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I've pretty much played them all, I think.

Boxing games, I mean.

You see, I am a hardcore fight fan. I've been following the game since I was 4, and I first saw "Kid Dynamite" Mike Tyson try and decapitate other human beings using only his fists. I'm also a hardcore gamer. So, I've made many stops in my journey to find the best virtual representation of pugilism, beginning with the straight-forward titled, "Boxing" on the Artari 2600, where two stick figures punched each other in the nose, and then witnessing my own decapitation at the hands of Iron Mike a few years later on the NES.

Oh, how far we've come.

While the Fight Night series most not be the most realistic boxing games out there in a few aspects (the Japanese Boxer's Road games hold claim to a superior career mode- for now...), without question it has become the bar against other boxing games are compared. So imagine my excitement when offered the chance to play the upcoming Fight Night Round 4.

For the first match, I chose Thomas Hearns (small afro version), and my opponent chose Leonard. I immediately noticed how much of a difference my reach advantage had compared to previous games. I was actually able to "box", and it was paying dividends, unlike boxing games before. Thanks to the haymaker now being realistic, and the ridiculous parry system gone, it felt exactly like real boxing. But the main thing I noticed? EVERY PUNCH COUNTS. Strategy is the word of the day folks. Eat one wrong, and you're stumbling around the ring like a drunk girl on prom night. Gone are the days of having to get your opponents health to nothing to score a KD. Flush punches hurt. Connect percentages are much more realistic this time around (The highest I saw was 45% in a match where my Hearns dusted off Emmanuel Augustus), thanks mostly to the physics system. The pace of fights is more realistic. In a fight I did with Monzon vs. Hagler,. we threw about 650-700 punches each through 10 rounds. Now mind you, me and the guy I was playing were playing in a very "sim" manner, not like the slugfests you guys are seeing in the vids.

Wanna tweak that? You can, thanks to, for the first time in a FN game, sliders. Yes, that's right. Unfortunately, I didn't note all of the different sliders I saw, but I noticed sliders for everything from punch accuracy to stamina effect. This is a huge addition to the Fight Night series that I'm sure everyone will welcome with open arms.

What makes a realistic sports game is the details- and Brizzo's team delivered. Real boxing brands this time around- Everlast and Grant join the fray. No more "Dodge" boxing shoes and the like. The arenas that were complete were EXACT. The Mecca, Madison Square Garden, is in the game (under the guise "New York Arena"), as are famous venues like The MGM Grand and The Thomas and Mack center. I even believe the Staples Center makes a reappearance, though without the statue for Oscar DelaHoya to throw his motorcycle helmet at (10 points for the movie reference). Tyson comes out in his black shorts and towel. Griffin's boxing gym (a real-life gym in Vancouver, BC) makes an appearance. The presentation looks like an ESPN broadcast. The crowd chants "Hatton Wonderland" when Ricky fights in Manchester. Ok, that last one isn't true. Maybe Round 5. But the details are what will blow you away. You'll actually see cuts open up and swelling develop during the action. The ref actually stops the action to deduct points. Details, people.

Two major changes are the corner and get up games. Previously, one corner had to wait while the other tended to it's fighter's wounds. Now, It's been replaced with a point allocation system to help your fighter. The better you do in the round, you get a certain amount of points to spend on different tasks that replenish either health or stamina, or repair damage to your fighter, like cuts and swelling. A great round gave me 45 points. A small bag of ice cost 10 points and regained 10 health. A large bag was 20 points, 20 heath. Medium was 15. Same with Stamina, which was replenished with water (these values were likely to change, according to the devs). Both corners do this simultaneously- it keeps the pace of the game up. It also adds an interesting element of strategy- Do you give your fighter more health to try and make it to the final bell, or give him stamina and go for the comeback KO? If your health is low, and you've taken a lot of damage, do you risk the stoppage to regain more health? Although I liked the corner game in the previous games, I thought the new one was an EXCELLENT idea.

