Review – Fight Night Champion

 
 
 
 
EA Sports takes us back into the ring with the next installment of the Fight Night series. Was it a knockout, or did it lose by decision? Read our review to find out.

 

The Fight Night series has always been about one thing. Boxing. Just step in the ring and start punching. The only story mode available had to be created by your imagination as you climbed the ladder in legacy mode, or fought for an online belt. There were the occasional rivals that you come across in legacy mode, but no real story to help you get to know your fighter. Fight Night Champion aims to change that.

Regardless if this is your first time with a Fight Night game, or if you’ve played every title, Champion Mode is where you need to start. You start out as a young amateur named Andre Bishop. You are entered into your first amateur tournament, and fight your way to the final match. Here is where your first real challenge shows up. You face off against the 9 time reigning tournament champ. The guy clearly should have turned pro a few years back, but now it’s time for you to make him regret hanging around.

Andre Bishop

Champion Mode is really a well thought out, and lengthy, tutorial.  You’ll have a couple of fights to work on your overall skills, but then a challenging fight that works on a specific area. For example, a few fights into pro career, you face off against a guy that has a powerful left hook. So powerful, that even a glancing blow will send you to the canvas. Unless you want an elevator fight, you better learn to dodge and counter that left. Another fight finds you cut, and in the later rounds. You are ahead on the cards, so your opponent is going to go after that cut looking for a TKO. It is up to you to protect it for two rounds so your cutman can get it under control. You are given a limited number of hits you can take to the cut, so defense is key here. Once the super glue dries after two rounds, you are free to take the guy out.

The story eventually takes a turn for the worse for Andre. He is an up and coming prospect, with a bright future, but wont give in to a crooked promoter and join his ranks. The promoter has a dirty cop set him up, and Andre goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit.While in prison, Andre’s younger brother Raymond decides it’s his turn to to make a name for himself in the ring, and signs with the promoter that, unbeknownst to him, set up his brother Andre.

Andre’s prison time introduces a new style of fighting to the series. Bareknuckle mode is a bloody, fast paced style of fighting, where cuts come fast and easy. If your opponent isn’t bleeding after half a round, you’re not doing something right. The fighters only have their hands taped, with no gloves, and damage seems to be turned up a notch. You’ll face off against several other inmates and you’ll have a hardened con in your corner as well.

Bareknuckle Brawling

Eventually Andre does his time and gets released from prison. His brother is still working his way up the ranks, and Andre gets a job in his gym helping out. The story grows from there, and we will leave the rest for you to experience during gameplay. There are a lot of lessons to be learned in Championship Mode, so pay close attention, and you might just get better at the sweet science of boxing.

Legacy mode returns, with the same depth as Fight Night Round 4, but with a new Boxer Growth system that is much more complex than anything the series has had in the past. You’ll earn experience points from meeting challenges in your fights (i.e. knock your opponent down twice, cut him, etc.) and for winning the fights. You can also earn XP by doing the training games, and these are similar to what the series has had in the past. Once you have the XP, you can then apply it to the Boxer Growth system. There are so many things you can put them on, that maxing everything out would probably take a career lasting 150 fights. The game tells you this at the beginning, so you’ll need to work on the areas that best match your style of boxing. Tall lanky boxers with great reach, probably need to focus on their jab and straight punches, while shorter guys will want to work on their hooks.

The controls for punching have been updated for this edition, Introduced is what’s called the Full Spectrum Punch Control. It is designed so that punches can be thrown with a flick of the right analog stick. Buttons are included as well, and a mix of buttons and stick punching seems to be very effective.

New Punch Controls

The online  features for the game bring back all of the same things from Round 4, but add on a new feature called Online Gyms. This allows users to group together with their friends and others online and customise their game play experience in Season and Tournament play. For those of you familiar with the Clubs and Leagues features from other EA SPORTS titles, Online Gyms will have some familiar features for you along with some brand new ones as well. Check out all of the Online Gym features here.

Online Gym

Bareknuckle Mode Included in Online Play
 

The Fight Night series has come a long ways since its birth, and every release seems to add something new. Fight Night Champion finally adds a real story to the series, and it’s a story that’s actually compelling and entertaining. If Round 4 was a knockout, Fight Night Champion’s depth make it a 12 round unanimous decision.

If you’re a boxing fan and a gamer, you owe it to yourself to pick this game up.

10