Girl Fight (XBLA) Review

girlfightreview
What we liked:
+ Visuals have their moments
What we didn't like:
- Combo system falls short
- Weird and confusing story
- Characters are not diverse
Sub-par
DEVELOPER: Kung Fu Factory   |   PUBLISHER: Majesco/ Microprose   |   RELEASE: 09/25/2013

Review
Most appropriate name ever.

It doesn’t take long to figure out exactly what Girl Fight wants to accomplish. As the name implies, this is a fighting game, featuring only female characters, and as one would imagine, they are all scantily clad. Developed by Kung Fu Factory, most recently known for the free-to-play Spartacus Legends, this brawler reminds me of the influx of wannabe fighters from the pinnacle of the genre. Nothing it does stands out among the sea of quality titles on the market, and its one hook is borderline creepy at times.

Amazingly, there is a story here, and one that tries to take itself seriously at all times. The women fighting here have been brought here by an entity known as THE FOUNDATION. The purpose is to train them in a virtual world to make better use of their psionic abilities. Story beats are delivered through weird dialogue in between matches, and of course, the only course for freedom is to beat the rest of the cast in one-on-one matches. It is really ridiculous.

I get what the developers were trying to do here, as is evident by the outfits the girls wear, not to mention the unlockable artwork players can win or unlock by finishing the arcade mode. This game is aimed at a specific audience, and I am not even sure they care about it.

This is a downloadable fighter that is about as bare bones as it gets. Characters have two core attacks, punch and kick, as well as a throw and block button. Combos are simple enough, consisting of directions and varying the punch and kick buttons. Sadly, combos are not the best recipe for winning. Almost every character feels the same, and the best way to victory is being aggressive. Once I beat the game with one character and learned how the systems worked, it was a breeze finishing it off with the rest of the cast.

There are counters and other advanced moves, but the timing is so off that it never works. I attempted countering in every match I played, only to realize that mastering the timing only led to continue screens, where if I remained aggressive I won every time. Not exactly a balanced fighter.

The most puzzling aspect of Girl Fight is the psionic powers. These special moves allow players to build up a meter, and then unleash a sort of special power such as stealing life, or taking less damage. What is puzzling about them is how they are activated. Having to press both the right bumper and right trigger at the same time is a weird button combo I did not like in a fighting game. I would have rather had to perform some sort of motion with the d-pad, or anything that felt more in line with a fighting game move.

Things don’t get much better in multiplayer. The online lobbies are all but extinct at this point, though I was able to get into a couple matches. It was not hard to see why everyone quit playing. Even the top ranked players had less than 100 matches under their belt, which is not good for a fighting game, even this early in its life. Competitive Girl Fight is about as much fun as the arcade mode, thus meaning whoever remains aggressive the longest usually wins the match. Mashing buttons achieved victory more often than not, and since the characters don’t really deviate between each other, it never mattered what character I played.

With any game like this, there are a ton of things to unlock including new skins for each character and of course more fighters; actually the rest of the fighters would be more appropriate. From the beginning only Warchild is available to play through the arcade mode. In order to unlock the rest, I had to beat the game with each previous character. Points are spent like currency to unlock the new skins and of course tantalizing artwork in the gallery, and even some dossiers of each of the characters. There is a lot to keep players busy, but I stopped caring long before it was all unlocked.

Visually the game looks fine for what it is. The stages are a bit limited and the animations are stiff, but the models are pretty decent. The music feels like it was lifted from a dubstep sample platter, and the voiceover that tells each story is stale and clichéd science fiction nonsense. I get what they were going for, but it just falls flat in almost every aspect.

Girl Fight is a game that lives up to its name, both in relevancy and simply being generic. Anyone thinking of jumping in knows what to expect, but if you want scantily clad fighters, there are much better options. Girl Fight is the kind of game that reminds me that Dead or Alive is much more than what it appears on the surface, and just plastering your title with sex appeal (?) is simply not enough. I wouldn’t recommend this title to anyone outside of the choice few who likely already picked it up.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Ken McKown

Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.

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