Game Rant's Anthony MolÃ© Reviews Reality Fighters
Among the PlayStation Vita's many hardware features is augmented reality, the ability to take the game one is playing and superimpose it onto real life. Of course, with the launch of the Vita, Sony would want to create games that show off the system's features.
Many launch titles implement touch or sixaxis controls, but Reality Fighters is the game that focuses on augmented reality (or AR, as it will be referred to throughout the rest of the review). Was it the right choice? Sweet Heavens no.
The concept behind Reality Fighters is that players are able to create a fighter that looks exactly like them. Unlike many other video games, Reality Fighters forgoes the use of sliders and presets during character creation, instead relying on the player to take a picture of themselves with one of the Vita's cameras. This process isn't exactly perfect, as players have to be the right distance from the Vita's camera and in a certain level of light. The first fighter I created using the camera ended up having two mouths (my real life mouth was above the in-game mouth) and turned out as a black man, despite me being Caucasian.
This leads into another problem, any issues that appear from the photo can't be corrected in the customization screen. If one has their avatar turn out the wrong skin color, they'll have to retake the photo instead of simply adjusting a slider. It's not a painful process, just an inconvenient one.
Thankfully, Reality Fighters' customization makes up for it, as there are plenty of outfits and fighting styles for characters to choose from, with more to be unlocked as one progresses through the game. There's really no limits on what a player can do. Want to make an overweight ballerina with a chain-mail helmet? Go for it. Though, considering the emphasis on AR, it would have been cool if Reality Fighters allowed players to scan real life items into the game.
While the customization is decent, the actual gameplay lacks any sort of depth. After creating one's fighter, players will probably want to check out training mode. Strangely there's no tutorial present, and the game just places players in a match with an AI opponent and no indication of what to do. Yes, as a training mode it's fine, but for players new to fighting games it could be jarring to get thrown into something with no direction. The game itself is also ridiculously easy, and even novice gamers won't find much challenge in the fights. Most can be won by simple button mashing and there's no option to raise or lower the difficulty.
Then there's the story mode, which follows the tale of the player's custom fighter, as they long to become a fighting master. Fighting games are rarely known for deep story telling and, at least relative to other games, the story isn't exactly the main draw. However, compared to other brawlers, Reality Fighters isn't even trying. They go to find a man named Miyagi, which is just a floating head that plays on Asian stereotypes (and Karate Kid, no doubt). The lack of quality is apparent from the get go, seeing as Miyagi is the only character that has any sort of dialogue or voice acting. The rest of the fighters just make grunts, though it is cool that the player can record their own voice for the fighter. In addition, there are no real cutscenes - in between fights gamers will mostly see Miyagi's floating head talking to the onscreen character in front of a wooden background.
Each of the fighters that players come across will have their own visual aesthetic and fighting style, but it's all extremely watered down - seeing as there's nothing substantial to really separate them. The primary differences are expressed in varied stats - but players are never even told what each of the symbols even mean.
In addition to the "story" mode, there are a few other play modes available - including survival and time attack - and they're as generic as their names imply. The final game mode is the online multiplayer; however, we were unable to test this out at the time of this writing. While it's cool to use the Vita's AR cards to have the fighters battle it out in front of the players, the novelty wears off after the first few fights.
All of this just ends up making Reality Fighters feel like a tech demo for the Vita's AR capabilities. And that's all it is, a thirty dollar tech demo. Those looking for a great "fighter-on-the-go" should probably check out Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3, or just wait for Mortal Kombat to launch in a few weeks, because Reality Fighters is best left in the bargain bin.
Reality Fighters is available now for the PlayStation Vita.
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