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"Fight Night Round 4"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Fight Night Round 4'.
Fri 24/07/09 at 14:22
Regular
Posts: 2,781
note: also appears on my review website - ShaunMunro.co.uk (shaneo632). Thanks!

~~~~~

By the fourth Fight Night game, expectations have risen pretty high, particularly after the last game essentially swore in the current generation of gaming, with its revolutionary visuals that serve as a snapshot for the term "next gen". Fortunately, this fourth installment isn't just another baseless cash-in from EA, and in fact hones and refines the few flaws abundant in the last game. This is THE definitive boxing game.

What's first most striking about FNR4 is the control change, but fear not, for there is a quick tutorial to help you to get to grips with the new commands, and the learning curve is such that it's very easy to quickly adapt to. My only real complaint is that the Haymaker no longer requires you to roll the analogue stick around, and instead you simply have to press a shoulder button, which does put a dampener on the immersive aspect of the game somewhat. That said, for other moves such as jabs, the streamlined, minimalistic approach to the controls is something of an improvement.

What really seemed to work in this game, though, was the counter system - it provides a pretty accurate reflection of how it works in real boxing, with a small window of time to land a hurting on your opponent, evidenced by a close in with the camera. It is something of a challenge to master, but when you get there it makes fights so much easier. In fact, after a few hours' play, the game does become devilishly easy if you can perfect counters, as the AI is rather rigid and doesn't have much of an ability to adapt to your style, which is a tad disappointing.

The real bread and butter of the game comes with the series mainstay - the Legacy Mode - which has been considerably refined since the last outing. This is a far more hands-on and technical approach to boxing, and the plethora of statistics maintained about each match, and even each punch, are utterly staggering. It enables you to improve as a boxer in much the same way as a real boxer might do so by rewatching tapes of their performance, and therefore makes things seem more involving and more immersive. Also, the cartoon-like rival system from the last game has been entirely reworked, so that there's less focus on animosity between you and your opponent, making it seem less like a gimmick from a wrestling game.

The elements of customisation are also rather impressive, and EA have implemented a Photo GameFace system that allows you to put your boxers online for viewing, and also to view other players', of which there are some rather amusing recreations of characters from the Rocky films. The online mode really is the treat of the game, with you being able to challenge for titles, defend your belts, and unlike a lot of online combat games, where those who've been playing for months have a massive headstart, Round 4 actually reduces all your stats to an equal level, meaning that the best player really is the one who wins. My only real criticism is that if you're not paying attention, you'll end up fighting someone of a vastly different weight class, resulting in a mismatch that, whilst hilarious, may involve you being quickly pumelled.

It's somewhat passe for anyone that's played the previous game, but yes, Fight Night Round 4 is a visually stunning game that displays some of the most entrancing and exciting graphics on any next-generation platform. Texturally, it's virtually faultless, and at a distance, it looks as though you're pretty much watching a real fight. These are among the most photorealistic visuals ever put into a video game. Not only that, but the character animations are fluid and incredibly realistic looking, and there are little nuances animated in the face and bodies of the fighters, meaning they flinch when a hit is coming their way. The fighting commentary is also pretty decent, although like so many games involving commentary, things get repetitive very quickly, and there are the odd errors and glitches, like the commentators speaking the wrong fighter's name.

Despite a few foibles, this is a first class sports game and an even better boxing one - it improves on the few flaws of Round 3, and gears things up with an utterly astounding presentation, as well as comprehensive statistics that'll satisfy even the most ardent boxing fanatics. It isn't perfect, but the flaws are largely inconsequential. This is the only boxing game you need.

9/10

Thanks for reading,
Reefer
Mon 27/07/09 at 00:54
Regular
Posts: 2,781
Ah yes, the new UFC game is rather fantastic! :D
Sun 26/07/09 at 21:22
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,312
Awesome review Reefer! :) Never been into boxing games myself, can't do the whole patient blocking thing, i just want to combo my opponents to death. Much prefer UFC :P
Fri 24/07/09 at 14:22
Regular
Posts: 2,781
note: also appears on my review website - ShaunMunro.co.uk (shaneo632). Thanks!

~~~~~

By the fourth Fight Night game, expectations have risen pretty high, particularly after the last game essentially swore in the current generation of gaming, with its revolutionary visuals that serve as a snapshot for the term "next gen". Fortunately, this fourth installment isn't just another baseless cash-in from EA, and in fact hones and refines the few flaws abundant in the last game. This is THE definitive boxing game.

What's first most striking about FNR4 is the control change, but fear not, for there is a quick tutorial to help you to get to grips with the new commands, and the learning curve is such that it's very easy to quickly adapt to. My only real complaint is that the Haymaker no longer requires you to roll the analogue stick around, and instead you simply have to press a shoulder button, which does put a dampener on the immersive aspect of the game somewhat. That said, for other moves such as jabs, the streamlined, minimalistic approach to the controls is something of an improvement.

What really seemed to work in this game, though, was the counter system - it provides a pretty accurate reflection of how it works in real boxing, with a small window of time to land a hurting on your opponent, evidenced by a close in with the camera. It is something of a challenge to master, but when you get there it makes fights so much easier. In fact, after a few hours' play, the game does become devilishly easy if you can perfect counters, as the AI is rather rigid and doesn't have much of an ability to adapt to your style, which is a tad disappointing.

The real bread and butter of the game comes with the series mainstay - the Legacy Mode - which has been considerably refined since the last outing. This is a far more hands-on and technical approach to boxing, and the plethora of statistics maintained about each match, and even each punch, are utterly staggering. It enables you to improve as a boxer in much the same way as a real boxer might do so by rewatching tapes of their performance, and therefore makes things seem more involving and more immersive. Also, the cartoon-like rival system from the last game has been entirely reworked, so that there's less focus on animosity between you and your opponent, making it seem less like a gimmick from a wrestling game.

The elements of customisation are also rather impressive, and EA have implemented a Photo GameFace system that allows you to put your boxers online for viewing, and also to view other players', of which there are some rather amusing recreations of characters from the Rocky films. The online mode really is the treat of the game, with you being able to challenge for titles, defend your belts, and unlike a lot of online combat games, where those who've been playing for months have a massive headstart, Round 4 actually reduces all your stats to an equal level, meaning that the best player really is the one who wins. My only real criticism is that if you're not paying attention, you'll end up fighting someone of a vastly different weight class, resulting in a mismatch that, whilst hilarious, may involve you being quickly pumelled.

It's somewhat passe for anyone that's played the previous game, but yes, Fight Night Round 4 is a visually stunning game that displays some of the most entrancing and exciting graphics on any next-generation platform. Texturally, it's virtually faultless, and at a distance, it looks as though you're pretty much watching a real fight. These are among the most photorealistic visuals ever put into a video game. Not only that, but the character animations are fluid and incredibly realistic looking, and there are little nuances animated in the face and bodies of the fighters, meaning they flinch when a hit is coming their way. The fighting commentary is also pretty decent, although like so many games involving commentary, things get repetitive very quickly, and there are the odd errors and glitches, like the commentators speaking the wrong fighter's name.

Despite a few foibles, this is a first class sports game and an even better boxing one - it improves on the few flaws of Round 3, and gears things up with an utterly astounding presentation, as well as comprehensive statistics that'll satisfy even the most ardent boxing fanatics. It isn't perfect, but the flaws are largely inconsequential. This is the only boxing game you need.

9/10

Thanks for reading,
Reefer

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