Since the dawn of time, man has had the inbuilt desire to punch things. Rival caveman snooping around? Punch it. A pterodactyl trying to eat your face? Punch it. Found a prospective mate? Punch it. Since the dawn of gaming, developers have fed this inbuilt need to mash things up. From IK+, to Streets of Rage and on to Street Fighter 4, the majority of us still have an urge to mess things up. Ubisoft obviously know about this urge and have given 360 Kinect owners a reason to get up, drop the controller and beat things up, with Fighters Uncaged.
After launching the game, you are presented with a few basic options, mainly boiled down to ‘Fight’ or ‘Lessons.’ Lessons will give you a run through of the basic combat moves you will need to employ to KO your opponents. Some jabs, a few hooks, a kick or two, you already know the drill. As you complete these lessons, it will let you progress onto the harder moves such as sweeping kicks, backhand to the face and other fancier tricks. The biggest problem is that as the moves get more complicated, the Kinect struggles to keep up with what you actually want to do. Where other fighting games have button mashing, Fighters Uncaged has body mashing. Flail around and you will hurt things. It works for the early training but the game has flaws that are apparent as you progress.
After your initial flailing…I mean training, you set out to punch the world into submission by punching several guys, well, into submission. Not the most in-depth plot for a game but Fighters Uncaged it not winning any awards for its writing. At the early stages, you fight against a variety of men who telegraph every move with a ridiculous windup sequence. This makes it easy to see what is coming and react, but Kinect makes this so much harder than it should be. Since the early enemies move as fast as Human Statues, you also have to slow down your combat speed, which is nice for the Kinect but not so great for the gamer. The main issue with the game is as the game gets harder, faster and more complex, Kinect starts to make you really suffer, since it cannot keep up with your desire to punch things into oblivion. As you progress through the story, you fight a variety of punching bags that have slightly different styles. Some are big and hate long range attacks, some have heads made out of watermelons, so you’re advised to punch them, not much variety is really in the game and certainly don’t expect any fireballs or teleport moves.
Not the most stunning representation of pugilistic rage, but there is one thing it will make you do, sweat. Even after the early training fights, which have you fighting the same guy four times, the constant punching and kicking really does give you a work out. If you are not a seasoned octagon fighter like me, you might find yourself getting a bit warm. If you want something for Kinect that is not a fitness game like Your Shape, or even a dancing game like Dance Central, Fighters Uncaged is a good alternative to other workout games.
Just like punching things, there is simplicity to Fighters Uncaged. You don’t get bogged down with Ultra Combo’s, Guard Breakers or Juggles, you just punch things. While this is great for beginners, the game ultimately lacks depth. After a few fights, you really have seen everything, and if you happen to really love your fighting games Fighters Unleashed will leave you hungry for more interesting things to punch.
Fighters Uncaged is a nice addition to the Kinect library but ultimately is lacks substance, which prevents it from ever becoming a ‘Must Have’ game. An interesting diversion but once the game has brutally punched your face off, you will be unlikely to return for a second round.
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