The launch of the 360 was a happy time for gamers, but except for a few exceptions most of the games seemed just like higher resolution Xbox games. Fight Night Round 3 was one of the first games to show what next gen games could be like. So it comes as no surprise that Fight Night Round 4, the sequel to the 2006 game is one of the most highly anticipated games of the year.
Fight Night Round 4 brings the sweet science of punching dudes in the face once again to the 360 and PS3. Over 48 real life boxers are in the game, including Mike Tyson (Bite your ear off!), Muhammad Ali (Like a bee!), and George Foreman (Grill!), from flyweight to heavyweight classes. There are some omissions, like Oscar de le Hoya and Floyd Mayweather, but planned DLC should include some boxers who couldn’t make the retail release.
The gameplay in Round 4 is entirely based around physics. Gone are the days where you see arms disappearing into the other boxer’s character model, as every part of the boxer has their own physics. That’s right, no clipping character models at all. You will often see arms get locked up, glancing blows have effects, and blocks still letting some damage through if the right punch is thrown. The height and arm length of the boxers also plays an important role, as shorter boxers like Mike Tyson with small reaches have stronger uppercuts and hooks while taller, lankier boxers like Muhammad Ali have better jabs.
Visually, the game is one of the most impressive looking yet. The boxer models are incredibly detailed, and everything from the ring attire to entrances is faithfully recreated. Faces get cut and bruised as fights progress. Sweat flies off the body after a hard hook, and blood spills after an uppercut to the face. Ring trunks hang from the legs as a fighter stumbles to get up, while gloves get blood stains from opponents. Every time you land a punch that puts your opponent down, a short replay is shown and you will be constantly amazed by the detail and how visceral it is when the face ripples after a blow.
Unlike in Round 3, you won’t have to worry about constant in your face advertising. Sadly, this means that the Burger King will no longer be available as a selectable manager. A somewhat extensive “Create Boxer” option is available, and while it isn’t as in-depth as in some other EA Sports games, the option to use the Xbox Live Vision camera (or Playstation Eye) is available. The likeness isn’t spot on, but it is definitely unique. If you lack one of the console cameras, you can also load photos on to the EA Sports website, link your account and download onto the game. Outside of that, you pick the usual weight, height, hand (Orthodox or Left), etc and you can even download created fighters that other people have created to use and beat up. Customization of ring gear is available as well, with a variety of companies from Nike to Everlast included in the game, and with everything from material to color to custom lettering available.
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