Fight Night Champion Review
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On 05/22/2011 at 09:18 PM by Rob DiMola
Lace up your gloves, the latest round of Fight Night throws a solid hook.
If you are a Fight Night fan, or even a boxing fan, I recommend picking up a copy.
I have been an avid fan of the Fight Night series since it was released back on the Xbox seven years ago. Fight Night Champion is the latest in the long running series and it without question lived up to my expectations, acting as a successful follow up to Fight Night Round 4.
The presentation of the Fight Night Champion really catches your eye right from the start. When you punch someone in the face, you can actually see the outline of your glove on your opponents face. As the hand retracts from the face you can see a ripple effect from the force behind the punch. This definitely became an awesome thing to watch when showing punches in slow motion. Bleeding has also improved from past entries in the series. When a boxer is punched and begins to bleed, you can see the cuts, gashes, and scratches form and worsen throughout the match. The blood can even begin to get on the boxing gloves, the boxer’s pants, and will eventually be all over the ring. This brings realism to forefront, making it feel far more authentic when playing or spectating.
Enhancing the presentation are the pre-game shows. When each boxer is introduced when entering the ring, there is a combination of various colored flashing lights, creating a very cool show. Of course this isn’t a major addition, but the little things like this help create a better game.
Some of the core functions of the game have changed, specifically the controls. Many moves are very easy to execute but they do take some time to learn. Blocking is definitely something that has become harder to achieve, but as your boxer gains skills, he can better block his opponent.
Though blocking can be a challenge, punching is extremely easy and is achieved by just flicking the analog stick rather than the complex analog stick movements found in prior iterations of the series. Each punch has a different scale of endurance involved, which allows for a more realistic feel to how your fighter’s energy depletes. As I stated before, blocking has become a more automated procedure. Your boxer will block, but the higher his skills are in that category, the more he will block. This becomes a problem when using a weaker boxer against a stronger boxer. While in reality a weaker fighter is likely to be trampled by a better one, I do miss the fact that a great player of the game can’t use his skills to overcome the fighter’s weaknesses.
When playing on beginner mode on this game, anybody can just go out there and throw punches and win the fight, but for anyone playing a harder mode, the gameplay is quite different. The game exposes its depth here, encouraging smart boxing. Compared to past Fight Night games, this makes matches more time consuming. Anyone who has played a title in the series likely remembers going into a fight and winning the match in less than 2 rounds by knockout. Well those days are over. You now need to take your time conserving the most energy you can throughout the fight so that you can generate more powerful blows to your opponent later on. You will not win a fight if you do not fight defensively in harder modes and if you run out of endurance, you’re going to be restarting the fight.
The main game begins with a story mode; a new addition for the Fight Night series. In this mode, you live out the life of an imaginary boxer, Andre Bishop. Bishop has ups and downs during his career and your goal is to carry him back to stardom. It’s a mix of different types of boxing as Bishop goes from a young star to a prisoner and then back on the road to stardom. These fights all now have a meaning when you take the story into consideration. I enjoyed this mode as it differs greatly from anything Fight Night has ever offered, and it keeps you interested, giving you a reason to fight your next fight.
The regular career mode has not changed at all in the new game. This was a disappointment because it was just more of the same, nearly discouraging me from even bothering with it again. After playing through the excellent story mode, my interest for the career mode was just not there. I struggled to play through it until I won a championship, but it was dry and dull, needing significant improvement in future games. It’s my impression that EA decided to focus on the story mode in favor of improving the career mode in the least. Given the solid offering of the rest of the game, this is easily the biggest disappointment.
Playing online also has not changed from the last Fight Night title. I did not find this to be a problem because I don’t think there is really any need for a change. It’s a basic Fight mode and to me is perfect for online play. Thankfully, I didn’t encounter any lag throughout the matches I played, making for a smooth experience.
Given the inclusion of the new Story mode and the cleaned up controls, Fight Night Champion is an enjoyable boxing game that improves on almost all aspects of the already enjoyable Fight Night Round 4. I can only hope that with the next title EA improves the Career mode and gives players a reason to work through it again.