The Fight: Lights Out

You Got A Little In Ya

The Fight: Lights Out offers the most accurate motion-controlled fighting experience out there, but is that really saying much?
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: December 27, 2010
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What a long and interesting road The Fight: Lights Out has taken to get to where it is now. Released as a "bargain" price (read: at the same price point as any of the first-party stuff from last generation), the motion-controlled brawler is one part intriguing tech demo and another... well, there's a game here, but it requires quite a bit more than the seemingly all-inclusive act of just punching in mid-air would suggest.

In truth, the actual fun found in The Fight is something that happens naturally by just futzing with how accurate the controls are. It's a perfect example of that oft-overused industry buzzword: emergent gameplay. Nearly all of the online fights I experienced might have started early as a proper throwdown, but by the end they descended into a fit of whirling limbs and inadvertent gut-busting laughs. This is a game that's fun not necessarily because the developers were really able to harness to the tech in a driving way, but because of the kind of upper torso motion sandbox they created.

That's not to belittle what developer ColdWood Interactive was able to create. Make no mistake; this is not a simple screensaver where one does a vague action and the game just barfs out magical points for the effort rather than accuracy. In stark contrast, the game is, well, a game, something that has a point, has difficult AI, has to be considered while in a very particular headspace and offers some basic carrot-on-a-stick unlocks to provide a sense of progression.

Bear in mind, too, that this was a game first debuted this year at the Game Developers Conference and was, not to be too harsh, universally drubbed as being a half-assed implementation of what the Move was purported to offer in terms of sub-pixel accuracy. There was of course the small caveat that all of us playing the game early considered: it was early. These are, for good or ill, first-gen Move games, and if that meant pre-canned animations had to rule, then we'd hope for a proper sequel.

As it turned out, that wasn't necessary. In an unusually prescient (or at the very least, observant) move, ColdWood ditched the pre-canned stuff for normal fights while months away from release and went back to the drawing board, whipping up a solution that leverages the actual 3D space interaction of Move without feeling too spastic. The result is a game that works -- and works well -- if you can deal with some interesting ground rules.

The most basic is likely the least intuitive, however: you can't really move your feet -- or at least you're not supposed to -- as it tends to break calibration. So long as you've done a good job in the two- or three-second calibration sequence before every (yes, every) fight, you can just re-center things by moving your hands to a default position and hitting the Circle Button. It's not quite as perfect as just staying planted, but with head tracking enabled, it can be extremely hard not to bounce and bob a little.
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