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Fighters Uncaged


"Take a break if you become tired or sore."

No, not the advice given by union reps to ladies just starting out in a particular sector of the film business, but the message which appears when you boot up any Kinect-enabled game.

Well, Microsoft, much as I'd like to believe this concern for my well-being comes from the bottom of your heart, I don't. I think this is simply a precaution you're taking in case I try to sue you for not warning me that playing River Rush for 92 hours straight might result in achey legs.

The bad news is I'm suing you anyway. Because it's all very well telling me what to do if I become tired or sore, but at no point have you said what I'm supposed to do if I become enraged, exasperated, frustrated, fed up and bored.

These are all emotions experienced within minutes of booting up Fighters Uncaged. All right, it's a Ubisoft game, so Microsoft can't be held entirely responsible. But I wish I'd been warned.

The game box looks innocent enough. "Become the ultimate underground fighter!" reads the tagline on the back. "Charge head first into the vicious world of illegal street fighting. No guns. No blades."

It is of course questionable how vicious this world is considering knives and guns are banned, not to mention whether fights without weapons are actually illegal, but let's press on.

"No controller needed!" Just that £130 camera! "WICHTIG: Dieses Produkt ist durch technische Schutzmassnahmen kopiergerschuzt." Wow, a special warning in German! That must mean it's extra-violent! Or a bit violent. Or perhaps just has some really loud sound effects.

At this point, you might be excited by all that talk of blades and kopiergerschuzt. Or perhaps you're just thrilled at the prospect of playing a Kinect game which doesn't involve balls, dancing or leopards.

As you can see, everything about this game is incorrect.

But that enthusiasm will begin to dissipate right from the start of the intro movie which, with its static images of ugly men with stupid names rolling across the screen, looks like it has been stolen from 1994. The theme continues with the world's most rubbish sound effect, which is supposed to be breaking glass but sounds more like a fairy sneezing.

Before you can take part in an actual fight you must play through the most boring tutorial sequence in the history of the world. Because you couldn't work out for yourself that raising your right knee will make your on-screen avatar raise his right knee.

But here's the hilarious twist - it won't! Fighters Uncaged is so terrible at recognising your movements that any incidences of your avatar actually doing what you do are rare and precious moments to be treasured. When you raise your right knee, there is only a small chance your fighter will raise his. (Even if he does, the lag is so bad you will have either grown a beard or reached menopause by the time he gets round to it.) He is equally likely to do a kick, do nothing, perform a sweeping attack or, if he's feeling really creative, throw a punch.

The same goes for every other movement in the game. Fighters Uncaged just loves to keep you guessing. You never know whether that medium-range punch will be represented in the game as a medium-range punch, or perhaps a floor kick. The game often translates your moves as though it thinks you're trying to perform a wildly incoherent interpretive dance.

And remember, we're still only on the tutorial. It goes on for days, forcing you to repeat the simplest of moves again and again using both sides of your body. Yeah, you may have mastered raising the right knee, but bet you can't do the same with your LEFT knee! Tricky, eh?

To make matters worse, you get sent back to a tedious menu screen every single time you learn one of the hundreds of thousands of stupid moves. There are two options on this screen: "Skip" and "Start Training" (yes, even though you started the training 17 days ago). Why would you want to "Skip" anyway when all this does is send you back to the main game menu, where you'll be informed you can't have a proper fight till you've learned all the training moves?

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About the Author
Ellie Gibson avatar

Ellie Gibson


Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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