This one is a bit over due but I cannot seem to put it down. Which is precisely why it has been late… Let’s finally take a look at Fight Night Round 4…
If you read my preview of this game, then you knew that I love the Fight Night series and was particularly excited for it to be released. In fact, I had nothing negative to report about the demo.
Everything about this title has been polished and refined. It is significantly faster, crisper looking, and has included features that were not in previous versions of the Fight Night Series.
In the past, you were able to create a character to begin your championship run but with limited options of faces and hair styles it was difficult to make a boxer that resembled your real world self. This has been greatly improved by allowing the player to use his camera and take pictures to import or if you don’t have a camera but have a couple of digital pictures you want to use to get yourself in the game. This can be hit or miss as far as the likeness, Matt’s boxer doesn’t resemble anything like him but mine is pretty damn close. You can upload your created character so that others can download and import them into their legacy mode as well.
Online play was an option in FNR3 but didn’t have as much depth as I would have liked. In FNR4, you have the option to fight in World Championship Mode. This evens out the fighters attributes and allows you to work your way up rankings against live opponents in three weight classes; Lightweight, Middleweight and Heavyweight in hopes of attaining the coveted belt for your chosen weight class. There are also the options for an online quick match and create a match, if you wanna beat on a friend or a get a quick match in before the wife gets home.
The new physics system is a welcome change. Distance and whether it is a solid punch or glancing blow now play a factor in how bad it hurts you. No more getting slightly tagged or hit with a punch that just didn’t have the leverage to hurt you, end up knocking you down and hurting you on the score card.
Some of the control mechanics have slightly changed but nothing too drastic. The haymaker is now done by pressing and holding a button while throwing a normal punch. Takes a little immersion out of it but doesn’t really hurt the game too much. At the time of this writing, there is no option to get rid of the total control option and strictly use buttons. This isn’t a huge deal as I like the total control system but a patch has been announced for those button mashers out there. Counter punching is not as over exaggerated as it was before. Instead of having a ton of time to punch an opponent after a counter, it is a smaller window and requires quicker reflexes and this is a bit more realistic if you ask me.
Perhaps my only gripe about the game would be the training mini games that you need to do. They can be difficult but you slowly get better at them and it does pay off. Much like FNR3, if you auto train everything, there will be a time in your career that you start meeting opponents that you really have no match against because you limited your maximum yield in training by auto training. At the same time, until you become decent at the training games, you tend to get less of an improvement on your attributes than you would if you had just done the auto-train. This tends to lead to a feeling of frustration and may end up causing you to strictly auto-train and end up with a weaker fighter. My suggestion would be to do your best to stick with it and know that it will pay off in the end.
With everything said, I love this game and feel that it is the best boxing game to date and there were enough improvements from FNR3 to warrant it a BUY IT rating. I have spent more than my moneys worth playing this title and expect to play it a lot more in the future.
Brian Ellis is a co-founder and senior editor of Bag of Mad Bastards and co-host of Drunken Monkey Tech podcast found here. He can be reached at email@example.com if you have questions/comments.