Home
OS Scores Explained Fight Night Champion Overview (Xbox 360)
Pros
Excellent campaign, natural controls, graphics are unmatched.
Cons
Footwork is still weak, corner work feels broken with no user input, career mode is repetitive.
Bottom Line
Fight Night Champion features great visuals and physics, resulting in an enjoyable boxing experience.
8
out of 10
Fight Night Champion REVIEW

Fight Night Champion Review (Xbox 360)

We recently changed how we do our reviews. Read about the new process here, then check out the new scoring guidelines and revised scoring rubric.

Article 1: Initial Impressions


Welcomed by the rhythmic sounds of a fighter’s heart, drums from The Roots beat slow and steady as the opening track brings Fight Night Champion to life.

Players are thrown right into the storm, assuming the role of Andre Bishop in a boxer’s tale. As the humbled and focused Bishop, players live out this champion boxer’s storied history and battle through his path to redemption.

Gameplay

Heavily taped fists cut through the heavy air with the new controls scheme. EA Sports has named it Full Spectrum Punch Control. This new method allows for sharp and precise shots to be snapped off with a simple flick of the right analog stick. There are both pros and cons to this scheme.

Combination punching can now be pulled off with ease. But you will have to pre-load your throws to pull off three- or four-punch combos. When you do it right, the result is beautiful and natural throwing motions.

The negative side of this new control scheme is how easy it is to unintentionally flick the stick in the wrong direction. Even when I want to flick the stick once for a jab, I will sometimes get a straight because of how close together everything is on the right stick.

The control scheme is also not as "revolutionary" as EA would have you believe. Still, it is certainly more accessible, and it is a smart way to invite more gamers into the fold. At the same time, hardcore fans should still find a challenge and level of depth here because users still need to be precise to tactically succeed with the new control scheme.

The punch modifier (the R2 button) in Fight Night Champion will result in more force behind your punches. Boxers will plant their feet, and the animation will be slightly longer and varied -- these punches can damage and knockout opponents if they walk into them.

Flash KOs occur based on a variety of variables, but the fighter that falls to a flash knockout typically will have just used a lot of energy throwing a few combinations in a row. Another factor can be the angle at which the punch connects. If a fighter ducks right into a hook to the face, that might just be all she wrote. Momentum on KOs is better than ever; fighters fall naturally in the direction of where they were struck.

The new stamina system is a welcomed addition, simulating the human body’s muscle zones. Throwing repeated lefts or rights will fatigue the corresponding arm, weakening it in later rounds. Abusing or spamming the weaving to find counter windows is now countered on its own. Player who abuse the weave will find their fighter’s torsos slowing down dramatically late in fights.

The cover up button can now be held down while still throwing punches. As you throw from cover, the punch animation completes, and if the cover is still held, your fighter will return to his guard. While held, the fighter will protect the targeted zones of his body on his own.

Holding your gloves in cover for rounds at a time can be tiring, especially when flexing your trapezoids muscles embracing for impact. The collision-detection technology shines in this aspect of the game. Opponents will eventually be able to break down your guard with stiff jabs and power hooks, so timing your blocks is valuable.

It follows that the basic strategy in FNC is to attack all zones of your opponent with variety. Jabs and crosses should be followed by a weave and body shot. Remaining balanced in all phases will help you last the fight.

Animations in the game are also technically sound. Hookercuts have been added, and signature fighting styles have added personality to the top boxers.

It would be great if each fighter had signature style and motion capturing done. After all, boxing is all about individuality and matchups. Having that level of detail would create endless possibilities and dream match-ups in the ring.

What holds back this fighter from true greatness is the lack of footwork. The dashing technique in FNC feels like an afterthought. The base, frame and footwork are the foundation of the fundamentals of boxing. The movement feels unnatural at times. When dashing around the ring, you must wait for the fighter to complete his animation before attempting another punch, taking precious milliseconds out of our hands.

FNC can also feel like a slugfest a majority of the time; shoulders rotate and pop off like engine pistons pumping, with gloves snapping off jabs as they connect with opponents.

