I’m wary as I get ready to play Wii U’s Just Dance 2014 and The Fighter Within for Xbox One. The subject of both games is so utterly alien to my real-world physical being that I know they are likely to shatter my delicate ego. Apart from that, the two actually have little in common. One is part of a long-running dance franchise that boasts millions of seasoned players, while the other is the surprise sequel to lacklustre Kinect launch that was universally derided for making you play alone.
Nonetheless, I meekly enter the blessedly private demo room where I’m confronted with a gaggle of smiling faces from Ubisoft’s French development studio. Then, as two individuals whose physiques appear sculpted from granite and for whom dancing looks to be second nature begin a warm up routine, Ubisoft studio reps explain the concept of the very public World Dance Floor mode.
I have to take my hat off to Ubisoft for being on-track for creating a dance title that even I can get involved in."
This mode appears to be for when you have tired of being shown-up by a younger sibling or a talented housemate in local multiplayer and wish to pit your rhythmic swaying skills against dancers around the world. It’s a persistent mode, so you needn’t waste time with lobbies and match-making, you simply pick a song that’s represented on the World Dance Floor global playlist and jump right in. Live leader boards update throughout the song to show you how you’re performing and there’s a basic karaoke feature which awards additional points for singing along in time to the lyrics, regardless of how bad your voice might be.
However, it’s Wii U’s exclusive Party Master Mode that I most readily warm to. It’s an evolution of Just Dance 4’s Puppet Master Mode, where a fifth player is tasked with selecting dance moves on the GamePad that the more active participants must replicate as they appear on screen. In Just Dance 2014, there’s the ability to change up the songs on the fly to provide a basic virtual DJ experience and a genuine reason for not getting up off the sofa. Frankly, I have to take my hat off to Ubisoft for being on-track for creating a dance title that even I can get involved in.
Anyone that played the original Fighters Uncaged knows that it bears little resemblance to the deep and satisfying systems of traditional video game fighters. In fact, it was pretty awful. However, Xbox One launch title Fighter Within is hoping to acquit itself a little better when it comes to its key features and to being a whole lot less broken.
One of the key changes for Fighter Within is the inclusion of multiplayer, which the original title was rightly berated for failing to include. Technical constraints – and in particular those relating to lag issues – mean that only local multiplayer is currently confirmed but Ubisoft is evaluating the possibility of taking Fighter Within online. In the meantime, local multiplayer allows two players standing side-by-side to duke it out. While the on-screen moves are different for each fighter, the basic command inputs are the same, which means getting a bunch of mates round for a scrap needn’t be preceded by a 30-minute run-down of how to perform each fighter’s moves.
Jabs and swung punches are the closest that Fighter Within comes to 1-to-1 movement, although it’s still only an approximation. These can be combined with a ducking motion to avoid incoming high blows and deliver punishment to your opponent’s midriff. Sensibly, there’s only one height for the kick input so you needn’t pull a hamstring trying to kick an opponent above the knees.
Positioning it as a next-gen alternative to the likes of StreetFighter and Tekken is a fool’s errand."
Leaning back and forwards moves your fighter away or towards your would-be assailant, while contextual actions like reaching out two hands while an opponent is blocking or jumping when near level-furniture activates throws and more spectacular aerial attacks. To motivate you to stay aggressive you’re rewarded with access to a more powerful move after connecting with successive blows and then holding two arms up charges a power meter that allows for three different types of special moves, which are activated by throwing your hands forward.
The key here will be how Ubisoft chooses to market Fighter Within. Positioning it as a next-gen alternative to the likes of StreetFighter and Tekken is a fool’s errand; like many Kinect titles it appears it’ll work best when treated as a party game. That said, the enhanced precision of the next iteration of Kinect allows for a more satisfying feeling of control and so, just maybe, if you can find a friend who wasn’t burned by Fighters Uncaged and who is willing to invest time into it, you could end up with something a bit deeper than unseemly flailing and giggling.
So, there we have it, despite worrying that I’d leave Ubisoft’s stand feeling ashamed by my lack of co-ordination, it seems that both Just Dance 2014 and Fighter Within have the potential to offer fun experiences within the comfort zone of even my very limited physical prowess.
Source : ign[dot]com