|System: PS Vita|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
This year at E3, the fighting game genre lacked in quantity. While there were a million and one different shooters to choose from, fighting game fans were basically limited to Street Fighter X Tekken (which was awesome), Skullgirls (which was even more awesome), Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (which was Tekken 6 with a tag button), or SoulCalibur V (which had no public showings.) Starved for new titles in my favorite genre, I turned to Reality Fighters on the PS Vita to get my fix. Hey! Who spiked my fighting game with a casual augmented reality game?
Augmented reality is the big thing on portables these days, so it only makes sense we would see an AR fighting game at some point. I had just hoped that Sony's Reality Fighters wasn't going to be that game. The game is easily eighty-five percent ARG and fifteen percent fighter, with a larger focus on showing off the PS Vita's new tech than constructing any sort of interesting gameplay system.
Now, don't get me wrong. The ARG aspects of Reality Fighters are kind of cool. In fact, the character creation system alone makes people go "ooooh" and "aaaah." The very first thing you do is take a picture of a face with the PS Vita's camera. It can be a real-life picture or just a photo of a celebrity from a magazine or something. Most people will probably make a fighter with their own face, but, personally, I am going to fill my copy with clones of Barack Obama fighting Britney Spears.
So once you have a face, you then have to customize your brawler's body. You get to choose your fighters gender, height, muscle mass, and so on. It's the basic creation system you have seen in pretty much every game that has a creation system, from SoulCalibur to WWE Smackdown V Raw. (For the record, my Obamas will have Britney Spears' body and vice versa.)
Then, of course, you have to customize their clothing. You can dress your characters up as pirates, monks, clowns, and many other weird and random things. Over 300 pieces of clothing are included, with even more to be available on the game's online store when it releases. Not only that, the game will have over 200 weapons to outfit your fighter with ranging from swords and staves to cats. Yes, cats.
Well, that's not all. The game allows you to choose your characters' fighting style, and these, too, can range from realistic to just plain goofy. Ninja and zombie are two of the styles to choose from, along with selections from boxer to ballet.
So if you can't tell yet, this game is pretty ludicrous. (I have already made plans for a female ninja Barack Obama to fight with a cat against a male zombie Britney Spears in his/her underwear.)
Then you have to choose a fight locale, which is basically another real-world photo/image. You can have your fighters do battle anywhere from your room to a parking lot to the show floor of E3. The engine is even cool enough to cast smart shadows on the characters depending on the lighting in the real-world setting.
So once you have all these things put together, you are finally ready to fight. That's when you realize the fighting in the game is atrocious. Nearly every report we have heard has described the fighting as slow, plodding, and uninteresting, and this is exactly true. There aren't any cool systems to take advantage of; it's just two characters, two life bars, and honestly clunky controls. A comparison has been made to Street Fighter II here—basically, the game is supposed to stand on its simplicity—but it's not nearly solid enough to warrant such a comparison. Honestly, it's hard to get your character to do anything you want them to do. In the end, you'll just end up throwing out pokes endlessly while trying to catch your opponents off guard.
The ARG tech in Reality Fighters is really quite fun to toy with, but that all fades when you get to the real game. Luckily enough, it's still in its very early days of design, so Sony can probably rework the system to at least be fun at the casual level. Add some combos, some super moves, and a real balance system, and this could be a nice little diversion.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: January 16, 2012