Fighters Uncaged

You’ve got a Microsoft Kinect sensor for your Xbox 360 and are looking to do something more than just stroke cute kittens or drive cars with your hands. In steps Fighters Uncaged, a rather standard fighting game given a Kinect twist - meaning that you have to physically punch and kick your way to victory.

Now instead of learning how to be the ultimate fighting machine with a series of button combos you’ve got to get up and prove your stuff as if you were in the actual ring.

We say ring, but that’s putting it loosely. This is Fighters Uncaged of course and that means you’ll be fighting in a series of different locations. Not that it makes a difference, you won’t be able to interact with the environment anyway.

What you will be able to interact with is the 12 different fighters (you start with six) you are up against and each of them, as you might expect, has a different fighting style and therefore strengths and weaknesses for you to take advantage of.

Getting to those fights is the first challenge. Why? Because you’ve got to work your way through a series of training sessions (hours of training sessions in fact) that makes sure you know how to perform a left knee to the ribs, and so on.

Once you’ve done your degree in fighting, you get to put those different skills into practice. The moves are broken down into long range, medium range or short range. Depending on where you are in relation to your opponent will depend on the moves you can perform successfully. No point head-butting your opponent if you’ve just kicked him out of reach is there?

Those moves have to be physically performed in front of your TV. Before you panic that your actual leg and arm placement will need to be replicated perfectly on screen, don’t. Your real-life move is a trigger for the action on screen. An uppercut will result in an uppercut in the game, but you don’t have to be able to do a head kick to perform a head kick (something mid-height will work thankfully).

Sounds great doesn’t it? For the most part we found it works, but that leaves the “other part”, and that’s where it gets frustrating. Work those round-house punches too quickly and it won’t be able to keep up. Expect to perform lots of moves that just don’t make it on screen. Either way as you can imagine, it’s fairly energetic stuff and one that you should avoid if you don’t enjoy exercise. After a bevy of fights you will be knackered.

In fight, like most fighting games, it is best of three and in an attempt to bring something new to the mix your opponents have a confidence bar that you can knock to help you strike deadly blows. Make contact over and over again or block his hits and it all builds up. You can’t however use the Kinect’s voice sensor to shout general abuse at the TV to make a difference.

Once your enemy's confidence is knocked you can go about giving them a beating. If you’re really good that means combos and in turn power to strike a killer blow - at this point you can use your voice.

If all this sounds rather complicated, it isn't. Fighters Uncaged is a very simple game, overly so, with no online player options, no two player fights in your living room (too dangerous Ubisoft tells us), and no storyline.

Those that are worried about getting to grips with the 70-odd moves will be pleased to see there are way too many tutorials, training stages, and general advice to take in, with the game waiting until you’ve mastered the training levels, before unleashing you on some basic fighters before unlocking tougher opponents much later on.

Verdict

If this didn't have the Kinect element to it, Fighters Uncaged would be one to avoid. It’s a rather dull beat-em up that offers little to the genre or your life.

As it is, the Kinect element throws it a much needed lifeline that offers you something, but not much in the way of a game that you’ll want to keep coming back to over and over again.

You’ll be done by the time the night is through, suggesting this is one to rent rather than buy.



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