Review by tk62583

"Decent boxing game marred by several flaws"

Graphics - 9/10
Fight Night Champion has some excellent representations of real life boxers. Some faces get wonky from time to time, but overall a great deal of effort was put into making them look real and it shows. The ringwalk effects are decent and in HD it looks pretty good, but nothing that hasn't been in any of the previous incarnations. Overall, the graphics are game's best feature.

Gameplay - 5/10
Control wise, not much has changed from the previous incarnations of Fight Night. I don't see this as a bad thing though since it is a pretty good system afterall. The total punch control is responsive and gives you the option of using either the right stick, or buttons.

You have your choice of several different modes: Champion mode gives you the story of fictional boxer Andre Bishop. Legacy mode allows you to create your own boxer (or use an existing one) and rise him up through the ranks to eventually become undisputed champion. Online puts you and your created boxer up against other players from around the world.
The story in Champion mode was nothing special, but interesting to watch the first time around albeit a bit predictable. The story plays out like a movie, with the player taking control once the main character is in the ring.

Legacy mode is as I described earlier, create a boxer or use an existing boxer and move up the ranks to become champ. Between bouts, you schedule your next fights, go through training mini games, and customize and edit your fighter. You get xp based on your performance during the fight, and then get to allocate the xp to enhance punches, blocking, chin, etc. You eventually will come to dominate your division based solely on your improved punch bonuses.

Online mode is, as expected, where you can fight from other players around the world. There are several different options to choose from. "Fight Now" will pit you and another player against each other using any of the pre-loaded boxers on the roster. "World Championship" is very much like Legacy mode, but against real players and a random matching system.

There are some issues that I have with this game that resulted in such a low score in this category. I consider game mechanics, the stuff you don't immediately see, but notice over time are very important to how a game plays. The AI is rather simplistic, and even on the hardest settings, you will quickly find yourself the undisputed champion. In Legacy mode, you earn cash from your matches, but there doesn't seem to be a way to spend any of it aside from training camps. Beating on a computer is only fun for so long, so there's an online mode to "box" against other players. I say "box" because the fights you encounter online can rarely be described as boxing matches. As in Legacy mode, Online mode allows you to distribute xp to enhance your boxer. A good idea, but poorly implemented. I ran a test and out of 20 fights, 17 of them...almost 90% of the fights consisted of me boxing and my opponent throwing only straight rights; and I do mean ONLY straight rights. This wouldn't be a problem, but with their improved punch, there's always the possibility of a "flash knockdown" or "flash ko"; both of these are punch skills that will result in the opponent being knocked down or out without any recovery time. Hmmm two fighters throwing one punch...if I wanted that, I'd go get a rock'em sock'em bopper game. The sad thing is, the system seems to reward this kind of play, allowing their right to gain unprecedented accuracy, and enough power to penetrate a maxed out block skill. Since they'll win a majority of the time, they'll get more xp to beef up the straight right.

Sound/Music - 5/10
As you would expect, there are many different tracks that play in the background and during your fighter's ring walk. You can import your own playlist as well. Of course there's the coach in between rounds, berating or praising you, depending on how well you do. Then there's the two announcers giving there two cents whenever a punch is landed. Overall the sound and music is good, but nothing special, and it gets irritating after a while...especially after you lose one of the aforementioned one-punch wonders and then being told it's all about preparation and conditioning.

Replayability - 3/10
Whenever you're bored and want to kill some time, a quick match or two against the computer or a friend can be fun. However the flawed mechanics make online play almost unbearable, and as I said before, beating the computer gets old very quickly. Same goes for Champion mode, since there aren't really any variations in the story it's like watching a re-run.

Overall - 5/10
I decided to round down due to this games flawed online mode which, if done correctly, would have gotten this game a 8 or 9 in my book. Single player is fun, but the entire reason most people get this game is for the online function and/or to play against other people. When there's a system mechanic promoting lucky punches over skilled boxing, you no longer have a boxing game, no matter how real you make the boxers look or how much total punch control you throw in.
If you're looking for a good boxing experience, stick with champion mode; you'll get a decent story and you'll save yourself a few bucks (PS store has just the champion mode available for purchase). If you do buy the full game, Legacy mode is worth a play through as well. Personally, I would advise avoiding online play, but if you can perfect the one punch method, you'll probably enjoy it.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 11/05/12

Game Release: Fight Night Champion (US, 03/01/11)

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