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PlayStation Vita  header logo

Reality Fighters

For: PS Vita

Everybody is Kung Fu Fighting

Product: Reality Fighters | Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe | Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment Liverpool Studio | Format: PS Vita | Genre: Fighting | Players: 1-2 | Networking: wireless (adhoc), wireless (network) | Version: Europe
Reality Fighters PS Vita, thumbnail 1
You've really got to admire a fighting game with the foresight to have Mr Miyagi in it.

The 'wax on, wax off' Master of the Karate Kid films is a cultural touchstone for the demographic Sony is aiming its initial marketing campaign at: the culture-soaked geek elites born in the '80s and '90s.

Reality Fighters positions the beloved character as your Sensei - your guide for the single-player portion of the title.

Miyagi introduces your opponents (his former students), highlighting a few of their strengths and moves you should watch out for. After every match he gives you sagely advice on why you lost or won.

Here comes a new challenger

And when you win it really is you who wins, thanks to the game's gimmick of making extensive use of the Vita's onboard cameras.

The character creation starts with you taking a photo of your face. The game lets you know when you've lined up your mugshot just right, and then it wraps it around the digital skull of your avatar.

The selection of clothes is less impressive, though you do unlock more as you progress. You can't tweak every little element that you'd like to - the body type section is rather basic, for example - but it's enough to create a pleasing enough look.

The finished creation can do a decent impression of you – good enough to be recognisable - but you'll never get it quite perfect.

You also select the style of fighting for your character, which determines your move-set. From Capoeira to Muay Thai, disco dancing to zombie shuffling, they're varied and distinct in their speed and ability, but all of them are well-animated. However, when you're in the ring things become a little less exciting.

The environments vary from stock photo backgrounds of real world locations to your bedroom, kitchen table, or wherever you happen to be pointing your Vita's camera at the time.

In most fighting games, of course, you don't have to be both the combatant and the cameraman. Attempting to keep your view on the action while inputting quarter-turn and half-circle commands can prove tricky, though it gets easier with practice.

You won't need much in the way of tactical chops, though, as the enemy AI is frequently lacking. You can spam moves repeatedly for entire matches and get away with it, your opponent never learning from his mistakes or adapting his approach.

Of course, this all changes when you throw in a human opponent, and Reality Fighters has a decent multiplayer suite for online and ad hoc scraps. Here the battles are less one-sided, and consequently much more enjoyable, if very simplistic. The game definitely has the air of a mid-tier late-'90s 2D fighter.

You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance

There aren't as many moves to master as in Dead or Alive or Tekken, though the range at your disposal opens up enough options to make for a robust fighting engine.

Specials are easy to pull off using the D-pad, and if you're a novice you can also launch them with the touchscreen. You can also string combos together, though they're easily broken by a competent opponent.

Reality Fighters is a game that prioritises attack over defence - even your blocked hits build up a meter to unleash an extra special move, reminiscent of Supers in the Street Fighter games. If you're the kind of person who plays cautiously, you can win through persistence, though few characters are geared towards that type of play.

Plumping out the package is a Survival mode, in which you take on waves of enemies, and a Time Attack, where you break inanimate objects with your fists and feet, again bringing to mind Street Fighter II.

Novarama's experience with cool AR tech with the Invizimals franchise shows in Reality Fighters. Characters move convincingly in your home-made stages and the facial recognition technology does a good job of putting you in the game.

But its fighting game stablemates offer more tactical complexity and depth. Combined with the lacklustre sound design and vanilla mode types, Reality Fighters is an awesome proof of concept but a bland game to play.
Reality Fighters
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 13 February 2012
Reality Fighters isn't particularly rewarding and it's a bit shallow, though it's a novel release and a showpiece for the possibilities of integrating cameras into traditional forms of play
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