Popular in Japan, K-1 World Grand Prix is a fighting competition which takes the world’s best fighters in Karate, Kickboxing, Tae kwon do, Kung fu, and other martial arts and pits them against each other. The game, bearing the same name as the competition, will allow the player to experience this growing sport. For those who are fans of ‘K-1′, this will be a great way to get in the ring with world-class fighters. However, the game seems to fall short in inspiring new fans.K-1 World Grand Prix is basically a ‘stand-up’ fighting game. The basic fighting mechanics are kicking and punching. Realism is the key factor in the game. Each fighter has their own techniques based on the martial arts background they come from or their personal fighting style. Unfortunately, in keeping the game like real-life, the techniques aren’t very unique, at least not enough to keep someone’s interest. I have to admit, though, there is some tactics involved in the game, and ‘button-mashing’ won’t necessarily help in more advanced fights. The fighter has three different gauges to determine a fighter’s status: hit point, condition, and stamina. All of these need to be watched to make sure your fighter is in a condition to fight. For an intense competition like ‘K-1′, the game doesn’t quite have that intensity or speed. Some of it may be due in part with the controls, which respond a bit sluggishly. What’s even worse is using the R2 button to do combos. It was tough to pull off the combos.
In K-1 World Grand Prix there are quite a few gaming options such as Grand Prix, Exhibition, Revival, and Trial. The game allows you to unlock other modes such as the Fighter’s Museum. You can choose between many international fighters, and for ‘K-1′ fans this is their way to fight as their favorite fighters. For those who are new to the competition, the game does not really present the fighters well. Basically, you get to see their name, country, and style. The techniques look basically the same, with only subtleties that a fan would appreciate. To most people, the fighters seem like clones of each other. And this is a shame. You have to unlock portions of the game to see more information about the fighters. However, without really knowing who these fighters are, incentive to play the game becomes almost non-existent, except for the need to pummel an opponent in the game.
As for the visuals and sound, there is nothing really outstanding in either department. The graphics are fine. The fighters closely resemble their real life counterparts. The movements, however, are a bit wooden and sluggish. Even the ‘Card Babes’ weren’t impressive, strutting around robotically. The fighters in the game do not really convey much emotion. These days, it is almost a prerequisite in any fighting game. I guess it’s another nail in the coffin to get any empathy for the fighters you are playing. As for the sounds, they work great during the intros. However, there isn’t much in sound and music during the fight. It’s just your typical pounding of the flesh and cheers of the crowd background sounds. Overall, it was average.
All-in-all, K-1 World Grand Prix has kept the game close to the real life competition. For those who are fans of ‘K-1′, I think it’s a great way to play your favorite fighters. As for promoting ‘K-1′ to a newbie, the game falls a bit short. Being more technical than entertaining, the game needed a way for the players to have a feel for the fighters. Instead, the game is a bit dry at the start and interest to keep playing quickly drops. What’s my motivation? For a new person introduced to ‘K-1′, all the fighters seem the same. If you’re into fighting games, this might be something to rent instead of own.
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