Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even. - Muhammad Ali
There is something special about boxing. Something that is hard to describe. Its a tough, brutal, insane but noble sport. Two men in a ring expending every last ounce of energy to become the greatest. Fight Night Champion shows the true nature behind boxing; the training, sacrifices, sweat and blood.
A major addition to the Fight Night series is the new Champion Mode. This mode places you in the gloves of Andre Bishop an up and coming middleweight boxer. The story plays out like a movie, with twists and turns along the way. One of the great things about the story mode is the variation in gameplay and strategies required to win. On some occasions you will be forced to fight with an injury, adapting your style of fighting to accomodate your new weakness.
Throughout the story you will fight different styles of fighters and learn some valuable lessons. It is essenitally the longest and most well thought out tutorial in gaming history, each lesson is learnt while making up a great narrative. Once completed you will have a good understanding of the strategy of boxing.
The Champion Mode is just the beginning, there is still the Legacy Mode, which allows you to custom make a boxer and fight your way up the rankings to be the ultimate champion, as well as the online multiplayer. Plenty of gaming to be had!
The control system has had a tune up. You don’t need to drag the analog stick in a half circle to do an uppercut, all you need to do now is a quick jab of the stick at the appropriate angle. This makes it much more intuitive, allowing you to throw punches quickly and accurately. You need to watch out here though, throw too many wayward punches and your stamina will drop. Throwing punches like a 5 year old and staggering around the ring like Amy Winehouse will not end well for you.
Footwork, head movement, defence and timing all play a major role in your success. The subtle complexities in Fight Night Champion make it an easy game to pick up and play, but a very difficult one to master.
You will notice from your first fight that there have been some major changes from previous Fight Night titles. EA Sports have really stepped up the realism. Thoughout the fight you will notice the sweat spraying as you land punches and cuts open up on your opponent as you land more and more devastating hooks. At one stage my white boxing shorts had smears of my opponents blood on them. Super awesome.
Not a whole lot of innovation here but EA Sports have taken a good game and polished it up to make it a great one. The new Champion Mode is an excellent addition as is the simplified control scheme.
Fight Night Champion manages to capture the romantic glory of boxing and allow you to experience it in your living room. Hours of challenging gameplay and the inclusion of online multiplayer makes this a winner for me.