Fight Night: Round 4, developed by EA Canada, is the latest sequel in the Fight Night Series, which has long been considered the best boxing style game on the market.
While some fans of Fight Night 3 (FN3) are sceptical due to the change of EA development companies (Chicago to Canada) most if not all fans can be laid to rest, as this game offers one of the best pure boxing experiences available to date.
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In the ring, the game mechanics can take a little while to get used to, the speed at which moves are executed are double what they have been in the past and so being overwhelmed by a flurry of punches is something that you just have to get used to in the early stages. But once you do, the game really opens up for you and the enjoyment levels rise dramatically.
The controls compared to FN3 havent changed that dramatically, the biggest change is the ever popular Haymaker, which has changed from pulling the right thumbstick back and then pushing forward, to holding the right bumper and performing a standard hook. It means that you don’t get to mimic the exact movements of your fighters arm actions, but at the same time it makes it harder for players to spam the same moves over and over. Countering, dodging and blocking have changed, parry is no longer an option, however it has given way to the new counter system that if timed correctly, gives you a split second chance to land a devastating punch to your oponent. The counter system takes a while to get used to, but once you become accustomed to keeping an eye out for the quick change in camera angle (indicating that you can attempt a counter punch) it becomes a lot more fluent.
The graphics in this installment see one of the sharpest new physics engines in any fighting game thus far, the damage you can inflict on your oponent is shown in real time, and you actually see the progression of the bruises and swelling, which when playing a friend can be extremely satisfying. The sound, is 50/50, although it has a good mixture of sound effects for the different punches (the illegal shots are the best) the in-ring commentary from Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas leave a little to be desired. For the first 5 or so fights it will seem good, but the generic phrases of “he really connected with that one” seem to lose a little of their shine after a while. In saying that though some of the comments that are actually specific to the fight at hand can be quite useful when determining if you should pull back and defend or unleash an all out assault on your opponent.
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The level of gameplay has been stepped up, the new Legacy mode is much improved over the old one in FN3, however there are some downsides. The training games that you do in your off weeks between fights to help build your characters stats, are quite difficult early on. There are 6 training games total, 2 of which are basically just standard boxing (stay on your feet, and open sparring) however the other ones that require you to perform certain moves in rapid succession are quite difficult as your characters stats arent quite to a level that you can perform these moves in the allotted time given. There is an auto training option but this forces you to only take 50% of the available training points for that particular round.
Overall Fight Night Round 4 is a much improved game and if you can forgive some of its smaller short comings, will prove to be a great addition to any boxing fans gaming collection.