If Ubisoft's latest is in any way indicative of the fighter within most of us, then whatever you do, please don't let them out. As may have been obvious already, this Kinect and Xbox One-exclusive fighting game is everything you'd expect it to be and less.
Despite selling itself on you digitally smashing your mates' faces in like a night in Walkabout sponsored by testosterone-infused Jägermeister, there is actually a plot to wade through: namely one which tries and fails to provide context or meaning to any act of said wanton face-smashing. The characters are tedious and dialogue tepid, and you'll be glad that Kinect makes it so convenient to skip in its entirety.
Coming to a fighter for story is like shopping at Farmfoods for haute cuisine, of course, a futile endeavour and pointless distraction of what really matters: the feel of the combat. Fighter Within is no better in this regard, suffering from a criminally narrow moveset, inextricably tied to the capabilities of the lay-puncher, with only high or low, straight or hook punches, and a single basic kick.
More damning still is how minuscule its combo system is, only chaining solitary instances of the same attack – e.g. high straight punches – invariably resulting in frantic repetitive flailing. Kinect's responsiveness can only go so far, and even then it can confuse low punches with kicks.
Blocks, counter-attacks and 'Ki' specials afford some variation, and successful manual counters actioned through physically ducking and weaving are a faint pleasure. But never is a there a hint of momentum or flow to the proceedings. Textures and particle effects are pleasant enough, but devoid of style or verve and fail to hold attention for longer than a second.
The fighting genre has always been about precision, variation and uppercutting roid-addled maniacs into the sky. Developer Daoka has scooped each of these quintessential components into the bin, leaving behind a spectacularly poor experience.
Played for 7 hours in single-player, 1 hour local multiplayer.
2 / 10
- Occasional nice graphical effects.
- Some form of exercise.
- Very little depth.
- Narrow, lurching combat.