Publishers: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform: Playstation Vita
Release Date: 22/02/2012 (EU)
Reality Fighters is one of the first party launch titles for the Playstation Vita. It is a fighting game where the player is the star. Players take photos of those around them and create fighters out of them. The fighters battle it out in real world environments using the Vita’s augmented reality technology or pre-captured environments. The game is playable and it offers a great deal of customisation, but will it be enough to take the championship belt from the other Vita fighting games?
Reality Fighters, as the title suggests, is a 2D fighting game using reality as its backdrop. The controls are fairly simple, use the directional pad to move the character around and the action buttons to pull off attacks. Combinations of the directional pad and action buttons will pull off special moves and final attacks. In order to do final attacks, a bar below the health bar of the fighters must be filled completely orange. The final attacks do not require a complex input, usually two half or full circles with an action button. For those who find the physical controls complicated, then there is a set of touch controls. The basic attacks are still attached to the action buttons; however, special and final attacks are performed with a swipe of the touch screen. Personally, the physical controls are not overly complicated to use, so they should suffice. The touch screen controls do get in the way of the action, so I do not recommend using them, unless this is you first fighting game.
There are a few modes for players to choose. The player can have a quick fight, which pits two fighters together. Then there is story mode, which adds a story to the game where a created character must fight the others fighters in succession, with Mr Miyagi acting as narrator. Survival mode is similar to story mode, however there is no story and the player will only have one health bar for the mode. Time attack is going through the gauntlet of fighters to achieve the best time possible. There are also multiplayer options, through adhoc and infrastructure. There is also a training mode, which is basically beating up a still CPU in order to get use to the simple execution of special attacks. This is very bare in terms of game modes and, seeing it is the core with minor additions, this gets boring very quickly.
Seeing as it is titled Reality Fighters, customisation is quite prevalent. I would go as far as saying that the customisation is the core of the game. In addition to the 15 fighters already in the game (which is a very small number), you can add yourself, your friends, your family and much more. Simply take a photo of a face and the game will digitize the face to the best of its ability. From there, you can change their physique, clothing and fighting style. There are 15 of them and they range to pure fighting, like boxing and wrestling, to really bizarre, like zombie and ballerina. However, the customisation doesn’t go beyond that. You can’t determine the fighter’s height or even change their hair colour. In fact, taking photos is the only way to create fighters. Also expect a lot of the clothing and fighting styles to be locked; only obtained via in game currency or beating the other fighters.
The main feature of the game, however, is the augmented reality. The fights take place in pre-captured backgrounds or a background created by the Vita’s rear camera. The markers included with the Vita system do work with the game, but the system also features marker less augmented reality, which means the fighters can fight wherever they want. The augmented reality works well most of the time; however, you will have to move the Vita around, even in the pre-captured backgrounds. This gets very annoying when the action does get intense. This is not a game for those who play in bed late at night, as you will get uncomfortable very quickly. The only time the Vita should be moving around is when the background is the camera. There is no reason to move the Vita around with the pre-captured backgrounds.
Visuals and Audio
I won’t comment on the fighting arenas because they are pictures or through the camera. However, the rest of the visuals in the game look decent, but not spectacular. Character models look fine but the animation looks stiff. They have no natural flow. The face capture technology is quite accurate, though. I was very impressed with the conversion. The costumes range from normal to bizarre. The menus were plain, with a dominant yellow theme. The illustrations in the story mode do create a funny moment here and there and look great. Audio is very average. Characters have win and face-off taunts. The music was cheesy and a turn-off. I suggest playing this with your own music. The only highlight was the voice actor for Mr. Miyagi. He replicates the voice quite well. I felt like I was his Karate Kid, even if he didn’t tell me to wax on and wax off.
Reality Fighters had so much potential, yet it is knocked out in key areas of game design. The gameplay is bare bones in terms of the fighting genre, with basic special attacks a six year old kid could pull off. This also came down to the game modes, with nothing trying to pull you back in. Customisation was the only reason I kept on playing, but even then it lacks key elements, including fine tuning your character. The visuals and audio are average, but I expected that. This game won’t win the heavyweight belt of Vita fighting games; it is not even a credible contender.