The Fight Night series has long been the best boxing simulation out. Although there isn’t much competition for the title, you’d think otherwise if you noticed how EA takes care of it’s beloved boxing franchise. A lot of this has to do with it not being an annual sports series like Madden or NBA Live. Each game has dropped a few new features that drastically change how you play it. I’m going to talk about just two of the many that, to me, make it the best yet of the franchise.
Let’s start out with the revamped Total Punch Control. A lot of gamers are salty about it because you can’t use buttons to throw punches anymore. It’s definitely a controversial move on EA’s part. It’ll take a couple of rounds to wrap your head around the new motions for hooks and uppercuts, but after that it’s very satisfying to steal foes with relative ease.
Keep in mind that the game is tailored towards realistic boxing more than ever. Scoring counters by dodging and timing blocks correctly will wear down your opponent quicker. Then damage bonus takes place when you catch them off guard. It’s far better than Round 3 since the parry system in that game didn’t resemble actual boxing at all. In addition, throwing more punches than your opponent isn’t the ideal way to win. Round 4 is more about knowing when to strike, having strong defense and playing to your boxer’s strength’s whether it be in-fighting or outfighting.
Next up is the new boxer share feature. What’s that you ask? It’s a service of sorts that lets you create and share boxers as well as gameplay settings online. The hook is you can potentially create anybody you want via EA’s website. All you have to do is upload JPEGS of anyone’s face and their side profile. Then you follow the directions on screen as the game does its best the create your fighter. I tried it and it was finicky at first. My attempt and making Michael Jordan failed miserably. Then I tried to digitize Sir Charles and the results were pretty scary.
The game has only been out for a week and people have conjured up all kinds of wild creations. You can fight as Rocky Balboa, Apollo Creed, Chris Rock and Dwight Schrute if you choose. I mean sure, Ali vs. Tyson is cool. But it can’t beat dream fights like Deebo vs. Craig and Barack Obama Vs. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This feature is also handy for downloading actual boxers that didn’t make the cut such as “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather, David Haye, Bernard Hopkins and Oscar De La Hoya to name a few.
All this is great but Fight Night is far from perfect outside of the ring. There are launch issues on the 360 and PS3 versions: some of which I’ve experienced first hand. There are issues with the game not loading while signed in (aggravating) and there are connection issues on EA’s end. These problems aren’t too widespread but they hit me somehow. Also there’s a Legacy Mode freeze that’s sure to piss some people off. There’s a patch arriving in the coming weeks so I’d advise you to wait or rent it unless you’re feeling brave.
I didn’t mean for this to be a review but Fight Night Round 4 has been pretty dope so far. I haven’t bothered with the career mode yet but I doubt I’ll finish it let alone get around to starting it anytime soon. The boxing mechanics behind Round 4 are sound, the new additions are welcome and it’s easily the best looking sports game out. Let’s hope EA can iron out the kinks so the game can shine.