Platform: PS Vita
Until Street Fighter X Tekken arrives on the Vita the fighting market is pretty open. Sure you could go for BlazBlue, but some may prefer something a little different and a new IP to go with their new handheld. Reality Fighters comes loaded with gimmicks, but does it pack enough punch to warrant a place in your collection?
This arcade fighter’s hook is letting you put your own face onto the fighters. A further use of reality takes advantage of the Vita’s rear camera to fight against a real-world background, in real-time or from pictures you snapped earlier or from a few glossy pre-loaded ones.
Putting your own face into a game to get slapped about or leer over your opponents is a tricky affair. Lining up your face with the front camera is very awkward as the camera isn’t central, you’ll need a table to line it up best. Better yet, get a friend to take a picture with the slightly clearer rear camera. Then give yourself 300-style abs and jester shoes, just because you can.
The end result is pretty poor to be honest. It's a minor novelty at best and not as strong as it should have been considering it's been touted as a great new feature. The features are very flat and you have to add hair later from the limited set of early options. Graphically the game doesn’t look much better than an average PSP title either.
The game's other gimmick, fighting against camera-shot backgrounds, uses motion controls to move your viewpoint. This is hugely disruptive and at worst dizzying. You'll lose track of the fighters or end up staring at their feet or looking down on them from above. You're forced to play with the screen directly in front of your face, preferably at a table, in order to maintain a decent view. But with every button tap violently shaking your viewpoint it won't be long before you've had enough.
It’s not all bad news though. The combat borrows the quarter-circle special moves style from Street Fighter and the Vita's d-pad feels up to the task. Admittedly, after a while you reach that stage of inevitable thumb peeling but not as soon as you might have with the PSP. Analogue directional inputs work too if you're wired that way. Moves are slick and flow into combos easily; it all feels very natural soon enough. And with various fighting styles including Kung Fu, boxing, capoeira, zombie and karate, there’s more than enough for all tastes. All said the combat is easily the best thing about Reality Fighters. Sadly, as already mentioned, almost everything else is utter balls.
Game modes include the usual single matches, survival, time-attacks and multiplayer. There’s a story mode that tries to hold your attention, but the novelty of Mr. “Karate Kid” Miyagi being your trainer soon wears off, as you never actually get anything resembling training, just a series of fights against annoying 'zany' characters. Wax on. Turn Off.
- Fighting is solid
- Some fun to be had from putting your face into the game
- Erm...lots of novelty outfits to unlock?
- Motion-controlled camera makes it unplayable
- Vita’s cameras are quite grainy
- Very unpolished all-round
The Short Version: The ridiculous camera viewpoints you’re subjected to are a development embarrassment that should have been axed early on as they’ve ruined the whole game. The actual fighting is surprisingly strong, but the rest of the game just chokes the life out of it.