Review: Girl Fight
Calling all hot-blooded males to the stage! Girl Fight is here on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. But does Girl Fight have a fighting chance against the current build of beat ’em ups?
A shadow organisation known as the ”Foundation” has acquired several female figures, all experts in their field of fighting techniques as well as individuality in terms of personality, way of life etc, and has conducted experiments on them for an unknown reason. Your job is to find out why. Think of it as a cross between Ghost in The Shell and Assassin’s Creed. Arcade mode is your story mode and allows you to play through with each of the eight fighters and experience their own individual journey to find the answers they seek. Between each fight, a mysterious voice will tease you with information about your selected character and how they’re involved with the Foundation.
It’s pretty basic stuff, but actually intriguing. However, this interest may be waned by the time you play arcade mode with your second or third character. There’s not much space for fleshing out the story here. Traditionally in fighting games, the player is awarded a special cut-scene at the end of that particular arcade playthrough. Not so much with Girl Fight. The only way you’ll truly learn the story for the eight ladies is to unlock their numerous bio’s from the game’s store, and to be fair, there’s a lot of story here. The developers have evidently taken the time to mould each character’s story through the game’s bio menus. Everything from physical evaluations to psychiatric evaluations can be read for each fighter, and believe me, there’s a lot to read.
But this is one area in which the game suffers. The characters are just not that interesting. There really is no need to find out everything there is to know about each lady, and when you try, feels more like a chore rather than a genuine interest. It’s an unfortunate blow to Girl Fight as I personally would have enjoyed finding out what makes each character tick through a more worked-out arcade/story mode. Yes, this is a downloadable arcade title, but the work that went into the bios could have been used much more effectively in the arcade mode.
Girl Fight feels like the Dead or Alive series, only less thought out. You have a button for punches, a button for kicks, a button for throws and a button for blocking. Pressing the movement stick in conjunction with punches or kicks will allow you to perform different styles of said offences, which also allows for some nifty combos. The game is a 3D fighter, but plays more like a 2D one. The reason for this is, while you are able to move around your opponent by holding up or down on the controller, there’s not much need for it. You will notice that you will be primarily sticking on a one on one playing field rather than the traditional eight-point movement system used in 3D fighters such as the Soul Calibur and Tekken series. You are also able to use counters in Girl Fight which, again will remind you instantly of Dead or Alive, except less robust. Counters simply consist of one high counter and one low counter, but pin-point precision is required.
The AI in Girl Fight is quite awkward and often unfair, and actually reminded me of the AI in the early Mortal Kombat games. The AI will react to your movements which will in turn interrupt your moves. As you begin to press the punch or kick button, the AI will often, as fast as lightening chop your feet with a punch of its own, and much like Dead or Alive, if you even think of blocking, you best be prepared to get thrown almost immediately. Blocking in this game is an almost useless tool when up against the computer.
Aside from the punches and kicks, Girl Fight has implemented a system known as ”PSI”. The girl’s have the ability to perform psychic-like abilities such as stunning your enemy for a period of time or engulfing your body in flame which takes a small chunk of your health bar in return for inflicting greater damage to your opponent. You can also upgrade your PSI by purchasing them in the store. This adds a level of strategy to the combat system and makes the game more enjoyable, however, against the AI will be almost next to useless.
Your best bet is to start in training mode and access your selected girl’s command list. Here, you’ll learn about the crumpling or stun system very familiar to Dead or Alive 5’s where performing certain combos will make your opponent completely vulnerable to a devastating follow-up combo. One problem I had with training mode was not being able to select a certain combo I wanted to practice and have it displayed on my screen at all times to memorise it. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not particularly hard to master, but it would have been nice not having to constantly pause the game, scroll down to the command list section, and then scroll down more to find that combo I wanted to try.
I previously mentioned the store, and it’s here where you can unlock a variety of things using the currency system which you obtain by fighting either offline or online. At the store, you can purchase character bios, PSI, costumes and pictures at a price. And yes, many of the costumes and pictures will have some level of nudity in them. It wouldn’t be a girl-based beat ’em up without it, let’s be honest.
Girl Fight looks dated, there’s no denying it. It looks like a last-gen fighter, if not maybe even a high-end PlayStation one title, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Despite the dated graphics, Girl Fight still has a certain charm about it. The cell-shading looks nice and the stages themselves are great to look at. And speaking of things that are great to look at, I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that jiggling boobs make more than an appearance in the game. This also goes for the art-work. There are some um… illustrations that I’m sure will make a lot of guys out there quite happy, especially if you complete arcade mode with each fighter (free tip, no charge). It’s not a bad looking game, far from it, Girl Fight is a downloadable title that passes where graphics are concerned.
Where this game shines the most is the soundtrack. There are some really great tunes on this game and found myself pumped up as I was fighting towards a techno and electronic soundtrack. As far as sound effects and speech goes, this game passes, but only just. There are some nice effects that make you feel the attack you’ve landed, this goes doubly for some of the nice looking throws in the game. The announcer in Girl Fight is a nice touch and will comment when a combo lands or when someone blocks an attack.
The big issue presentation wise is the screen jumps. This game has lag when playing offline. I’ve been in situations when I’ve knocked the AI across the screen and have waited for the perfect moment to run up to them and kick them when they get up, but as I press the kick button, the game lags for a split second and my input was never registered, and so I was punished by the AI for just standing there. It’s like the AI has a lag switch! This can be extremely frustrating and lends weight to the great suspicion that Girl Fight was rushed out to retail after a long development period, rather than making sure all the bugs were completely ironed out.
To sum up
Girl Fight’s biggest flaw comes down to its lack of originality and its borrowed ideas. It’s not a bad game by any means, but it’s a forgettable one. There’s still some enjoyment to be had, however. There’s actually a lot of content in the game for you to sniff out and experience. A great idea would be to slap this on at a party where you can just mess around with each other without any real aggressive competitiveness, because at the end of the day, we won’t be seeing Girl Fight at the tournament scene, but that’s okay, Girl Fight knows this, and for the low retail price, it’s certainly a fighter that you can just sit back and chill with a group of friends who aren’t big on beat ’em ups. You can certainly button bash your way to victory, but the effort to learn every combo in the game is much to be desired. Think of Girl Fight as the poor man’s Dead or Alive.
- Low cost fighter
- Great soundtrack
- Lots to unlock
- Variety of modes
- Uninteresting characters
- Lack of originality
- Borrowed ideas
- Awkward AI
- Offline lag