The Fight: Lights Out Review

By Matt Cabral - Posted Nov 19, 2010

Sony's take on motion-controlled brawling delivers an edgy presentation and satisfying fisticuffs…when they work. Unfortunately, touchy controls keep The Fight: Lights Out from being little more than a lightweight contender.

The Pros
  • Fighting feels great...when it works
  • Gritty presentation kicks cute boxing games in the groin
  • Danny Trejo brings a welcomed B-Movie vibe
The Cons
  • Mechanics are unreliable, unintuitive
  • The Move isn't always responsive
  • Stripped down career mode

The Fight: Lights Out Review:

Those who found the PlayStation Move’s cute and casual launch line-up too Wii-like, will immediately be drawn to The Fight: Lights Out. Sony’s motion-controlled brawler joins the ranks of previous arm-flailing fighters such as Kinect Sport’s and Wii Sport’s boxing, but its bare-knuckle approach is gritty enough make those other games’ cartoony avatars soil their gym shorts.

Unfortunately, The Fight hasn’t put as much care into crafting its gameplay and mechanics as it has into polishing its Fight Club-wannabe presentation, ultimately offering an experience that could have benefited from more training before entering the ring.

Dirty Fighter

Before we get to its bruises though, lets talk about what The Fight gets right. Foregoing the rainbow-colored vibrancy of the competition’s visuals for a mostly black and gray palette, its presentation effectively sells its underground vibe. From back alleys and warehouses, to abandoned buildings and basements, the environments also complement the pulpy presentation. Tough-guy fighters, who nicely display real-time damage during a bout, also come in a variety of black leather-sporting and wife beater-wearing varieties--you definitely won’t catch any of these dudes sipping a gingerbread latte at Starbucks.

Upping its street cred even further, The Fight stars bad-to-the-bone character actor Danny Trejo. The Machete star hams it up well, mostly just showing up during training tutorials to yell at you and look pissed off. His hilariously cheesy performance will no doubt be criticized by anyone who hasn’t enjoyed his similar on-screen personas, but if you know Trejo’s silver screen work, you’ll appreciate his bat-s*%t crazy charm. Watching him snarl at you while wielding the bulbous Move wands is priceless.

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Punch Drunk

While The Fight’s B-movie aesthetic is pretty spot-on, its gameplay is, well, spotty. With two Move controllers essentially working as virtual fists, players mimic punches and blocks. There’s also a variety of dirty fighting moves, such as hammer fists and head butts, which require some additional button inputs.

Additionally, the Eye camera tracks head movements, so bobbing and weaving your noggin’ also factors into the fisticuffs. When these mechanics function properly, The Fight feels great; avoiding a rocketing fist to the face, then following it up with a jaw-cracking blow never gets old. Even just evading and exchanging less powerful quick jabs delivers a satisfying in-the-fight feel. Sadly, these rewarding moments are often mixed with frustrating ones that will have you wondering if some phantom fighter has taken control from you--punches won’t land where you’re certain you’ve directed them, blocks won’t properly register, and head maneuvers will put you in the path of a punch instead of out of harm’s way.

Making matters worse is the fact that living room pugilists must keep their feet firmly planted at all times. It’s natural to want to dance like a butterfly when you’re stinging like a bee, so this forced immobility robs the experience of the realism it otherwise strives for. Your fighter can sidestep and move forward, but these integral maneuvers are button-mapped to the Move controllers. This results in a twofold problem: not only do these moves feel inorganic to the fist-flying action, but accidentally doing what feels natural--moving your feet--makes the motion-sensing tech wig out.

When The Fight’s working properly, it admittedly feels pretty damn good to blacken the eyes and rattle the teeth of its roster of alley-dwelling lowlifes. And if you stick with it, learning to account for its errors, you’ll find there’s a long line of creeps waiting to knock your block off.

The career mode is strictly bare bones stuff, basically parading you through a series of increasingly difficult bouts. But winning matches does yield experience points and money, which can be spent on physical attributes and personal items, respectively. The latter is purely cosmetic, maybe allowing your fighter to buy a shirt to wear under his sleeveless vest, and the RPG-light stat-building stuff seems to effect performance only moderately. While upping stamina, strength and speed, might feed your just-one-more-level addiction, it ultimately feels like a meaningless mechanic. Stamina, rage and health gauges work just as expected, however, and inject some strategy into the fist-to-face action

Shouda' Been A Condender

Armchair ass-kickers can also take The Fight online, participating in ranked an unranked matches. The option to whip your buddies’ butts and see how you stack up against around-the-world brawlers is a nice--generally lag-free—addition. Duking it out with live opponents also feels noticeably different from trading blows with AI opponents. Regardless of whose face you're attempting to grind into hamburger, you’ll also find The Fight gives you one hell of a workout--dedicated exercise games won’t make your muscles this sore.

Ironically enough, The Fight’s full of hits and misses. The edgy presentation and no-holds-barred attitude is a welcome change from the happy-fun-time fighting motion-gaming as thus far delivered. Coupled with mean street tactics, this approach works well, temporarily turning your den into a fight club. Unfortunately, the immersion-breaking unreliability of the mechanics, unnatural moves, and stripped down campaign makes The Fight a bit of a lightweight.

Still want to play it? Why not rent it at Gamefly?