Saturday, July 11, 2009

Game review: Fight Night Round 4

Anyone who knows me will tell you I am a HUGE fan of Fight Night Round 3 from EA Chicago. I have never had any interest in boxing but I love Fight Night because it's the best fighter I've ever played that I felt competent at. It's a game that's easy to play but hard to master. Mashing buttons will get you through a couple of fights and maybe even a handful of online fights. To really be competitive you really need to strategize and pick your punches. Fight Night Round 4 has all of this but upgrades almost everything to give us a incredible product.

The biggest change gameplay wise comes from the new physics based fighting system. Fight Night Round 3 was mainly played with awkward animations. In Fight Night 4 because it's all physics based there is no longer any collision detection problems. There also is more diversity in how hard you get hit. When you used to throw a punch it was either a hit or a miss with no calculation of glancing blows. In this new title every little touch of on an opponent will register and with be calculated depending on how hard the punch hit and the angle the opponent is at when hit. The game is also a lot faster paced. The best part of the the last game was playing featherweight matches because they were very fast while the heavy weight fights were slow as hell and not responsive enough. Here the fights are fast and have you make a lot more decisions in a much shorter amount of time. The fights also seems to go the distance more which is nice. It used to be that I either lost the match or won by KO in the first 5 rounds. Now I've had a pretty good balance of knockouts and the occasional match going 12 rounds. It makes for a much better boxing simulator which is how I always played the games but until now they didn't quite function right.

The corner game has been completely revamped and is not longer an awkward game of rubbing my boxer's face. It is now done with a points system where you alicate points to either health, stamina, or damage. This works a lot better and with the option to skip this part, it keeps the game from getting to slowed down after the bell. The standing up game is the one thing that I preferred in the previous game. While the new system makes more sense for what it would be like to get up by balancing and then standing up. I feel like it doesn't function as well as I would like, this might change though with getting more used to this feature.

Last but not least the online fighting modes are fantastic and work better then they ever have before. The fights I had the most fun playing though were against people that played like me "a boxing simulator", when people just mashed buttons to win it wasn't nearly as fun. I play almost as if it's a role playing game and enjoy fighting people that play like that. This is just a personal preference of mine so this would depend on how you want to play the game. The online here is where the game is really going to have it's legs and it doesn't disappoint. Fight Night Round 4 vastly improves on all the issues of the previous title giving us a fantastic sequel in a genre filled with a lot of crap, I'm looking at you facebreaker.

5 out of 5

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