Fight Night Round 4 (PS3)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Graphics: 9.50
Sound: 9.50
Gameplay: 9.50
Replays: 9.50
Gamelength: 9.50

“Fight Night Round 4” is the definitive next-gen boxing experience.

In the recent past, games such as “Don King’s Prizefighter” and “Facebreaker” are the only boxing games that have been released. Those games, among others, are generally considered to be complete garbage by most gamers. Because of that single fact, “Fight Night Round 3” was still the best boxing game on the market. That is, of course, until now. Many people have tried, but ultimately, only EA has succeeded long-term. It’s time to step into the ring and experience the latest and greatest in the boxing genre, “Fight Night Round 4” for the PlayStation 3.

EA really pulled out all stops for this game. It doesn’t take a genius to notice the highly enhanced visual quality. The overall style and design is still the same as the previous game, but the lighting, shadows, animations and even the audience have al been kicked up to the next level. It’s hard to deny the fact that this game is gorgeous. As far as boxing games go, there is no equal.

While music doesn’t seem to be a major part of the game, the overall sound quality is fantastic. Every single hit feels as powerful as it’s meant to be and while a part of that comes from the animations and controls, sound is really what does the trick. The announcers and crowd are highly believable and blend right in without any issues. Even the footsteps and smaller things, such as the bell, are immensely realistic. In short, this game is one heck of an experience for the audiophiles out there.

There’s no question about it; this is boxing. This is as real as it gets. If you’ve ever thought about becoming a professional boxer or at least had the urge to see what their careers are like, this is the way to do it. From the moment you put the disc into your PlayStation 3 console, the immersion has already begun. The primary gameplay mode is labeled “Legacy” mode, which makes perfect sense, given the overall design of the game. In Legacy mode, you’ll be taking your chosen boxer through the ranks, starting as a complete and utter nobody. The option to create your own boxer is available, but this is far from the create-a-character modes we’ve seen in the past. In “Fight Night Round 4”, you’re given an extremely powerful toolset that’s definitely more than capable of creating a very lifelike representation of anyone in the world. The option to upload photos as a starting point is also available by using the official website, which makes creating a model of yourself as easy as snapping a picture and going to the site. Granted, the models aren’t perfect after uploading photos, but very basic retouching is all that’s required after that point in order to make a decent character. Even more still, players can share created characters online. People from all over the world have shared tons of characters, even straight down to celebrities such as Conan O’brian. It’s a pretty awesome feature, even if it’s only a purely cosmetic thing and it adds a lot of replay value to this already jam-packed disc. Aside from fighting your way to the top, defending your title(s) and ultimately dominating the ring, your life as a boxer also includes extremely difficult training sessions. These sessions include various minigames that never sound too difficult on paper, but they’re likely to turn some people off from the game almost completely. Still, the boxing itself is as good as it gets. The controls are identical to those found in the previous title, with the joysticks being the bread and butter of the entire game. It feels awkward for the first few moments, but once you get the hang of the controls, everything just flows naturally. The only real downside to the control scheme is more a fault of game balance. During online matches, the easiest way to win is almost always to flail around like a rabid wolverine. However, if both players opt out of the mindless flailing, the fun that can be had is something that must be experienced. At the end of the day, the slew of lag-free online options, huge selection of boxers, create-a-character and Legacy mode really make this game an endless experience. No matter if you’re into the career mode, exhibitions or online-only gameplay, this is easily the best boxing game on the market.

Overall, EA has officially topped their best efforts in the boxing genre. Hopefully they create another game in the “Fight Night” series that takes yet another evolutionary step.

-Best graphics out of any boxing game, period.
-Simple, yet powerful control scheme.
-Lifelike audience and announcers.
-Very powerful character creation tools.
-Endless replay value.

-Training sessions are very difficult and almost unfair.
-Online play can be mind-numbing when fighting players who flail around mindlessly.

Bottom line:
If you enjoy boxing, you’ll enjoy “Fight Night Round 4”. I highly recommend this game.

Overall Rating: 9.50

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