For better or worse, that’s just how the game is played -- people want to throw like Rocky. While playing offline, game settings and sliders are accessible to curve the arcade feel of the game (at least on the PS3 version, the 360 sliders seem to be relatively unusable). Online, a stamina system that is too forgiving allows people to swing wildly for too long, but if you survive for some rounds, you can still take advantage later in the fight.

Game speed, punch power, stamina, damage and other elements will help customize the game to your liking. The simulation boxers will be able to hit the “simulation” presentation setting, and this will get rid of the flashy graphics and counter-window flash in the ring, which should lead to the look of pure boxing.

Presentation

The graphic artists at EA Sports Canada have designed the most realistic player models in sports gaming. Even the muscles flex with different degrees of movement.

According to EA, the developers have rendered a sub-surface beneath the skin textures. This allows for scattering blood under the skin, improving the look of realistic bruising. Bruising occurs on the body as well. With incredible sound design matched with HD visuals, you can feel it in your hands when the punches meet the frames of fighters, and the dual-shock controller rumbles. In addition, upon cutting a fighter, you will hear a different sound at impact as the cut is split open.

Each venue boasts different atmospherics. Smog and dust float in closed stadiums, with immaculate lighting in venues such as MSG and MGM. Fighting in open stadiums features a different set of lighting tones; the night sky paints the crowd a dark blue, and dimly lit signs glow in the distance. The shadows and muscle tones change in each setting. The game is absolutely gorgeous in motion, blazing waves of colors and shadows as fists fly.

Online

FNC boasts a couple game modes to keep online competitive play interesting. Online World Championships and personalized Online Gyms allow gamers to set up tournaments, compete to be champions of their class, or just become the most dominant gym in the online boxing field.

Online Gyms can be customized to build a team of your liking, and you can invite friends to challenge other gyms. Game sliders cannot be adjusted in online fighting (this was originally promised), and you can spar with gym buddies as well. Essentially, the Online Gyms feature seems more like a first step than a finished addition. The feature is a little buggy -- tournaments seem to freeze up at various points being one example -- and so it comes off feeling a little rushed.

You can also just take your created characters online and fight them against unique fighters from across the globe. Some created characters will have maxed-out abilities that will attempt to take advantage of the create-a-boxer philosophy implemented by EA Canada. Basically, you either have to look for guys near your rating, take your lumps until your ratings increase, or buy the boost packs like many others have to get a highly rated boxer from day one.


Champion Mode

This is a new angle for sports gaming career modes, titled Champion mode, where players are able to connect with a main character and act out a lead role in a story fit for the big screen.

Scripted by Hollywood screenwriter Will Rokos, Fight Night Champion's presentational elements are unmatched in the sports-gaming genre.

The tone of this short film, if you will, is daunting, dark and continuously ominous throughout. Bishop is an orphan from the streets who is patiently waiting for that one moment to be crowned the greatest to ever do it; it seems to be drawing on parallels from Mike Tyson’s own storied career.

The art direction of this title complements the story, with its flattened out colors and an added attention to strikingly realistic shadowing. The colors accentuate the story with grayscales and dark schemes present throughout -- portraying the deep introspective mind of Andre Bishop.

Bishop’s name symbolizes the moral character of the hero in this tale. His attire is clean, sporting pure white and cardinal-red trunks. Andre finds himself in a constant state of internal conflict when loyalty must come before his own endeavors, even when it leads to heartache and despair.

The voice acting and script are rough, which is the nature of the sport. ESPN’s Brian Kenny comments from the set of Friday Night Fights, blending reality with fiction.

The musical scores are cued when the battles in the ring are peaking, and vary in pitch and intensity when players are cut or stunned. This aspect might be the most brilliant portion of the mode, but sometimes the music cues come in at the wrong times, which throws everything off a bit.

Champion Mode is directed and produced at a level sports gaming has never witnessed. While the story itself does not do anything new in the boxing genre, it still takes some risks for a video game. Plus, most importantly, every moment feels like it can be a defining moment in your career. The 5-8 hours to complete the mode will be considered too short by some, but since this is almost treated like an extended tutorial mode, that range feels kind of right.

Career

The philosophy of Legacy mode in FNC is about trying to improve on the past versions. You can now take your fighters around the globe to train in prominent gyms, each gym having a specialty in some aspect of your game.

