Dragon Fist VR Kung Fu Review: Real ‘Street Fighting’ Officially Lands in Virtual Reality
There’s also a video version of this review. Yep.
When it comes to some VR games, life truly is like a box of cheap ass chocolates. You never know what you might get. Other games you feel so confidently about, you can stunt like Babe Ruth because you already know the developers done knocked it outta the park. The latter is definitely the case for Dragon Fist VR Kung Fu, a title that tops my list of most highly anticipated VR games.
Dragon Fist VR Kung Fu is a fighting game in the vein, of yes … Street Fighter. If you’re one of the three people who watch my videos (or two who read these articles), you know that porting such a fighting experience to VR is something I’m relatively passionate about. I mean, how cool would it be launch a Hadoken in virtual reality? I’m getting excited just thinking about it. Good grief.
Now, I don’t wanna get your hopes up too high, but this game, by far, is the closest we’ve come to that seemingly farfetched reality. And while you can’t rip out a sucka’s spine or dragon uppercut a mufucka, I will say that it blends shades of both Street Fighter and the king of all fighters, Mortal Kombat, in one incredible package.
Dragon Fist VR Kung Fu: Combat
Dragon Fist takes a very straightforward approach to combat. It’s simple and very effective. As the title suggests, you’ll be doing the bulk of your damage via the hands. Push the Touch controller forward to execute an open-hand strike, or use the corresponding buttons to throw a punch or one of two finger-friendly attacks. I try to sneak in at least one finger poke to the eye per match.
While the Quest doesn’t support full-body controls just yet, Dragon Fist makes it so you can still use your feet as registered weapons. A simple pull down on the right analog stick will throw a devastating kick. Not sure how they decide which leg to throw, as you might see either the right or left leg used in combat.
Conversely, pushing up on the stick performs a jump. Combine the aforementioned actions and you’ve got yourself two styles of jump attacks. Now jump attacks don’t feel as smooth as straight up strikes, but damn you feel cool as shit just trying to pull it off.
Dragon Fist VR Kung Fu: Special Moves
Dragon Fist shines in many areas where Virtual Fighting Champion (VFC), which I reviewed recently, falls flat. One of them is special moves. Each character has their own special move and some are pretty damn cool. For example, one dude brandishes a pair of Wolverine-inspired claws. Another character, actually a chick, who may be my favorite character thus far, creates a circle of fire that knocks the shit out of your opponent if they get too close.
Special attacks last for a short period of time and require you to match the position of your fists with the controller pattern on the screen. The matching process is unique to the character and some are easier to perform than others. This is honestly my only complaint about the game. It’s not really even a complaint. More like, my least favorite aspect. I just wish there was an easier way to activate the damn specials.
Yeah, I suck at video games. Wanna fight about it?
Dragon Fist VR Kung Fu: Characters
One of the most impressive elements of Dragon Fist is the massive roster. There’s probably close to 50 fighters to choose from, most of which are unlocked right out of the gate. It’s tough to illustrate the variance between fighters a player chooses in VR, but this game does an admirable job with the aforementioned special attacks and unique vulnerabilities. One of the female fighters is noted for having a weak throat, which I just found fuckin’ hilarious, for some reason.
By now, I have the entire roster on deck. And I think, I might have, possibly, figured out the unlocking process. Maybe. Seems to have something to do with the number of three stars you’re able to accrue. Three is the max you’ll be awarded for a win, and I suspect that three stars counts as one star towards unlockable assets. Something like that, God damnit!
Any way, you encounter opponents in sets, with the number varying depending on the stage. So one stage may have two opponents. Another may have three. So on. So forth. Keep in mind, however, that you have to progress through the aforementioned star reward system in order to unlock all the opponents for a given stage … even if they’re technically already unlocked within the base game. It’s weird, man.
Dragon Fist VR Kung Fu: Stages and Environments
One of the more underrated feats Dragon Fist brings to the table is the fighting stages. These environments range from your classic boxing ring to a multi-level restaurant. The stage designs are cool enough. Serviceable but nothing visually stunning. Where they stand out, though, is the level interaction, which varies from one stage to the next.
For instance, one stage is designed so you can walk up and slap the little training apparatus. In another, you can bang on the ceremonial drums. Then on the restaurant stage, you can take the fight upstairs and even grab a bowl off the table and smack a nigga in the head with it … I know, right?! Lots of untapped potential here. In fact, I think a features wish-list followup is warranted.
Dragon Fist VR Kung Fu: Game Modes
Last but not least, we have game modes. Dragon Fist offers a wide variety of ways to play the game. There’s the classic arcade style, a mode where specials are disabled, a handicapped mode where all fights are 2 on 1, and even a Ninja Challenge, where you battle against a seemingly endless wave of ninjas. There’s also a custom mode that allows you to tweak various settings and make the game as easy or challenging as you wish.
Speaking of difficulty, there’s, I believe, four to five skill levels to choose from. My plan is to play the main mode from start to finish on each difficulty level. That’s the honorable way to say I started on Easy. Ha!
Dragon Fist VR Kung Fu: Conclusion
And I guess that’s about it. Dragon Fist VR Kung Fu. Definitely worth the wait for this lover of virtual violence. Serves up a near perfect balance of fun and workout physicality, with so much replay value, I can vividly see it cozied alongside Beat Saber in the rotation of games I plan to play for many years to come. While it may not be a flawless, I mean it’s still in the App Lab, it’s very well polished and could easily flex on the main marketplace. The fact that it isn’t means that it only gets greater later. And I cannot fuckin’ wait. Peace!