Review by KarB0MB
"Fight Night Champion is more then a contender."
You see your opponent stagger back from a left hook to his dome. His arms are flailing around in circles to try and keep him from falling flat on his back. You quickly jump step forward to deliver another left jab to the body, right jab to the body, left jab to the head, right hook to the head and left uppercut. Your opponent has no choice but to collapse on the mat, the crowd cheers and rises to their feet, the ref starts his count and your opponent slowly trys to stand, only to fall back on his face after the count reaches six.
This will be a common theme when you play the new iteration of Fight Night. No I'm not necessarily talking about your ability to knock your opponents flat on their back, I'm talking about the combinations and flurry of punches you can throw at the man standing in the ring with you. The new rendition of ( TPC ) Total Punch Control, is just amazing. I think fans of the old TPC and people who liked the buttons, will both love the updated punch control. Let's get into what makes this game great and what I think holds it back from perfection.
- GRAPHICS -
This game has always had great graphics for it's time era and for the systems it was released on. So it should be no surprise that Champion is right there again with amazing looking character models, great movement and animation, sweet slow motion knock down punches and details like skin waves rolling through cheeks after a devastating punch to the face. The only area that this game ever lacked was the audience, and it holds true in the latest release as well. Seeing your boxer walking with his entourage towards the ring, does not help the look of the audience. But in my many years of experience with the Fight Night series, I could care less what the audience looks like or if their animation looks realistic. Honestly the game is done so well and you'll be having so much fun, that you probably wont even look at the audience or care what's happening outside of the ropes. With the edition of Champion mode, there is a lot more dedication from the animation team at EA. Now on top of the amazing graphics that we have come to know, we get the treat of watching cut scenes in the new Champion mode.
- SOUND -
If you have played any of the recent Fight Night games, then you probably have come to know that they provide an extended list of real music, realistic sounding punches and ring sounds, and amazing ring side announcing from Joe tessitore and Teddy atlas. The ring side announcers make the game so much more entertaining. The sometimes ridiculous things they say make me laugh, and the sheer amount of dialogue that is said, make it so that I can play the game for a week straight and still hear new things coming from them at the end of the week. So many games cut corners and give the announcers so little to say, that they are repeating everything over and over so much it leaves you wanting to play with the game muted after the first hour. This game just raised the bar, served the competition, or whatever else you want to say that implies the astounding amount of commentary that was put into this game.
- GAMEPLAY / STORY -
Let me say first off that I was not a fan of the old TPC. Before this game I had always thought that Fight Night 3 had the best controls. So button pressing was my prefered choice to throw punches. In Fight Night Round 4, the TPC required movements to be to specific. Picture the movement you would use to throw a Hurricane kick in Street Fighter. In the previous Fight Nights it was far to easy to accidentally throw a punch you did not intend to. With the new TPC it's very simplistic and straight forward like it should have been from the beginning. Throwing a left jab to the head, push the right analog stick up and to the the left. To throw a right jab to the head, push the right analog stick up and to the right. Hooks are pushing the right analog stick either left or right. This formula repeats for everything, with body punches requiring a quick press of the L1 button prior to the punch. The controls feel like second nature and the speed with which you can string together combinations is awesome. This Fight Night feels more like a boxing simulator then any before it.
As for the story, well I won't spoil it. But you play as main protagonist Andre Bishop. You will see high points and low throughout the story, but one thing is for sure, it's very short. I had heard about this addition before the games release and thought that it was a cool idea for this to be an option. But what I think makes this game unique, also blemishes the perfect score. The reason being that the story jumps around, forces specific events and gives no control to actually building your boxer. So you do not build stats and feel like your playing half of the game at times. I would feel like this because certain choices were made for me. The reason this happens is because they have videos from real commentators that move the story, those videos specifically mention events and actions that happen within your fights. So the story mode feels a little too canned for me, I wish there had been complete control of Andre Bishops' stat development and less detail to the story driven cut scenes. Although it's a refreshing change to this series and the genre, I think it could have been done in a different way in which it was not so linear and different paths were an option. I just wish the story was able to split off at some points, in other words you would be in control of certain events and the cut scene that played was a result of how you fought.
Overall I love this game and have been playing it for about two weeks straight. There are multiple game modes, tons of real boxers they licensed, and the ability to build your own boxer and save him within the game. I didn't think I would like this game as much as I do, and I really did not think that I would like this game more then Round 3. All my expectations were met and exceeded in what has come to be my favorite boxing title to date. This is worth every penny to purchase and the replay factor is extremely high. Anyone that was a fan of either the button controls or the old TPC, should have a welcomed surprise with the new system. It feels natural almost immediately and the buttons now feel cumbersome and slow in comparison. As for the TPC from Round 4, well this is what it should have been all along.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 05/16/11
Game Release: Fight Night Champion (US, 03/01/11)
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