While you might take a quick look at The Con and assume it's a standard 3D fighting game, there's both less and more to it than that, depending on which aspect you're looking at. The actual fighting is more like a boxing game--your feet are firmly planted, and your movement is limited to ducks and sways. But the whole point of The Con is that you're betting on all the fights. And you don't necessarily have to bet on yourself to win.
The shady aspect of The Con comes up in its story mode, where you're controlling a team of three fighters--custom-built using a fairly robust character creation system--and attempting to rise through the street-fighting ranks to reach "the big time." To get to the top, you'll need to raise your respect level by winning fights. But you'll also need a large chunk of cash. How you earn that cash, and how long it takes you to stack a grip, depends on how you play the game. Earning money is accomplished by betting on the fights, but how and when you bet on those fights is the difference between chump change and some serious cash. Before each fight, you're shown the odds for each fighter, and you can bet on either one. So if the other fighter is a bit of a long shot, you can bet on him and then throw the fight. But you can also attempt to pump the odds in either direction, because the odds change during the fight. You can opt to hold the bet off well into the fight, which gives you time to either look really sharp early on so you can take a fall at the end, or take a bunch of shots early on and then come back and win after the bet is placed.
Doing this effectively requires you to put on a good show, and the L trigger is used for those sorts of theatrics. Holding L while fighting makes your hits do next to no damage to the other fighter. Tapping L just as you're hit causes you to drop your guard and take the hit as hard as you possibly can, doing extra damage and selling the fake fight to the crowd. The odds and betting aspects are interesting pieces of The Con, though since you're trying to earn respect while you fight, and winning fights is how you earn that respect, throwing fights isn't such a hot idea. Losing also tends to do more damage to your fighters, which means you'll have to rest them more between fights, instead of constantly training up their statistics. There's a story to be found in the story mode, but it's the sort of bad that makes you want to immediately ignore it and focus on the raw numbers of your cash flow, fighter statistics, and rank.
Fighting your way to the top requires a lot of fights. The action in The Con is just good enough to keep you interested, but once you get the hang of it, it's not terribly exciting. The action is set up like a boxing game, and the only movement control you have is for swaying and ducks. The four face buttons are mapped to left and right shots that can come in either high or low. The game has a combo system, and when you're building a custom fighter, you can go in and edit these combos to make them longer and more damaging as you progress. Defense is mostly done by either dodging attacks or attempting to counter them with the R trigger. The system is similar to the Just Defend system in Mark of the Wolves, so you have to time your guard just right to shove an attack aside, which usually leaves you with an opening. If you time your button press perfectly, you get an autocounter that does a big, flashy move. You can also attempt and counter throws. The entire system is easy to learn and, as it turns out, pretty easy to master, too. You'll just need to figure out what the attacks and combos from the game's various fighting styles look like as they're coming in, so you'll know when to time your counters.