Platforms: PSN | XBLA (£6.75, reviewed)
Developer: Kung Fu Factory
Girl Fight was never going to be a good game. The clue's in the name. It's called Girl Fight.
Yes, this tragic throwback subscribes to the 'if you can't make it good, make it sexy' philosophy of game design, existing solely as an excuse for an array of scantily-clad "sexy fighters" to touch each other for our titillation like a tawdry downloadable peep show. Just pop in the £6.75, roll back the curtain and watch some "fierce femme fatales" duke it out before unlocking some mucky pictures for your trouble. The formula worked so well for BMX XXX and Dead Or Alive: Paradise, after all.
No, wait, the other thing. Most gamers are savvy enough to spot opportunistic exploitation when they see it, and Girl Fight immediately fell off the radar when it launched last month. Having been asked to critique Girl Fight by Microprose, I can report that this lack of excitement and interest is thoroughly deserved.
At its best, at its absolute zenith, Girl Fight is the kind of low-rent, substandard fighter we were used to halfway through the last console generation. You can punch. Kick. Throw. Block. Job done. Though continued play reveals a functional counter system that can overturn incoming attacks at key moments, Girl Fight is an absolute clunker, with stiff attack animations and cumbersome combos that don't flow anywhere near as fluidly and effortlessly as they should. Arenas may sport some impressive backgrounds, but in gameplay terms, they're bereft of interesting foreground elements save restrictive invisible walls to punt your opponent into. All as a lifeless narrator grimly reels off some nonsensical commentary ("disappointing," "impressive,"), who's clearly as bored of the entire affair as we are.
Bizarrely, every character is functionally identical save for a couple of combos. They're literally exactly the same. The same basic attacks and fighting styles. The same damage. The same... everything. The only variation stems from an array of unlockable Psi Abilities that basically boil down to a short-lived buff, temporary stun or horrendously cheap radial attack with no charge time. A hopelessly dull arcade mode tries to hide this from you by forcing you to work through it with each character in a preset order, but you'll likely tire of the whole thing within a few short minutes.
With a lot more work and attention to detail, Girl Fight could have aspired to the giddy heights of a 5/10 - especially if the art design picked up the slack. But no. It's a Girl Fight.
Girl Fight's "stunning and lethal women" are, as to be expected, little more than lifeless generously-proportioned simulacra with no personality or artistic merit. Their confused designs are a mess of straps, leather, high heels and bare flesh, but none of it helps to actually inform us about the characters themselves, who come across as emotionless dolls. Well, 'Warchild' wears revealing battle fatigues, I suppose. 'Wrench' is apparently a mechanic, who wears a bikini and denim hot pants for... reasons. Maybe it's hot in the garage. It's the laziest and most meaningless form of pandering to the lowest common denominator, but thanks to the near-complete lack of backstory and context (unless you count some tame unlockable pictures in the extras menu), Girl Fight is too bland to be remotely interesting.
Worse, the girls can't talk. They're mute beyond the occasional grunt, unable to voice their motivations or express themselves. They're not allowed to have a personality... and that's the way it should be. Women are things and their sole purpose is to jiggle provocatively for our amusement. We don't want them ruining our good time by opening their mouths, do we? They'll only end up talking about shoes and kitchenware. Right fellas? Eh? Right?
I should be more offended by this, but in practice, I'm just bored out of my mind. Girl Fight is too tedious, workmanlike and insipid to evoke any kind of emotional reaction, whether anger or even arousal. It's the videogame equivalent of Jay from the Inbetweeners, but played straight with no hint of irony, a sad and pathetic little waste of hard drive space that's probably best ignored. Especially when there are so many great fighting games on PSN and XBLA, and so many superior alternatives.
You can't even use Girl Fight as a cheap Platinum Trophy, because one of its achievements is for playing online. No-one is playing online. And that, frankly, gives me renewed hope for the state of the industry.
- Just about functional
- No noticeable glitches or bugs
- It's cheap, I guess
- Clunky and cumbersome mechanics, functionally identical brawlers
- Limp and frankly embarrassing sexualisation, awful character designs
- Deeply, crushingly, profoundly boring in every conceivable way
The Short Version: Girl Fight is too tedious, pointless and dull to be remotely worthwhile. Hell, even arousing or offensive. Just let this cynical waste of disc space slip out of your mind and back into obscurity where it belongs.