Half an hour into Sony's The Fight: Light's Out, and I'm sprawled on the office sofa, mopping sweat from my forehead and inhaling as much Ventolin as my lungs will allow. Whilst it's embarrassing to admit, this is probably the most exercise I've done all year. If the games industry persists in its obsession with motion titles, editors of fine publications such as this site are going to have to start including fitness tests in their interviews for new writers. My character in the game is in a much worse state than I am, however: His face is a canvas for bruises, cuts and blood, and he squints out of puffy black eyes. Bones in both his arms have been broken, and several of his ribs are cracked. Amazingly, he's in this condition after a win. It's a classic case of "you should have seen the other guy..."
Unlike the majority of Move titles available at launch, The Fight is not the kind of game you'll find families playing after their Christmas dinners - unless, that is, your family consists of cage fighters, ex-convicts and gang members. This is a game that concerns itself with the seedy world of underground brawling. It contains copious amounts of violence and blood, and is complimented with a dirty hip-hop soundtrack. Despite a long list of flaws that I shall address later, it captures the grittiness of scene fairly well. Not that I'd know mind you - illegal punch-ups have never really been my thing.
In keeping with this theme, the game enlists the acting talents of ex-con-turned-film-star Danny Trejo, who serves as your very own personal trainer. Despite his intimidating appearance, ol' Danny is your only friend in the world, and offers a number of helpful services. Primarily, he serves as the game's tutorial system, which is far more involving than the usual slew of static information screens. Yelling at you through your TV, he'll explain new moves and demonstrate exactly how to pull them off. During the actual game he'll scream "What was that!?" after you've had the crap kicked out of you by some burly delinquent. He'll then aggressively encourage you to hit the gym for some training – another of the services he provides.
The game kicks off with a spot of character customisation. Your options are limited, with a handful of preset faces (all of which look they've been chasing parked cars) and three or four outrageous hairstyles to decorate their heads. There is an extensive wardrobe of clothes and accessories, but these must be unlocked in the game before you can wear them. After creating your character you can spend ability points on defining what type of fighter you want to be. You could choose to put all your points into strength, creating a hard-hitting brute of a brawler. You could invest in speed and technique for a fighter that knows how to evade and rarely misses a punch. Or, you could do the sensible thing and distribute your points evenly amongst the lot.
There's not a whole lot to The Fight. It's a series of one-on-one brawls where, PlayStation Move controller in each hand, your single objective is to beat the living daylights out of the guy standing in front of you. The idea is that the game will replicate your actions one-to-one, that an uppercut in real life will translate to an uppercut in the game - but things aren't quite that simple. The action quickly trips up on itself – your punches flying off at tangents and your blocks not really blocking anything at all. Thankfully, the circle button can be used to re-calibrate the motion tracking in the middle of a fight, which is something you'll find yourself doing a hell of a lot.
"Don't move your feet!" Trejo will constantly shout, as if anticipating the problems. Movement is still necessary in the game, however, forcing the implementation of a button-based navigation system. Holding down the Move button and tilting the controller will move your character in the desired direction, giving you time to recompose and rebuild your stamina bar.