Along with every console launch comes the bad eggs. For Xbox 360, Perfect Dark Zero was less than perfect, and King Kong was laughable. For Xbox One, that game is Fighter Within. But compared to even the last generation’s bad launch titles, Fighter Within is a whole new beast. And just like that image above, this game is like a slap to the face.
The game, if you couldn’t guess from the title, is a fighting game. Two people in an arena, beating the tar out of one another. Or at least attempting to. See, Fighter Within is a Kinect exclusive game. You punch and jump with your body to execute the various commands for the game. And while this idea is cool in theory, there are two major problems:
1: The commands don’t work every time.
That’s not to say the commands don’t work. They do, and fairly well. I was able to pull off the move I wanted to about 85% of the time. The problem is that the other 15% is missed or incorrect commands. For anyone who is a fan of the fighting game genre, the precise input of commands is tantamount to becoming a skilled player. But when inputting a command has an occasional misfire, the entire flow of combat is broken. It is incredibly infuriating to try and put your opponent down with a well-thought-out string of commands, only to be roadblocked by the limitations of technology. Out of all the X1 launch titles, this one might be one of the most heavily Kinect reliant. So it doesn’t speak well that the Kinect just isn’t grabbing everything. While I’m not sure if that’s the hardware’s or the software’s fault, it’s not a good first impression with the new, beefier tech.
2: The combat system lacks depth.
For as much as I just talked about trying to string together commands, there is something I must clarify: there is a complete lack of depth to the combat system. There aren’t that many commands to input. So between you throwing attacks and your opponent trying to block them, there’s not a whole lot of strategy at play. And with the Kinect misfires, even if there was, it would be difficult to put together in a meaningful way. As far as fighting games are concerned, any game with a shallow combat mechanic and shoddy controls is bargain bin trash. That’s where this game belongs in the world of fighters.
Beyond the most pressing problems, there’s also the incredibly insipid single-player campaign. 21 missions that are something that I wouldn’t make my enemies play, if only for just the ridiculous story and completely mindless dialogue. I can’t even begin to describe how silly the 90-minute single-player story is, but let’s just say that Bulletstorm’s story looks like a Charles Dickens classic in juxtaposition.
Fighter Within is a game that could have been completely different and enjoyable had things just worked a little smoother. The problem is that they just don’t work well enough to make the game fun. Your joints and muscles will ache after a few hours of hopelessly trying to be better at a game that just won’t let you. The dialogue will make you cringe. There isn’t enough content to justify a full price purchase. And none of this even really matters because there’s so many better fighting games out there for cheaper. If you absolutely must play it, rent it. But even then, the value is in question.
On the upside, the game is kinda pretty to look at. That’s about all I can say nice about the title.