Reviews// Reality Fighters

Posted 13 Feb 2012 14:00 by
You wouldnít expect a game called Reality Fighters to be unrealistic. But here I am, playing as a Viking-inspired beefcake, wearing bunny ears and robot mech armour, smacking the crap out of a flourescent-coloured Jazzy Jeff ripoff with an electric guitar. All to impress a retired Mr. Miyagi (of Karate Kid fame). Not exactly your average brawl in the street, is it?

Instead, its namesake comes from the fact that it uses Augmented Reality - a technology that Sony has used to great success in PSP kidís title Invizimals - to place these larger-than-life cartoon combatants into any real-life environment using the built-in Vita camera. Thereís a selection of standard arenas based off of famous locations around the world, too, if you donít fancy using your living room or the back of a train seat.

By moving the device around the room, you can reposition the camera so that you can get a clear shot of the action. Thereís no doubt that Reality Fighters is a great showcase of the tech thatís crammed into the PlayStation Vita. You can even create your own stage and save it to memory by taking photos of the immediate area around you.

The first thing that the game encourages you to do, however, isnít fighting but creating your own character. Thereís lots of fun to be had in the customisation options here - as you could tell by the opening paragraph of this review - as you take a snap of your face and tweak your virtual body build and fashion sense. As you play through the game you earn stars which can be used to unlock more crazy gear. Ninja masks, spartan clothing, jester wear... all sorts. Costume props arenít just a cosmetic feature however - many will offer armour bonuses, so itís worth combining ridiculous combinations for the best defence.

While the actual Ďfightingí part of the game is competent and very accessible - you can use button combinations or touch screen swipes to execute devastating special moves - at its core it's woefully standard. Each character - a pastiche of certain pop culture icons and stereotypes - has a different fighting style with different special moves, but the moves list is rather shallow and the fighting mechanics donít really allow for any technical play. Rounds essentially boil down to button-mashing, hoping to get a hit in first without blocking. Street Fighter, it ainít - in fact, it feels a lot more like the Big Long Punch Up from The Fast Show.

At times, the AR camera can take away as much as it gives. For the added immersion that you get, you do find yourself fighting with your Vita as the camera has a tendency to automatically slide around without any input from you. Itís most apparent when you reposition the Vita to get a better look at the fighters, then hold the console still... only to find that the camera is magically moving away from you. It can be slightly frustrating.

Reality Fighters will not last you a very long time. Thereís a story mode that pits you against Mr Miyagiís best combatants, but this lasts for about two hours tops. A Time Attack mode has you beating up as many breakable objects as possible against the clock, but itís far too easy and there are only ten stages.

Survival mode may well be the only thing that will keep you returning to the game, besides the multiplayer features - but even when you compare this to other high profile fighting games on the market, Reality Fighters falls incredibly short.

In short, it's good for a budget curiosity, but when Vita comes at a premium price tag, you need to be prioritising the games that you're going to play on it. Reality Fighters is a good technical showcase for the console and does its job admirably enough, but there are other games on the handheld - and indeed, other fighting games coming soon - that should be higher up your list.

Pros:
+ Interesting AR features
+ Entertaining and accessible fighter
+ Impressive loading times

Cons:
- Far too short, incredibly easy
- Not as complex as other fighting games
- AR camera is at times a struggle to enjoy

SPOnG Score: 5 / 10
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