Review: Girl Fight (PS3)

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Title: Girl Fight
Format: PlayStation Network Download (1.4 GB)
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Majesco Entertainment
Developer: Kung Fu Factory
Original MSRP: $9.99
ESRB Rating: M
Girl Fight is also available on the Xbox Live Arcade.
The PlayStation Network version was used for this review.

Gameplay:
If I had to compare Girl Fight to any solid fighter, it would have to be the Dead or Alive series.  You won’t be throwing any ice balls or hadokens in this game; the super human moves are substituted for bone crushing throws and lightning fast kick-punch combinations.  Players can move into the foregrounds and backgrounds of the stages in this 3D fighter, adding an evade element that the genre had given up on with the recent resurgence of the 2D plane.  In addition to the punch and kick attacks, ‘grab’ and ‘evade’ provide for a very close quarters combat type of gameplay.

Most fighting games incorporate a sort of metagame based on meter management.  In Girl Fight, you choose 2 of many Psi amps that can change the tide of the fight if used correctly.  Advantages like ‘steel skin’ and ‘flame body’ can raise your defense or attack power respectively.  Each amp has 3 levels of activation; ‘normal’, ‘ex’, and ‘max’.  Saving up for ‘max’ will produce the greatest effect but can come with some instances of detrimental consequence.  The variety of combinations and impact of the Psi amps in Girl Fight add an impressive level of dynamics to an already strategic game.

Recent releases of the genre have made an attempt to add a significant amount of content including a fleshed out story, an idea that was lost with fighting games throughout much of their evolutionary period.  Girl Fight tries to follow suit with an in-game store where players can purchase biographies, evaluations and police reports that add some insight into the character backgrounds.  Many of them provide interesting reads but the finite nature is realized quickly with only 8 characters to choose from.  Combits, the game’s currency, are awarded during matches with higher amounts given for more impressive rounds and maneuvers.

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There really isn’t much to do in Girl Fight besides the ladder arcade mode, versus mode, and online play.  No mini-games, useless challenges and the most basic practice mode in existence pepper the bare main menu.  The clunky menu system unfortunately diminishes the advanced combo commands as players are not supported in their efforts to learn in the training room.  Tightly timed moves requiring refined skills from fight fans, multilevel strategies, and sound mechanics featured in this game can be easily missed.

Visuals:
The character models are highlighted during the chaotic fights through beautiful colors and contrast in comparison to the stages.  The all-girl roster is presented with comic style animation, set in a pseudo sci-fi world.  The fighters materialize at the beginning and end of each round, adding a digitized feel to the environment’s overtone.

You’d be correct in your assumption of a focus on scantily clad skins and boob physics in a game titled Girl Fight.  Although the exaggeration isn’t as prominent as Dead or Alive, it is unavoidable in this game.  There are no characters to break up the onslaught of voluptuous females and an unnecessary distraction of the gameplay is created.

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An even raunchier art gallery can be unlocked in the game’s store.  “Sexy” shots of the femme fatales holding everything from weapons to power drills can be viewed and zoomed in on.  It is often unclear whether Girl Fight’s intention was to be serious, satirical, or sadistic.  In any case, the game runs at 720p with what appears to be a very solid framerate.

Audio:
The soundtrack is a compilation of hybrid techno/rock and roll music which completes the badassery of these “perfect” chicks.  Feminine moans and grunts highlight the punches, kicks, and grabs along with satisfying collision effects on walls and floors.  A fantastic, accented female voice narrates the fight with phrases like “psycho killer” after a devastating combo or “predictable” when using the same move too many times.  The genre needs more of this game-defined gratification or discrediting to settle PvP arguments during a match.

Online/Multiplayer:
Girl Fight’s online menu is on par with most fighters, offering both player and ranked matches.  There is a combit wager system that could raise the stakes of any fight.  Unfortunately, I was unable to participate in, or even host a match during review play as no other Girl Fight-ers were online.

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Conclusion:
Before the age of online play, fighting games were almost useless without a core group of friends to play with.  There was only so much AI battling one could take.  Developers bandaged the lack of replayability with mini-games and challenges, eventually leading to the story modes and sufficient content of this gen, finally warranting the price tag.  Although online fighting still isn’t an exact science with lag problems causing timing issues and sometimes altering the experience as a whole, battling someone on the other end of the world was icing on the cake for these increasingly fleshed out experiences.

As a budget PSN title, the lack of extras in Girl Fight is expected, but it also inherently dooms any chance of critical acclaim, especially when the online community is nonexistent.  Like Divekick, budget fighters need to differentiate themselves to be successful.  Girl Fight employs the impressive mechanics and strategic variations that make fighting games great, and then clouds them with a failed attempt to ride the coattails of notoriety garnered by female portrayal in the genre.

Score:
6.0

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