Review by Phykos

Reviewed: 08/03/09

The king of boxing is back and it was worth the wait.

I've been a Fight Night fan ever since the second game. With every new release EA has improved upon the previous one and Fight Night Round 4 is no exception. There are a few flaws, most are minor. Make no mistake, this IS the best boxing title on the market and is miles ahead of the competition.

Graphics 9.5/10- Is that a game or is it real? On the big screen this game is pure eye candy. From the spit flying with every big hit to the flexing muscles with every swing, this game has an incredible amount of detail. One new touch that really helps the immersion is the shaking camera that flashes yellow whenever a counter hit is recieved, making you feel ever punishing blow that connects with your face or your opponent's. Cameras flash, the crowd roars and moves excitedly, and sweat pours off the bodies of the fighters, giving a strong sense of realism and excitement. The only thing keeping this from a ten is the fact that some of the models are a bit off, but other than that it's near flawless. This is easily one of the best looking games on the 360.

Controls 9/10-Great. People may complain about the initial lack of buttons (which will be fixed with a patch if it's a deal breaker for you) but the fact is is that TPC works just fine. Once you spend a little bit of time with the system you'll be throwing any combination you can think of with speed and efficiency. The TPC also helps with the immersion factor as well, making you feel a little like you yourself are swinging in the ring. All in all great controls.

Sound/Music 9/10-Awesome. The soundtrack is very strong with this one (provided that you enjoy rap) and the songs will quickly grow on you. In the ring the announcers do a solid job, normally reporting accurately and enthusiastically (though they do repeat themselves a bit more than I'd like). The boxers pant when tired and the crowd roars when a big hit is scored. Speaking of big hits, whenever you score a knockdown you'll hear the sickening impact of your fist crashing into your opponents face and sending the hurtling into the mat. Basically, the sound rocks.

Gameplay 9/10-Here it comes, the most important category. I'll go ahead and state the only real flaw with the gameplay right here to get it out of the way, even though it has now been addressed by a brand new patch which adds a stamina slider. Sometimes it just seems like people can get away with too many punches and not tire out as quickly as they should. Sounds bad right? Not really. You're given a multitude of tools to beat the crap out of the spammers that'll you'll encounter online. You can lean out of the way, weave, sidestep, and block. Doing any of those things will give you a chance for a game changing counter, putting a stop to any idiots who waggle the stick around. Thus the only problem isn't a problem at all, provided you have the skill to use the tools properly. Plus, with the patch, offline is pretty much perfect because now you can adjust the stamina AND counter window. The new physics system is great and is a big part of what makes the game so great. Glancing blows, height, and reach are all taking into consideration. Speaking of reach, it is a major factor in how you play your game. If your guy has long arms you best stick to the outside, as your straights are more effective. However if you have shorter arms box in the inside as your hooks and uppercuts are more powerful. The fact that reach matters now greatly elevates this above previous installments as it much more realistic and diverse now. Blocks can also be broken now too, helping prevent obsessive turtling. In short, the gameplay is near perfect.

Modes 9/10- In terms of modes you have Legacy Mode, Fight Now, and Xbox Live. In Legacy mode you take your boxer through the years, constantly training and fighting to become the greatest of all time. It's fun and the mini games actually help you improve your game in the ring, though they can be hard at the start. Fight Now allows you to fight the CPU or jump in with a friend for some competition using the most famous boxers around. Want a dream match? You got it. On Xbox Live you can either do standard ranked matches or compete against the best in the world on World Championship mode. Online plays well, though can be annoying due to the low quality of many players. A lot of people spam, but can be beaten easily with smart playing.

Well, there it is. Hopefully this has been informative and I hope it convinces anyone on the fence to buy the game. Get out there and get it!

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Fight Night Round 4 (US, 06/23/09)

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