I consider myself a pretty committed fan of fighting games, shamelessly keeping myself bang up-to-date with new releases, updates and rumours. So imagine my surprise when I was asked to review a new 3D fighting title called Girl Fight, a game I had no prior knowledge of whatsoever. First impressions werenâ€™t great. Girl Fight is a God-awful name, and although I suppose it does what it says on the tin, I have to admit, judgements on its potential comparisons to Virtua Fighter and Tekken had already been made. But I am a forgiving soul, and so I cast off my snobby prejudices and dived in, hoping to have discovered perhaps one last diamond in this generationâ€™s already bulging treasure chest of fighting games.
Unfortunately, second impressions werenâ€™t a great deal better. Having skipped straight past the generic menus, I plunged straight into the single-player only to be met by a choice of one character. This isnâ€™t the case in multiplayer vs mode, but itâ€™s annoying to have to unlock each character one by one to play through the story with different characters.Â The story itself revolves around a group of girls trying to escape from The Mainframe, a virtual fighting environment run by an evil organisation called The Foundation. In order to achieve this, the girls have to beat all the other combatants into the middle of next week whilst wearing various combinations of very little. It’s all very dated, and in an era where fighting games have begun to raise the bar when it comes to story modes, Girl Fight manages to bring that bar right back down again.
But there are plenty of great fighting games with rubbish stories (Iâ€™m looking at you Capcom), so it would be unfair to judge this one by those criteria. Visually though, Girl Fight maintains this dated feelÂ by reminding you strongly of the PS2 at a time when everyone has their eyes firmly on the PS4. The characters are all soullessly unlovable, and when the game seems to trade so heavily on the sexiness and rauchiness of its roster, it surprising to see many of them looking so 2006. All the characters have some very strange animations and it seems unlikely that any motion capture was used to bring any realism to their movements.Â Â Sound effects are functional, and the music is tasteful enough, but instantly forgettable which all adds to the feeling of wondering what other game you could be playing instead.
But just because the visuals and sound is lacking, doesnâ€™t necessarily mean that it wonâ€™t play well.Â And Girl Fight doenâ€™t play badly at all. Its certainly simple, with buttons assigned for punch, kick, throw and block.Â Shoulder buttons take care of your Psi ability, a special upgrade of sorts that charges throughout the fight before being ready to unleash when enough meter has been built. It all works fine, and there is a surprising amount of depth available considering the simplicity of the control system. It doesnâ€™t compare favourably to the likes of Virtua Fighter 5 or Dead or Alive 5, but its certainly playable and will reward time and practice.
The problem is that â€œnot being badâ€, isnâ€™t really an endorsement. Comparisons with the established order of 3D fighting games (Soul Calibur, Tekken, Virtua Fighter, Dead or Alive) make Girl Fight look very much like the dated and soulless game that it is, and I found that playing it just made me swap over to one of them to enjoy the more interesting characters and stages that I know and love. The latest editions of these games are all available for more or less the same price as Girl Fight too, so the budget price incentive is pretty much negated as well. Some people may argue that these games boasted bigger budgets and established, successful formulas that have been honed over generations of console. This is obviously true, but the game that that first came to mind when I initially heard about Girl Fight was Skullgirls, a low budget, brand new title with only 8 characters, all of whom were female. It showed how a beautifully animated and thoughtfully presented game, bursting with new ideas and and interesting and varied characters could thrive and provide a credible and lasting alternative to the status quo of the 2D genre. Sadly, Girl Fight has none of these features and so canâ€™t be considered an alternative to anything that has already been released this generation. The 3D status quo can rest easy.
Reviewed on PS3