Review by Drunky
"Only the incredible gameplay saves this game."
I wont say that Fight Night Round 3 is a bad game, because its not, but it is definitely a small disappointment considering its being run on the Xbox 360.
The game plays like any other sports game, you can either set up a quick match or go into career mode. The career mode follows an amateur boxer you can create yourself or a washed up boxer on the comeback trail (depending which you opt for) . You'll start small fighting for a few dollars here and there before working your way up the ranks to fight for championship belts and high stakes fights. Aside from you working your way up, there is no storyline to this game. You fight boxer after boxer, sometimes fighting the same guy twice, but there are no rivalries, no friends, nothing aside from the gameplay to immerse the player.
The gameplay itself is incredible, this is not a game for button mashers. The total control you have over your fighter makes this one of the most in-depth fighting games I have played. The demo is a bit misleading, as in the demo the A, B, X, Y buttons control the punches, but in the real game the right stick controls every punch your fighter will throw. Want to do a devastating right uppercut? Move the stick back to wind up the punch and counterclockwise up to swing. Every move plays like this, and you control the power and style. In between rounds you can even patch up your fighter and reduce swelling and the cuts your boxer sustains. Even before you enter the ring you're already preparing for your bouts, you can choose which trainer you pay to help you prepare and the session you want to do. The sessions are actually fun little mini games that will let you boost your stats (at the cost of slightly reducing other stats).
Now if the gameplay is as great as I claim it to be, why do I think this game slightly disappointments gamers? Being on the Xbox 360 you would expect it to be one of the most graphically impressive games out there, but aside from the boxers, that's just not true.
From the third person view of the in-game fighting, the boxers look amazingly realistic. Their movements, their reactions and even their sweat and bleeding faces are stunning. It actually looks like a real boxing match until you notice the crowd. The boxer character models (from a distance) are where the impressive graphics end. Everything else looks like it belongs on a PlayStation 1. The crowd is horrible, there is only a handful of people watching by the ringside, and incredibly they all have the same general movements and bulky, jagged appearances. The ring girls are far from attractive, they share the same horrible appearances as the spectators.
Now you're probably wondering why I said that the character models only look good from a distance. From a distance, they do look good, but when you see a close up of their face, its just incredibly lacking in detail. They generally have the same look in their eyes, as if they're brain dead as they just stare straight ahead. I don't know if this was because they were just shoddily done, or because they wanted us to think our fighters took one too many blows to the head in amateur fights. Either way it is horrible, no look of intensity or anger in their eyes. Doesn't look like they even know they're in a fight, and they show no emotions on their face except for the occasional cringe as you try to scrub down the swelling on their face.
Another aspect that lacks in the graphical department are the dramatic replays. As you deliver a takedown punch, the camera cuts to slow motion and you can see the impact of the punch, from the rippling of the cheeks, the bending of the nose, and even the sweat and blood flying off the fighters face. Sounds great huh? Well it would be, if it were done properly. When you see your boxers glove pass through your opponents head, it greatly reduces the dramatic effect and just reminds you of horrible clipping errors. It seems to be a frequent problem too, happening almost every other time. That's only the problem as you send them down, as they do go down and they're too close to the ropes, it looks like they're having a seizure as they jerk back and forth like a fish out of water as the game tries to get the body to the canvas with the ropes blocking the way down.
The sound effects for the game match the gameplay perfectly, you can hear every punch land and every boxer grunt as they do. The music is like that of most EA games, rap and hip hop, so unless you like that sort of music, you might be happy to take advantage of the Xbox 360s ability to play your own music while playing a game.
The replay ability of the game is fairly good, as you'll be able to experiment with different weight classes and styles. Plus the quick matches which you can play with friends or against the computer, and the online multiplayer lend itself to several hours of entertainment.
Aside from the amazing gameplay, there is very little that makes this game stand out from other games. So I'd have to say that overall, this game is probably a rental, it may not be for every gamer, so Id recommend trying it to see if its something you would buy.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 04/11/06
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