Genre: Sport Developer: Publisher: Classification: MA15+ Release Date: 3rd Mar 2011 Platforms:
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Prepare to be smitten with punch drunk love. After playing through every incarnation of the Fight Night series, I've enjoyed watching its progression as it moved from strength to strength, subtly modifying it's fight mechanics. It's kind of hard not to be enamoured with the latest addition, Fight Night Champion, as it adds the notion of plot and a protagonist to the fold. EA has a tried and tested rulebook when it comes to this franchise - they could have easily slapped a coat of paint on it, trotted it out and watched to moolah roll on in. Instead they throw the book out the window and take a bold step forward - not just for the series, but for sports titles across the board. This all starts with the new Champion Mode.
When they threw the rulebook out, they brought in a new one - it's called prison rules, *****. That's where we meet up with the hero of Champion Mode, Andre Bishop. The first bout you have isn't for an amateur championship or a heavyweight belt proclaiming you champion of a certain weight division or region - it's for your life. Squaring off against some skinhead bruiser in front of a crowd of jeering inmates wasn't the exact debut I was expecting and it immediately gives the franchise a brand new flavour. After winning the "match" you get an insight into Andre's incarceration and acquaint yourself with his tale of woe, and ultimately, redemption.
On the fast track to a stellar professional career, amateur champion Andre Bishop's star is on the rise. Hounded by promoters who want to nail down a piece of the action, he sides with his longtime trainer/manager - cut from the same cloth as Mickey from classic boxing flick, Rocky. The story isn't going to win any Oscars for originality. It's hackneyed and riddled with cliched characters across the board, but it does present an interesting premise and puts a whole new slant on gameplay.
Without giving too much away, Andre finds his gravy train derailed, fighting for survival and freedom from prison. What's that you say? A story in a sports title? That's just crazy enough to work! And it does. Whether you identify or not with his situation, there's far more connection with this underdog seeking a little payback than simply creating a boxer who goes through the motions to get a championship (though you can still do that as well). Story has never been an important component and it's a welcome addition - though next time a little more originality could set the bar even higher.
I was immediately engaged and I smashed my way through Champion Mode barely stopping for a breather. The adult tone and treatment is a first for EA Sports - hopefully more sports based titles will look beyond the classic formula and shake things up a bit. Still, all the plot twists and turns and shower-room shankings would be for naught if there wasn't a robust control system behind it - and this is really where Fight Night Champion excels. The control system has been thoroughly revamped and is more accessible and intuitive than ever before.
You can get your fisticuffs on using the traditional button presses which may suit those of you with a Tekken or Street Fighter pedigree, but to get the true feel and magic of the mechanics you'll want to persevere and master the thumbsticks. In previous Fight Nights, you'd need to imitate the motion desired, flick forward for a jab, around for a hook and so forth. This has been replaced by the Full Spectrum Control system where certain angles represent punches.
It's a lot easier to come to grips with and is surprisingly responsive. The other new addition has done away with the need for the "haymaker" (a heavy blow), instead, giving you a heavy punch modifier on the right bumper. Tapping this as you punch puts a little more smack on it, meaning any punch you throw can be a potential stunner or knockout. But it's not all about king hits and putting the hammer down, there's a serious strategic component as well.
As you see a punch headed your way, instead of swaying out of the way or holding block, wait until the very last second and then hit block. If you time it right, you'll brush aside the punch. Timed blocking (much like with fighting games like God of War) gives you an opportunity to counter, often leading to a flash KO or - at the very least - a heavy hit. It's all about timing and picking and choosing those moments.
If you go in guns blazing, you've lose stamina and get fatigued significantly quicker, leading to big trouble in later rounds. You should probably throw at least half as many punches as your normal fighting game and instead wait for an opening to take a shot. Spend a little time feeling them out with your jab before you commit. The best boxers in history weren't the heaviest hitters, but used their wits to out think their opponents. It's the tactics of using brains over brawn that really won me over and that's exactly what you need to do to succeed, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Once you've mastered Champion Mode, you can create a boxer the more traditional way and make your bid for the title, you can replay classic matches with the largest roster of past and present boxers seen in the franchise's history and if you've got the balls to take it online. You can start up a gym with your mates and have tournaments to see who reigns supreme and even challenge other gyms from bragging rights. Fight Night Champion is one of the most complete sports simulations I've played and by far the best in the series. If you're after the quintessential boxing experience, you've found it.
this game is great! i dont write reviews often because no game is good enough for me to write one. this game really shows you what its like to be a boxer. with the new control settings my thumbs are never crying, and i always throw the punch i want. online made a great new addition with the online camps and online legacy.
there are a few things that would be better for the next game or for this one. for this one they should make more champion mode boxers, because the 1 champion mode they have is fun but short! also they need to adjust the diffuctly of the last guy you face because i cant beat him. i dont have time to play everyday so when i do i dont even bother champion mode anymore. another thing they should add would have to be on the next fight night and that would be more control during legacy mode. by that i mean you should have more days to work out, go out with friends, start a family, ect. i like to work out and i know when i work out one day i dont take the rest of the week off so they should make it so you can work out more and earn less point each work out.
overall i love this game probably the best 65 dollars i spent