As I played through the mode, it became clear that a similar points system exists in the Tiger Woods series. Experience points (XP) are earned as you train, and you can go in and apply these points to each facet of your game. Build up your left hook or right uppercut with each gym session that passes.

Visually, your boxer does not progress in size or weight over time. This is a step backwards because Fight Night Round 3 displayed the hard work you put in via adding definition to your boxer’s player model. As your boxer gets older and the wear and tear sets in, it will also be harder to earn XP.

Your boxing style is fully customizable, each fighter being unique in skill set. The downfall, as I mentioned earlier, is that there will be boxers online who max out certain punches, and repeatedly throw that punch. The best advice I can give is to use your defense to counter punch the punches you see coming.

Severe damage in career fights will carry over, and it can even force boxers into retirement. This is a cool feature to emphasize maintaining your body in the right way during your career.

Final Thoughts

Fight Night Champion dances on the line of greatness. On the simulation presentation settings, it’s a joy to pay close attention to the varying speed of the fighters, their fatigue, and their breathing patterns as they grow tired. Well-fought matches are always satisfying, and when the game is played by two tacticians, it's a joy to behold. While that perfect blend is hard to capture across the entire spectrum of modes, the game is successful in creating a fun experience that is easy to come back and play at a moment's notice.


Learning Curve: Easy to jump in and throw, and the new controls lead to more chances for advanced combos. Champion mode almost acts like an extended tutorial mode. Play that mode and you should be set by the time it ends.

Control Scheme: It's not as revolutionary as EA makes it out to be, but it should do a good job of bringing more people into the genre.

Story: Art direction, sound design and gameplay all blend masterfully in Champion mode.

Career – Following the path of EA Sports MMA, it's unoriginal but has some enjoyable elements to manage.

Visuals: These are the most realistic player models in sports gaming. Muscles flex and bruise while the gloves pound away.

Audio: The score from The Roots lends a motion picture feel to Champion mode. Audio design enhances the in-ring experience.

Score: 8.0 (Great)



Fight Night Champion Videos
Member Comments
# 1 Phobia @ 03/16/11 01:29 PM
Great Review Chris!
 
# 2 fistofrage @ 03/16/11 01:52 PM
I thought it was a fair review. I thought you may have made career mode seem a bit better tan what you actually get, but everything else was on point. I am glad you mentioned some of the 360 sliders not working because people have the right to know that.

Overall good review. I would have given it a bit lower numerical score, but I am sure that the 8 you gave it fits your criteria for a great game.
 
# 3 ggsimmonds @ 03/16/11 06:54 PM
I had hoped the new review process would be better but it seems as if that is not the case.

An 8.0? For what? Changing the analog punches, adding a few hours long champion mode and adding a ref in the ring?

Sorry if this comes off as hostile or bitter but I really don't think this game deserves an 8.
 
# 4 Bamtino @ 03/16/11 07:56 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggsimmonds
I had hoped the new review process would be better but it seems as if that is not the case.

An 8.0? For what? Changing the analog punches, adding a few hours long champion mode and adding a ref in the ring?

Sorry if this comes off as hostile or bitter but I really don't think this game deserves an 8.
and it took them only 2 years to get all of that done.
 
# 5 acarrero @ 03/17/11 02:09 PM
Good review, I would give it a 9, as the flaws are few and the gameplay is simply addictive and overall the most realistic boxing simulator by far. "It took 2 years for them to add only that", what about The Show, how much has that changed in 4 years, answer: not nearly as much as the steps taken fwd by this franchise.
 
# 6 fistofrage @ 03/17/11 02:28 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by acarrero
Good review, I would give it a 9, as the flaws are few and the gameplay is simply addictive and overall the most realistic boxing simulator by far. "It took 2 years for them to add only that", what about The Show, how much has that changed in 4 years, answer: not nearly as much as the steps taken fwd by this franchise.
If you are going to make reference to the show, and give this game a 9, what is your score for the Show?

The in the ring game despite its flaws is probably about a 9, but it needs more fluidity than the same 4 canned knock downs.

