Fighter Within is the next-gen successor to Fighters Uncaged on the Xbox 360. The game was underwhelming on a critical scale and was labelled to be great in theory, but extremely poor in execution. Fighter Within launched with the Xbox One and was really the only game to rely on the Kinect 2.0. It is the sequel that nobody asked for and has a huge point to prove on both a technical scale for the Kinect, and to prove that the series isn’t shovelware.
I’d love to be able to say that Fighter Withins amazing graphics are its saving grace but this simply isn’t the case. It does look a lot better than Fighters Uncaged but that isn’t saying a whole lot. The game definitely doesn’t look horrible but considering this was Ubisoft’s only NEW next-gen launch game, I would’ve thought that they’d put a lot more tender, love and care into the game.
Sound effects are cheesy and exactly what you’d expect. The art style of the game is incredibly uninspired and this is the biggest let down. The game could’ve easily tried to pull off an over the top graphical style but instead, they opted for a more realistic approach which simply doesn’t match the ridiculous mechanics of the game.
Right from the get go things are tricky with using the Kinect 2.0 to control the game. Each menu item is pressed by hovering your hand over and pushing slightly inwards. This rarely works in the Xbox One menu so it’s no surprise that it barely works in-game. I’m guessing that this is more of a fault with the actual hardware than the game itself, but the developers chose to use this control method nonetheless. Thankfully, they do allow that you can use the Xbox controller to navigate the menus. This just shows that they’re aware of just how bad the game controls using Kinect though.
The first thing that you’ll try to attempt is Initiation mode. This starts out as a tutorial and also acts as your story mode. You are placed as a fighter who works his way up from the bottom in order to become the king of all fighters. That’s really all there is to it. There is a small story that’s intertwined but you’re never really going to care about it, or enjoy the game enough to get through it with any joy.
The entirety of Fighter Within’s fighting mechanics are still gesture based. General punches seem to work well in the beginning and never really feel like a struggle to get them to recognise. It is the low and high attacks that really require an effort to get going, but they still work. Blocking also works quite well but It is when you start to incorporate counters into your fighting, that you’ll see some problems. The timing that you require simply doesn’t work with the finicky Kinect 2.0 controls.
The other new addition is Ki, a magical power that acts as your special move in order to get it over your opponent. These are great in theory, but simply don’t work. I found myself trying to get these moves working but the game simply wouldn’t register them majority of the time. I was actually perplexed to how anybody could see this game as a releasable title.
You can definitely still win matches using the more basic gestures but it simply gets extremely repetitive and eventually unenjoyable. Multiplayer is the only redeeming part of the game. It’s still bad, but the fact that you’re enjoying how bad it is with somebody else makes it hilariously fun. You never know what to expect and it makes the game almost enjoyable for a brief amount of time.