Review by rapt00r

"Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)"

The past two days I have been obsessed with EA Sports Fight Night Round 2.
Fight Night Round 2 is EA's latest entry into the boxing genre. Having never played the first Fight Night game, I was not sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised.

The game is controlled using the two analog thumbsticks. The left thumbstick allows you to move, and the right thumbstick throws your punches. This control style may take a few tries to get adjusted to, but it works quite well. If you find yourself hating this style, you can change your control options and use the face buttons instead.

If you're playing the game on GameCube, like I am, you'll have to deal with the smaller and octagonal C-stick. The C-stick may occasionally get stuck on the corners, making it difficult to consistently pull off hooks and uppercuts. This does not really hamper your control in the game too much, but it obviously will not play as well as the Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions.

The blocking system works very nicely. Using the C-stick and one of the shoulder buttons allows you to either block, dodge or parry punches. Quickly throw a job after a block to counter punch. You can also clinch, or hold onto your opponent. This can be a useful feature if you're about to be knocked down. Don't use it too much though, or you can be penalized.

The Haymaker system is a great feature in the game. The Haymaker system allows you to charge your hooks and uppercuts, making them more power than a normal strike. When used, it can quickly change the momentum of a fight.

The career mode of Fight Night Round 2 is an excellent part of the game. You start your career as an amateur fighter in the basement of a warehouse. The ring has more duct tape holding it together than it does mat, but you have to start somewhere right? As you advance from fight to fight, you will also have training sessions where you will practice the basic moves in the game. Each match features amateur rules, including two minute rounds and headgear. You have the option to turn pro at any time, but sticking around will allow you to fight for the amateur championship. After ten matches, you will automatically turn pro.

Once you leave the amateurs in your dust and join the ranks of the professionals, several options will open up to you. You will now be able to use your earnings to hire new trainers and cutmen. For example, you can hire a trainer who will be able to increase your speed and a cutman who will be able to quickly heal your wounds. Of course the quality of the men you surround yourself with will depend upon how much money you have in the bank. You can also use your money to purchase new gear, such as gloves and trunks. The gear you purchase will increase various attributes of your fighter.

Fight Night Round 2 is one of the best looking sports games available. All of the boxers look great and very close to their real life counterparts. The game has great facial animations along with very nice looking facial damage. Some of the effects such as blood and sweat dripping down the boxer's bodies or flying into the air after are a hard punch look great and almost realistic.

The sound in Fight Night is very good as well. The commentary is provided by ESPN's veteran analyst, Joe Tessitore. His commentary accurately portrays what is happening on the screen and is very clear. Occasionally there will be slip-up and Joe will make a comment that doesn't seem to fit the situation, but overall the commentary is one of the best in any sports game. EA also did a great job with crowd noise and effects. When you here the crowd chanting and your glove slamming into your opponents face, it will sound like you're actually at a fight.

Online play was of course excluded from the GameCube version of Fight Night Round 2. However, Super Punch-Out was added in its place. The game is available from the start and perfectly emulates the original. Super Punch-Out is a very fun arcade boxer, and one of the best games on Super Nintendo. Once you beat the game, Little Mac will be unlocked as a playable character in Fight Night Round 2.

I can't say enough about how much I love this game. It's so much fun to play and one of, if not the best boxing game on the market. I highly recommend EA Sports Fight Night Round 2 to any boxing fan or sports fan.


Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/14/05

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