move controller too.

Top Game Moment: The Trejo tutorials