Fight Night Round 4 – Review (PS3)

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I’ve been looking forward to Fight Night Round 4 for years – literally. Round 3 was released way back in 2006 so I’ve been eagerly keeping my eyes and ears open for news on a fourth installment. I was happy to find out last year that the game was scheduled for 2009.

I really enjoyed Fight Night Round 3 but it was just a graphical overhaul (albeit a very good one) of the Playstation 2 version.

Following on from my Demo Impressions blog I can confirm that the changes we wanted have been made for Round 4.

Firstly the knockdowns – rather than a set animation you now have a more fluid way of falling to the canvas. It’s much improved and while not perfect (you will sometimes see the same fall more than once) it’s probably as good as they are gonna get it.

Secondly the overpowered haymakers – this has definitely been sorted. Now not every haymaker stuns an opponent which is great news and the ones that do feel like solid punches that would genuinely do damage. Also being stunned doesn’t always mean you’re on your way down now.

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In the previous game getting hit with a haymaker saw your health drop to almost nothing and a punch or two would be enough to drop you, regardless of what stage the fight was at. Now your remaining health flashes red, your boxer staggers slightly, you are slow in getting your guard up and whilst your opponents shots take off more health it’s easier to clinch or just soak up a little punishment to survive.

It makes the game a lot more interesting and fights seem to last a longer. In multiplayer fights in Round 3 you were often done in 2 or 3 rounds whereas in Fight Night Round 4 that is still possible, but most fights seem to go 5 or 6 rounds. You really feel like each fight is a battle now.

You use the left stick to move your boxer with the right stick controlling punches. So push the right stick up to the left – left jab. Push it up to the right – right jab. Holding L1 and moving the left stick leans, while R1 and the right stick blocks. It takes a while to get used to but it’s such a great control system.

The career mode is horrendously addictive – you create a boxer (or use a legend/current boxer) and take them on the journey that is their boxing career.

Let me briefly interrupt myself to discuss Photo Game Face, something EA has been pushing recently. I thought I would give it a try – basically you need a photo of yourself front on and side on then you move lots of crosshairs to indicate where your eyes/nose are etc. Once that’s done you can play around with some sliders to tweak your appearance and voila!

Now I always create myself whenever this sort of career mode arises and this is the closest I have ever got. Seriously, everyone I’ve shown it to has been impressed. It will probably add 15/20 mins onto your create time but it’s worth it (and you can use the face on any EA game without having to recreate it at all). NB. My main tip once you get to the slider part is get your wife/girlfriend to give you a hand as they can tell you what you look like better than a mirror and mine certainly wouldn’t have have looked as good without some help!

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Anyway, back to career mode – you schedule your own fights on the calendar and get to put some training in first. Training is only 1 or 2 sessions and you can auto train but only get 50% of the possible benefits. I kept up with the training until I got into the top 5 then I switched to auto from there.

So you’ll fight and work your way up the rankings. You start ranked 50th and the first four or five guys you fight will pretty much be punchbags but once you hit the top 30/25 things will be more challenging.

I certainly found it a struggle once I got to the Top 15 – I was losing lots of fights on decision and didn’t have the stamina. So I changed tactics and didn’t go hell for leather which helped and really improved things – I still lost fights here and there but it was a steady climb from there.

Until a four hour session last weekend saw me clinch the EABC (Electronic Arts Boxing Comission) title. I was most pleased and it was even sweeter as it was at the second attempt following a 9th round KO defeat in my previous attempt.

There is more than one belt in each weight division and I believe you can also switch weights if you wish – however it took me until age 32 (starting at 18) to win the title so I doubt I’ll have much chance to switch weights! πŸ˜†

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For me that makes it great – the fact I didn’t breeze through beating everyone up is a plus. My record currently is 21 Wins (17 by KO) 17 Losses and 1 Draw (I was robbed πŸ™‚ ). 17 defeats is quite high but I reckon more than half of them were times I just couldn’t finish the man off and lost on points.

I even had my trainer begging me to quit (three times – it was a new low for a career mode in gaming πŸ˜† ) but like Rocky I stuck it out and eventually got the belt.

The thing I love about this game though is the fact it’s a great pick up and play title. Anyone can get involved once they know the basic controls and while not as bad as a button masher they can still give you a good fight while frantically rotating the sticks in any direction πŸ™‚

I’d recommend this to anyone, it’s great fun and has a surprisingly deep career mode.

Rating: 9/10

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3 Comments

  1. This game is amazing. Have had chance to play a few rounds during work time and will be heading off to purchase it very shortly!

    Only thing missing from the blog is a picture of your fighter. Get it up!

  2. As I stated in my impressions of this game, I was late to the ring, I wasn’t a huge boxing fan but the game definitely impressed me. So after also reading your review I may rent it for the weekend.

    As always great review keep up the great work.

  3. I have to say, very realistic graphics.


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