Float like a motion-sensing butterfly, sting like a glowing orb bee. The first true boxing simulator comes to the Playstation Move, and its ready to literally kick your butt and take names.

Before continuing this review, let me be crystal clear: ‘The Fight: Lights Out’ (‘The Fight') is not an arcade title for the couch-inclined. This game makes no apologies for its enormous fitness learning curve, likewise its attention to realism in fighting dynamics.

This discrepancy between arcade and simulator produced clear battle lines online, with almost no middle ground between those frustrated with its barrier of entry versus opponents lauding the one fitness test to rule them all. Unfortunately for Sony (the game’s publisher), reviewers tended to almost unanimously fall in the former category, resulting in abysmal collective ratings (of which this site contributes to) for The Fight.

Mirroring my review of 'John Daly’s Prostroke Golf' (link), I’m going to again poo-poo many sister reviewers who simply need to invest more time in unique titles and/or burgeoning genres. (Insert: finger waving.) The Fight is not a perfect game, mind you, but it’s a pretty damn good one that does what it claims to do…and well.

To best understand The Fight one must embrace its purpose. Despite a clever presentation, Danny Trejo cameo, and RPG career features, this is – at its core – a very challenging boxing simulator that will push you to the fitness edge…and over.

Let me explain.

Unlike most instances, let the record state this is the one time where I can actually walk the walk in reviewing a title. I come to The Fight: Lights Out as a semi-experienced Muay Thai trainee, and in near-peak physical shape as a result. To provide some perspective, I train literally every day, and can hold my fitness with the best of them.

This perspective surprisingly led me to a negative first impression of The Fight, as techniques I thought would work in a training session would seamlessly translate to this console offering. I was convinced I would kick ass from the get-go…but found myself instead getting pummeled by fat guys with bad tattoos. My punches didn’t connect, my movements flawed. What worked on Thai Pads was surprisingly incompatible on a Playstation 3.

The more I played The Fight, however, I realized that these techniques did - in fact – resonate. It was video game familiarity than trumped fight norms…and in the worst way. Watching replays of me swinging akin to fly swatting confirmed this suspicion. Shame on me, with hundreds of hours of training behind me. Simply put: my technique morphed to crap once controllers replaced gloves…and it showed.

As I began to pick my spots better, control my combos, weave in/out…results differed. I took down higher ranked opponents. My training scores increased. The motion detection culprit began to resemble a mirror instead…if you catch my drift.

Now don’t get wrong; The Fight: Lights Out is no perfect title. Head tracking, for instance, is non-existent. Attempts to configure this option are for naught…unless you’re in a professional Hollywood studio packed with lighting to match. Even the game’s developers admit this nuance a flaw inherent in Playstation Move hardware limitations, one nearly impossible to remedy. This lighting issue reared its ugly head throughout, with too much trial and error required to create an ideal The Fight: Lights Out, physical environment.

In specific – and as an educational point – Playstation Move orbs function by detecting imbalances in light (which is why the Move controllers glow)…over a user-determined distance…a nuance best discerned via lower Playstation Eye camera resolution (that enable the illuminated orbs stand out). Head tracking mandates exceptional white/dark contrast, very difficult for an average room layout to create. The good news is, head tracking in The Fight is easily remedied via an x-button press and physical duck alternative. Akin to moving around a space through Move button + subtle directional shifts, this second option thankfully works quite well.

To revisit fitness notions, The Fight is a beast workout-wise. This game pushes you to the fullest physically; don’t expect easy knockouts or Joe Cool counterpunch tendencies. Expect every aspect of The Fight – training, fitness, fight modes – to have you covered in sweat. I was shocked by the premise of a PS3 title taxing me nearly as hard as a ‘real’ fighting workout.

An additional warning lies in the game’s career mode premise. In addition to having to think like a fighter, be fit like one, expect a great deal of frustration until your fighter is leveled up (via training + attribute purchase) enough to do some decent damage. There isn’t a slouch among the opponent masses; expect to lose a lot…and train to level up stats…for eventual victory.

I still defaulted to flailing away (again, shame on me), but patience produced winning moments if/when I picked my spots. (This was helped by a recent transparency patch, one that made aiming punches a great deal less tedious.) Experience points can also be applied to more cosmetic matters, such as character appearances, wardrobe, tattoos, etc.

While a solid fight simulation - and per the introduction - however, The Fight: Lights Out is technically picky to the nth degree, requiring a great deal of impromptu recalibration at the most inopportune times to reorient your fighter. To create 1-to-1 motion norms, you literally cannot move your feet. More than subtle movements will require a circle button press (at safe distances/moments) to reset back to guard position and normalized gameplay. While I respect overzealous dodging might produce bunny steps + recalibration necessities, I was convinced that most of my mandated corrections were from lighting misreads and/or other technical snafus. Message boards dedicated to the game suggest wearing a white bandana/cap to train the camera. The heck with that, Ivan Drago.

Moreover – and as alluded to above – a little more give in motion detection would go a long (underscore, bold, italic) way. The strength bag exercise screams this from the rooftops, and left me extending arms to ridiculous lengths to register proper combos. Conversely, speed bag sessions were brain dead in execution, never truly in sync to its real life counterpart. In sum: close but no cigar in a couple of key game aspects. Another 1-2 developer patches are very much needed.

With this being said, The Fight: Lights Out is solid fun and a wonderful first attempt at creating a slightly flawed albeit overly ambitious motion detection, fight simulator. The game’s terrific workout potential is also no slouch, wonderful in burning off a slew of calories while having a good time doing so. Finally and with my fighter ridiculously outclassed, I confess to not dabbling into multiplayer mode ripe with exorbitantly leveled up players. Another 10 or so hours in, however, and the online ring will be mine.

The Fight: Lights Out is an ambitious fight simulator that sets out and accomplishes most of what it claims to do. Learning and fitness curves are high, but patience and realistic expectations produce some fine results. For a still neophyte Playstation Move library, this may very well be the most robust title to date. Go forth and kick some ass.

  • Wonderful workout
  • Realistic fighting dynamics
  • Excellent use of Move technology
  • Head tracking is a dud feature
  • High fitness/learning curves
  • Not for the arcade-centric
Quote: "The Fight: Lights Out is an ambitious fight simulator that sets out and accomplishes most of what it claims to do. Learning and fitness curves are high, but patience and realistic expectations produce some fine results. For a still neophyte Playstation Move library, this may very well be the most robust title to date."
Reviewed by Paul Stuart | 12.10.10

Similar Games: Sports Championship (6.7) | Fight Night Champion (8.2)


The Fight
Lights Out




US Release
November '10



Players 1
Multiplayer 1-2
HD 720P
Dolby 5.1
Move Required