An Xbox 360 Kinect fighting game, where you control an in-game combatant using your arms and legs, makes perfect sense. But is the Xbox’s Fighters Uncaged a knockout? Or does it simply illustrate that the motion-control technology just isn’t quite there yet?
As a veteran of the PS3’s The Fight: Lights Out, I was interested to see the Xbox 360’s stab at the motion-controlled fighting game. The first thing I noticed was that, while you are the controller, you’re not directly controlling the in-game fighter. Fighters Uncaged amplifies your movements, allowing you to deliver blows without accidentally kicking your TV or pulling a muscle. This is a good thing, as it defines this as a proper game rather than another one of those pretentious workout "games”. I’m not saying you won’t get tired; you will. But you’re also not going to pass out at the end of a bout.
Instead of just being limited to a fist fight, Fighters Uncaged lets you punch, kick and knee your opponents. This is all achieved by an unavoidably complex series of body movements. You will not look like a graceful Bruce Lee when playing this game; you will look like an idiot. Your friends will laugh at you, and your husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend may disown you.
Fighters Uncaged allows the meekest, mild-mannered players to kick ass and take down some nasty-looking and progressively difficult behemoths. And that’s the game in a nutshell. If you are looking for depth, it is not here. This is a fighting game that makes Street Fighter look like The Lord of the Rings.
Fighters Uncaged does seem to throw the much-discussed accuracy of the Kinect into doubt. There is a tendency for the game to misread your movements, resulting in a handy, but unintentional, kick or punch that’ll floor your opponent. Better than not registering any movement, I suppose, but it still feels like cheating.
In the end we are left, as is the case with all the "non-fitness” motion control titles, with a glimmer of the greatness to come, but poorly executed and rushed out the door. It seems that Microsoft and Sony, in their desperate grab for the Wii crowd, have forgotten to inject the same about of fun into their offerings. If you have a Kinect and want to justify your purchase, Fighters Uncaged isn’t it. I’m afraid you will have to look elsewhere.