The get-up game, I was less enamored with- now, it's a mechanic where you actually have to position your fighter to standing from a first-person view. The left stick is used to move him horizontally to his knees, and the right stick is pushed up to get him standing once he is straight up and down on his knees. However, the horizontal movement is momentum based- push too hard on the left stick, and your fighter will simply fall over in the other direction. I thought it was too touchy. I think I got up successfully once in about 7 KD's. The devs stated that it was likely going to be tweaked. I don't think gamers will like it any better or worse than the old system. It's slightly more dramatic, but I'm not so sure it was really all that indicative of how hurt my fighter was. We'll see.

I also messed with the new replay edit feature some. It's as robust as it is in other EA games (it's almost exact to NHL 09's), and is perfect for showing off special moments, especially with the free-roam camera. I expect to see a ton of videos uploaded to EA sports world.

So, 25 years and hundreds of boxing games later, has my journey for the perfect game ended? For now, absolutely, I'm confident that Round 4 will be the most accurate representation of the sweet science ever, from top to bottom. Those of you that pre-ordered, will be in love with the demo, I think. I just know that June 30th marks the beginning of the end of my social life. See you in the ring!

Game: Fight Night Round 4Reader Score: 7.5/10 - Vote Now
Platform: PS3 / Xbox 360Votes for game: 38 - View All
Fight Night Round 4 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 NYG_Meth @ 05/13/09 12:58 AM
Great write-up, man. Can't wait to get my hands on the demo...
 
# 2 Darkleaf @ 05/13/09 01:13 AM
Great write up man. I just hope Legacy mode is what we all want it to be.

For some reason this part got me really excited.

Quote:
What makes a realistic sports game is the details- and Brizzo's team delivered. Real boxing brands this time around- Everlast and Grant join the fray. No more "Dodge" boxing shoes and the like. The arenas that were complete were EXACT. The Mecca, Madison Square Garden, is in the game (under the guise "New York Arena"), as are famous venues like The MGM Grand and The Thomas and Mack center. I even believe the Staples Center makes a reappearance, though without the statue for Oscar DelaHoya to throw his motorcycle helmet at (10 points for the movie reference). Tyson comes out in his black shorts and towel. Griffin's boxing gym (a real-life gym in Vancouver, BC) makes an appearance. The presentation looks like an ESPN broadcast. The crowd chants "Hatton Wonderland" when Ricky fights in Manchester. Ok, that last one isn't true. Maybe Round 5. But the details are what will blow you away. You'll actually see cuts open up and swelling develop during the action. The ref actually stops the action to deduct points. Details, people.
 
# 3 JayBee74 @ 05/13/09 06:46 AM
Are there sliders in the demo?
 
# 4 Money99 @ 05/13/09 07:46 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkleaf
Great write up man. I just hope Legacy mode is what we all want it to be.

For some reason this part got me really excited.
Yeah, you should have heard some of the producers rag on FNRd3. The way you could upgrade your mouthpiece and get a +5 for chin. Or buy some new shorts and get +10 on stamina.
We all had a big laugh over that and it was something the producers never want to see in another EA boxing game.
 
# 5 TDKing @ 05/13/09 11:25 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayBee74
Are there sliders in the demo?
More importantly will the sliders be available for ONLINE matches ?
 
# 6 DaveDQ @ 05/13/09 11:33 AM
Nice read. You should write for OS. Nice style.
 
# 7 Complex @ 05/13/09 04:10 PM
I totally forget to mention the boxing brands in the game. Great mention Darxide!
 
# 8 SteelerSpartan @ 05/13/09 04:31 PM
Sliders FTW!!!!!!!
 
# 9 Vast @ 05/13/09 04:49 PM
Great write up Darxide! I love how u actually spoke about the gameplay, and about the punch percentage. This is huge, i mean in round 3 i averaged 60%!!
 

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