Since its release, early adopters of the PlayStation Move have been looking for new experiences tailored to mature and core audiences. The Fight: Lights Out is Sony's first real attempt to cater the PS Move towards these markets by providing violent and gritty bare-knuckle boxing action. Is this game a contender? Or is it destined to take a beating?
Starting with a fairly robust character-creation mode, the game immediately follows into a series of unintentionally-hilarious video tutorials hosted by none other than 'Machete himself', actor Danny Trejo. These videos manage to perfectly set the tone for everything else to come -- but not in a good way. From the gritty urban setting to an angry Trejo speaking as if he is passing a kidney stone, the game fails to muster any kind of edginess. It tries to be so tough, but watching Trejo teach you how to fight in an aggressively over-the-top way while waving hot pink and baby blue-lit PS Move controllers, makes it completely impossible to take seriously. The tutorial ends up being much more of a gut-buster than the fighting could ever hope to be. You'll be down for the count, but probably because you're rolling with laughter. These videos really are horrendously bad, recalling the days of the Sega CD at its very worst.
After undertaking a laborious calibration process (which happens before every single fight), Trejo will take you step-by-step through all of the basics you will need to learn in order to handle yourself in a fight. These include moving your fighter, ducking and weaving, blocking and throwing punches. These are all fairly self-explanatory, aside from the need to press buttons for certain actions that really shouldn't need buttons. You'd think that blocking would be as simple as holding your dukes up towards your face, but many times we would lose calibration and would have to hold the O button on the PS Move to calibrate the fighter in the right direction again. This can feel extremely unnatural and it'll take some time to get used to pressing it before you think about throwing your hands up.
Throwing punches seems like something that'd work quite naturally with the PS Move controller. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. No matter how hard and fast you throw your punches, your on-screen counterpart moves with the speed and precision of a blindfolded senior citizen trying to whack a piñata. I kept finding that while some of the time my punches would hit their target, I'd also have a frustrating amount of my punches go way off the mark. It also doesn't help that even when your punches do connect, they are weak and ineffectual.
Moving your fighter involves holding down the Move button and tilting one of your Move controllers either to the sides or forward (Trejo's deadly serious demonstration of how this works is sensational). As the game requires you to stand in the same spot for the entirety of the fight, moving around at all will cause the camera to misplace you, making your punches even more inaccurate than they already are. Add to this the fact that most of opponents keep just walking backwards, or other classic fighting tactics, such as constantly walking around you in a circle and you will be spending much of the fight not punching with one hand because you're holding your controller forward in an effort to catch up.
The Fight also uses the PlayStation Eye to employ a head-tracking system that would theoretically allow for the game to capture your head movements during a fight. Unfortunately, despite being in a well-lit room, the game would tell us that our lighting condition was 'terrible' and the head-tracking mode would drop out within the first moments of a match. We then tried to remedy the situation by setting up our professional lighting-rig. The game still deemed our lighting 'terrible' and the same thing happened once again. It makes me wonder what kind of conditions the average consumer of this game will have to produce to get the game working properly. 'Lights Out' indeed.
Single Player mode provides the player with an uninspired career of visiting locations seen on a pyramid of Polaroid photos, to fight a bunch of bland boxers seen on the backs of a bunch of playing cards (also formed in a pyramid). This has to be the single most unimaginative tournament career to hit a fighting game this generation. Competing in these battles earns you points which can be spent improving your character's attributes. You also earn money, which can be spent on luxurious items that your fighter isn't used to owning, such as shoes, or a shirt. Multiplayer isn't any better, offering a 2-player mode that's even messier than the single player game.
The Fight also tries to employ a stamina-system similar to EA's Fight Night series. Though it worked well as an element of strategy in that series, it's extremely misplaced and redundant in this game. What is the reasoning behind the addition of a stamina bar in a motion-controlled game? When the player is the one that is actually throwing the punches, it only makes sense that your character's tiredness should be judged by your actual performance. If you're getting tired playing the game, then your character's actions should reflect your slower and weaker punches. On the flip side, it's completely absurd to have your fighter weak and out of breath, while you are perfectly fine and still throwing powerful punch motions. I understand that its inclusion into the game is to give players a reason to hit the gym and work on their character's stats, but it still provides an awkward disconnect for the player.
The graphics can at best be described as 'adequate'. The little-to-no color approach definitely suits the game's gritty underground styling; however this leads to a fairly bland and boring visual presentation that lacks any sense of personality. Character models are fine and show signs of damage during the course of a match -- however the characters themselves are less than memorable looking, and environments range from downtrodden alleyways, to downtrodden basements. Needless to say, wherever the game takes you, it will be depressing.