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Fighters Uncaged Preview

Feature; Aug. 21, 2010; Channels: Video Games; By Jenner David Cauton
Subtypes: Preview
Move over Wii Fit; meet Wii Kick.

The current showcase of games with the upcoming Xbox 360 Kinect are less than appealing. Mainly, the games aren't really considered the typical standard of what one would play for hours at a time, or "hardcore" as many put it. While the Kinect seems to be viable in translating many different movements you perform to in-game actions, one thing I have noticed it lacks in nearly all its games is moving your character's feet. The ability to actually move your character in the game's world seems to be largely missing. Even if you're moving your character to dodge obstacles you're always in a static position. From what I've seen, Kinect seems to concentrate only on the players arms and face, and I can probably understand why. It would be difficult to translate to the game the difference between moving forward, walking in place or doing some kind of action with your feet. If walking forward requires you to literally walk forward, you'd probably have no choice but to walk forward right into your TV.

Because of this one limitation I don't foresee any real hardcore games coming for the Kinect, unless Kinect can invent something that appeals to our interest as gamers just as much as either "killing the bad guy" or "actually moving around." Something that a game simple as the very first Mario Brothers had.

However in the meantime, there is one common genre that the Kinect can easily translate: fighting games.

Fighters Uncaged ScreenshotsClick to view game screenshots.

Set to compete with Sony's "Move"-controlled "The Fight: Lights Out," Microsoft's Kinect-enabled "Fighters Uncaged" is labeled to be the first hardcore game for it's motion based controller. Characters have access to about 70 different moves for each character that can hopefully translate well with the player's movements. Players will also gain the ability to upgrade their character as well as acrade style hotseat multiplayer, but whether or not this will be online remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, the game has been reported to have a slight but noticeable delay between the player's movements and their avatar's actions. Part of this could be because the technology just hasn't gotten it right yet, but then again it could just be a matter of getting used to the timing. After all, it will be interesting to see how well the game can tell the difference between high and low kicks, punches, etc.

The game's roster has characters that adopt the Thai style of boxing. Boxing, not martial arts. Those hoping to throw exotic machine gun kicks, pile drivers, 30+ hit combos or Hadoukens might be disappointed. About the most aggressive move seen in the game's trailer is a double jumpkick in the chest, of which more than likely doesn't require the exact same movement from the player (unless you like spending money on hospital fees).

If you were ever looking for a game where you can live your anime inspired dreams of screaming out the names of every single special move you do while performing it, look no further than this game. In fact if you're nerdy enough to do this in other games anyway, you can find some solace here that your cheesy public embarrassment won't be a waste, because this game actually requires you to do so. Yes, the game does sport special moves, although the execution of them doesn't really require any complex movements. Unless your name is Ryu (or Criss Angel) and currently don't exist in this earthly realm, I sincerely doubt the average human being can perform a Tatsumaki Senpuu-Kyaku, let alone shoot fire from their hands (and if you can, the Kinect might just translate it as an accidental punch, so stop showing off). A meter fills up when you dodge blows and when this meter fills up to max, you can then perform voice-activated special moves. Voice-activated, meaning you can just say something and the character does it. This would probably make your avatar perform the flashiest of moves the game has to offer, but if it's voice-activated, this means no physical input from you. Still, if you're even mildly expected to play this game for regular hours on end just like any other game, expecting the average person to perform such complex moves for hours on end would be too physically demanding. In this case, a voice-activated specific command is probably the best way to go. Unfortunately, this also activates the attention of people around you in the same room.

We've progressed quite far in motion control technology. It seems the technology to mapping out actions to approximate body gestures has been realized, but disabling the ability for a character to actually move around in the environment more or less destroys the very concept of gaming. It might be a while before we see motion games truly mimic the playability of what we see in so many movies that deal with such things, such as virtual reality, but if you think about it, do you really want them to become that real?

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