Girl Fight

Year: 2013
Platform: Xbox 360
Genre: Fighting
Review Date: 11/8/13
Rating: **

As the title implies, this is a female fighting game featuring eight women in a virtual reality combat competition. The details are vague, but all of the women are being held captive by a sinister organization called The Foundation, and an ambitious AI known as Chrome is looking for the ideal host body to inhabit so that she can escape her mainframe and bring destruction to the real world. I think. It's not very clear, but then again, I haven't unlocked the dozens of police documents that are available in the in-game store.

It's not a terrible game, but it's full of disappointments. The fighting engine is mediocre at best, and button mashing seems to be the most successful approach to winning fights. In addition to the standard kick and punch attacks, you can also equip two psionic attacks that give you special powers for a short period of time. I didn't find them particularly interesting or useful, and unlocking more powerful attacks means that the AI can use them as well, so it's actually to your advantage NOT to use them. Defense is performed by a button press, which is difficult and unintuitive, unless you grew up playing "Mortal Kombat" instead of "Street Fighter." You're given a grade after each round based on how balanced and effective your fighting style is, which meant that I always scored a D or D-. I really hate games that grade you and remind you how terrible you are. Additionally, each round features annoying commentary by Chrome that consists of a barrage of insults like "pathetic", "predictable", "disappointing", and "inadequate." This gets old really quick.

The characters are semi-attractive and modeled fairly well, but poor lighting and shading effects give them a garish mid 1990's look and feel. To its credit, the roster isn't completely dominated by the stereotypes that you typically find in most female fighting games, but there is still a ninja and a samurai. The stages are bland and non-interactive, and primarily serve as background art to define the boundaries of the fighting ring. The sound effects are terrible, and the squeaks, shrieks, grunts, and cries of the fighters are both laughable and uncomfortable. However, the story mode narration is even worse. Chrome's voice sounds like a bunch of individually recorded words that are strung together in sentences with no sense of rhythm, cadence, or intonation. I suppose the intent was to make her sound more artificial, but I've heard robot phone menus that sound better. Listening to her becomes increasingly irritating and there's no way to skip past the narration or turn it off. On the plus side, the music is fairly good and there's a large selection of tunes.

The game is definitely a budget title and lacks polish, but it takes itself seriously and maintains a consistent tone. The boss fight is against an overpowered version of Chrome, and I was looking forward to what would happen when I finally unlocked Chrome as a playable character. Unfortunately, nothing. The final battle just turned out to be a nonsensical mirror match. "Girl Fight" is not the worst female fighting game I've played, but it definitely reminds you of how much better games like "Dead Or Alive" are.