But the career mode has been left literally unchanged since the it came out for the PS2 8 years or so ago. Couple that with broken sliders, some glitches, and overall dull presentation, I don't see how the game gets above a 7.5.

That said, if they build a robust legacy around the current in ring fighting, you'll definitely have a 9 on your hands.
 
# 7 Phobia @ 03/17/11 02:43 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by fistofrage
If you are going to make reference to the show, and give this game a 9, what is your score for the Show?

The in the ring game despite its flaws is probably about a 9, but it needs more fluidity than the same 4 canned knock downs.

But the career mode has been left literally unchanged since the it came out for the PS2 8 years or so ago. Couple that with broken sliders, some glitches, and overall dull presentation, I don't see how the game gets above a 7.5.

That said, if they build a robust legacy around the current in ring fighting, you'll definitely have a 9 on your hands.
Agreed, gameplay gets a lower score for me because of the mentioned issues. Broken Sliders, Bugs, Glitches, and Removed features. While the "In Ring" action is great, there is much more to gameplay than just "In Ring"

Which is why I scored it a 7.4 overall

Presentation - 7 (Lacking Presentation, Champion Mode Presentation bumped up this score)
Graphics - 9 (AMAZING Graphics and best player models)
Sound - 6 (Gloves hitting sound like cabinets slamming shut)
Gameplay - 7 (Bugs, Glitches, Removes Features, Broken Sliders)
Controls - 8 (Great controls, really easy to learn but still some input lag)
Replay value - 8 (Plenty of Modes)

Overall - 7.4
 
# 8 SBartlett @ 03/17/11 06:01 PM
Agree to disagree lol. PS3 Sliders worked perfectly fine for me, which is what I did the review on.
 
# 9 Vast @ 03/17/11 06:10 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SBartlett
Agree to disagree lol. PS3 Sliders worked perfectly fine for me, which is what I did the review on.
lol. You got the magic copy. How much do you want for it?? $$$
 
# 10 SBartlett @ 03/18/11 08:05 AM
Oh really, ps3 sliders don't work for everyone? That's strange...I adjust the fighter damage, stamina, power, etc, and it all worked great. I posted the video to our facebook with me adjusting sliders, and you can see how it changes the gameplay. What sliders are people having issues with?
 
# 11 fistofrage @ 03/18/11 08:14 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SBartlett
Oh really, ps3 sliders don't work for everyone? That's strange...I adjust the fighter damage, stamina, power, etc, and it all worked great. I posted the video to our facebook with me adjusting sliders, and you can see how it changes the gameplay. What sliders are people having issues with?
Its 360 that people are having issue with. Punch Accuracy and CPU Output. You can't tell if they have any effect at all.

The stamina slider works on the 360 to some extent, however, the AI punchoutput slider doesn't work so what you'll have is if the stamina slider is lowered, the AI will just punch itself out after 6 rounds if its a brawler. Stamina seems to effect the AI more than the human. I could sit there doing the windwill with my arms for 10 rounds and still not tire out significantly enough to make a difference.


I think stamina is tied to the type of fighter you are too and not number of punches which is wrong. If you take an inside fighter and throw 80+ punches per round with a HW, you will see the stamina drain, if you take an outside fighter and throw 80+ punches a round, take a ton of body shots and get knocked down 3 times, you will still go into the 10th round with 90+ stamina each time.
 
# 12 Phobia @ 03/18/11 09:51 AM
Sbartlett did you see my "Sliders don't work" thread. I posted in there all the data on how sliders don't work for 360. Now it can easily be tested on PS3.

Leave CPU Punch output default and fight against CPU. Write down all the punch numbers per round and total punches thrown for CPU.

Then rematch the same two fighters but with CPU Punch output to Zero. Make sure to fight as similar pace as previous fight. Write down CPU punch numbers and total punches. You will see they will come out VERY close to the same amount of punches thrown.

Now do the same with it maxed out. I have done this test with several fighters and always the CPU output does not sway more than 50 punches over the whole fight. So roughly 5 punches a round difference.

