Publisher: EA Games Developer: EA Sports Released: 17th March 2006 Players: 1 – 4 www: easports.com/fightnightround3 Rating: M
With its then-new Total Punch Control system, the original Fight Night became the best boxing game since Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out. Fights were virtual chess matches (albeit with more face-punching), and the series featured some of the most detailed character models ever seen on a console. Round 2 introduced the haymaker punch, which was a blast to pummel opponents with but unfortunately, this haymaker was far too easy and devastating and fights between two experienced players became back-and-forth haymaker volleys. Now the third round has stepped into the fray and the 360 version is truly a sight to behold with graphics that will make your eyes smile with glee.
As always, gamers can choose between several control configurations, with the biggest difference being the function of the face buttons. On the default control setting, all punching (outside of the signature punch) is performed with the right analog stick, and various other functions (clinch, taunt and illegal blows) are performed with the face buttons. While a good amount of gamers prefer this setting, others may opt for one of the other settings that allow the face buttons to perform punches. In this case, X and Y perform left and right hooks, and A and B perform straight jabs. All of the other functions are switched to the D-pad. The right analog stick will cause you to bob and weave or block, depending on the trigger button you’re holding in. Career Mode was never terribly in-depth in the previous games, but it’s even more bare-bones in Round 3. It’s a neverending cycle of “Sign Contract, Train, Fight” that can get fairly tedious. The training minigames are basic and monotonous and even though you get the option of skipping them, there is less reward for using the “auto-train” feature which is very frustrating. Create-A-Champ is almost identical to the previous game, and doesn’t feature a great deal of customisation outside of facial structure. You can buy new shorts, gloves and various accessories, but the menu system for the Fight Store is poorly organised and clunky and the load times will prevent you from visiting the store often. Thankfully, most of these complaints leave your mind when you actually step into the ring to fight – especially in multiplayer with just you and a friend slugging it out.
Fight Night Round 3 completely delivers on the promise of true next-generation visuals, and I’d be willing to say it looks better than any game currently available for the 360. Character models look absolutely identical to their real-life counterparts, and you’ll want to watch the face-rippling replays again and again. It really is a great showpiece for the 360 when you have friends over and even if you’re not a huge boxing fan, give this one a shot.