Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley
Fighters Uncaged is one of the new games that is available for the Xbox 360 Kinect. Kinect is an interactive video game system that demands you to use your whole body as the controller. The idea behind the system is a wonderful way to combat the stagnant video gamer who simply sits there and only exercises their fingers.
This new game touts itself as being a true mixed martial arts experience and bringing players the excitement of a real fight. The overall graphics of the game is well placed for this genre of gaming, reminding me of many of the street fighter type games with the gritty underworld feel. The game itself, however, is clunky and not nearly as enjoyable to play.
First off, when you start the game you must pass through their tutorial. This is a good thing as it quickly became clear that many of the "special" movements could only be performed with very specific body positions. That's right, I said body positions not movements. The mini-diagram that is supposed to illustrate the movement of the body and the explanation of what is needed to trigger the effects is drastically lacking. At one point in the night it took nearly 30-minutes just to figure out how they wanted us to do a downward crushing blow. And it took a kid (because kids seem to figure out all the tricks in games these days), who had the game and lived through our frustration, to explain it to us. Even then, the system kept missing the movement or interpreting the movement to be some other special.
The game recommends, dare I say screams at you, to stand with your feet in a straight line facing forward. For anyone that does any sort of fighting, this is one of the most awkward positions to be in. Your body is completely exposed and you feel vulnerable. Yet, if you don't stand this way, the system has difficult times picking up on your movements.
Beyond the tutorial, once you get into the game, the system is slow to register your moves. Because a single movement could lead into a variety of these pre-defined, complicated movements, the system attempts to process and figure out which of a variety of movements you're trying to perform or if you're trying to perform a special at all. Thus, moving at a normal fighter's pace, and not even one which is overly quick, the system regularly misses movements. The avatar ends up stuttering and making game play very frustrating.
Many moves can only be performed after a successful dodge, which is hard to do if the system isn't properly registering your position. There doesn't seem to be a way to perform even the simplest of blocks, which would be the more normal reaction to an attack. The pauses in the fight to show that the opponent is blinded or has some major issue is distracting and detracts from the fighting experience.
In fact, the only person of our group who did well was grandpa, who had no fighting experience at all and moved very deliberate and slowly.
In general, I can understand why there would be a desire to not have true fighting techniques in a game. After all, this is for entertainment and to truly teach fighting could have negative consequences if not done correctly. I could even live with having the movements not real fighting at all if the game didn't have such a hard time picking up and translating the actions.
If you enter this game hoping you'll learn something about fighting, you'll be sorely disappointed. If you enter this game with the mentality or mindset of a true fighter, you'll be sorely disappointed. Overall, this has been one of the worst Kinect program I've had the experience of playing so far. I hope that either better programming or camera or game comes out that will be more enjoyable in the near future and better showcase Martial Arts.