Post #31
http://www.operationsports.com/forum...post2042161348
 
# 13 SBartlett @ 03/18/11 02:40 PM
Yeah I read those, man. Output may be the only broken slider. I tested it out, and the fights seemed about the same pace, but this is very hard to quantify. You can't recreate the exact same scenarios to test it perfectly...but I did notice that the output was typically larger in later rounds, even when I adjusted the sliders. It seemed to work for earlier rounds, but it could be just the pace of the fight. Tough to call. Other than that, the other sliders on ps3 worked fine.
 
# 14 fistofrage @ 03/18/11 02:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SBartlett
Yeah I read those, man. Output may be the only broken slider. I tested it out, and the fights seemed about the same pace, but this is very hard to quantify. You can't recreate the exact same scenarios to test it perfectly...but I did notice that the output was typically larger in later rounds, even when I adjusted the sliders. It seemed to work for earlier rounds, but it could be just the pace of the fight. Tough to call. Other than that, the other sliders on ps3 worked fine.
You are saying the accuracy slider works? So if you put it to 0, you are seeing a dramatic difference in connect %?

Typically, they are above 50%, hovering near 60. That's not even close to being realistic. 30% range would be best with proper stamina drain for missed punches.
 
# 15 Phobia @ 03/18/11 04:03 PM
No it has been confirmed by the EA devs with me through e-mail that Punch accuracy and CPU output are broken. All others work but the effect is just not as pronounced as we would all like to see. Which is why people think Stamina slider does not work. It does work it is just very little.
 
# 16 Phobia @ 03/18/11 04:07 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SBartlett
Yeah I read those, man. Output may be the only broken slider. I tested it out, and the fights seemed about the same pace, but this is very hard to quantify. You can't recreate the exact same scenarios to test it perfectly...but I did notice that the output was typically larger in later rounds, even when I adjusted the sliders. It seemed to work for earlier rounds, but it could be just the pace of the fight. Tough to call. Other than that, the other sliders on ps3 worked fine.
I see what you saying man, but if it worked correctly at 0 you should see a noticable difference in how many punches the CPU is throwing. Just for example.

Per round
0 should put them in the 30 to 50 range
5 should put them in 50 to 70 range
10 should put them in 70 to 100 range

This would become easy to see some sort of pattern per round. But because they have no effect we look at it like you said and go "ahhh it could be this or could be that". The whole purpose of sliders is to adjust the game to our liking, if we can't see a difference then in essences it is not working.

CPU Punch Output = Broken
Punch Accuracy = Broken
All others = Minimal effect
 
# 17 SBartlett @ 03/18/11 07:23 PM
This is an interesting discussion here. I agree with you Phobia, it just stinks to not have that work. I don't blame people from being upset, to an extent. If you look at the whole body of work in this game, I think it stands strong.

But I did play a lot of matches and the stamina seemed so random -- not cool, especially when it was marketed to have very scientific and accurate stamina zones, etc.
 
# 18 fistofrage @ 03/18/11 07:50 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SBartlett
This is an interesting discussion here. I agree with you Phobia, it just stinks to not have that work. I don't blame people from being upset, to an extent. If you look at the whole body of work in this game, I think it stands strong.

But I did play a lot of matches and the stamina seemed so random -- not cool, especially when it was marketed to have very scientific and accurate stamina zones, etc.
Stamina seems to be dependent more on the boxers style than anything else from what I can tell. Take an outside fighter and they can sit there doing Zumba the whole match while flailing away and they will still most of their stamina left even if they are taking punches to the body. Power punches drain stamina regardless of what they do.
 
# 19 GOBLUE_08 @ 03/18/11 08:43 PM
I really, really wanna love this game but, the way that they score fights, especially in OWC fights, just might be the worst ive ever seen. Everything else in this game is so much fun....that is until the fights over and they tell you "I dont care if you dropped him 2 times and dominated the fight, you lose because he landed 60% of his punches to your 55%". WHAT!?!?!? I swear i threaten to sell this game everyday.
 
# 20 SBartlett @ 03/19/11 10:41 AM
Yeah, I noticed that mostly wins go to who connected the most punches, not even who has the higher accuracy rate, which makes sense, but not in all fights.
 

« Previous12Next »

Post A Comment
Only OS members can post comments
Please login or register to post a comment.