The Champion has returned again with the fourth installment of the successful Fight Night Series and this time, it's packing a serious punch.
Fight Night Round 3 was one of the first games to introduce High Definition gaming to our fancy new TV screens. The superb graphics, impressive selection of boxers and approachable gameplay made it hands down the Pound-For-Pound Champion of its genre. In late June, EA Sports unleashed Round 4 into the series, promising even better graphics, gameplay, new modes and even more boxers across the weight divisions. Does it outweigh its predecessor, or simply fall short of the mark like many sequels seem to do?
When you commence by setting up your first match, you will be greeted by stunning visuals, tremendous sound affects and a breathtaking physics engine which results in awe-inspiring knockdowns and incredible realism. The boxers all look so similar to their real life counterparts, the music on the game is great and not just rap this time round (artists such as Bloc Party are included). Suddenly however, the games' one major flaw is revealed. You realize the default controls are fiddly, inaccurate and downright annoying, so you remember the option of using the face buttons on previous games and try to select that, but you can't.
EA Sports decided this time round to take out the face button controls and make you swing the right thumb-stick to select your punches. This has backfired in devastating fashion, sparking boycotts and die-hard fans' revolting against their once loved game. Following the controversy caused, EA have announced that they intend to release DLC with the extra controls added as an option. Let's hope they don't further incense their fans by making them pay for it...
While that one negative cannot be forgotten, the good aspects of this game really do outweigh its flaws. The new Legacy Mode, which replaces previous Career Modes is fantastic. You are able to create your own boxer, or choose a current superstar and take him through a career of challenges, moving up and down weight classes, winning belts, unifying entire divisions and attempting to become the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time). When you choose to retire, you will receive an achievement based upon your career performance, so you find yourself instantaneously becoming hooked on reaching the top level and retiring with all the achievements and a hearty 195 G.
Online, you can participate in ranked tournaments or just regular matches in different weight classes. You can win and lose belts and fight for your place in a dynamic grading system. EA Sports have confirmed boxers will become available through DLC and other features may be released online also.
Achievements are aimed at the more experienced Fight Night gamers, but once you get the hang of it, using 4 difficulty levels and CPU sliders, you should be able to pick up a majority of the accolades pretty easily.
Overall, this game is great and will be made much better when the more accessible controls are released online. Boxing games have previously appealed to a fairly niche market, but with household names such as Muhammed Ali, Mike Tyson and Manny Pacquiao at your disposal, this game will appeal to all fight fans out there. Whether you enjoy the adrenalin rush that watching the sport provides or even just appreciate punching someone really hard, this game is really worth buying.