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Fight Night Round 3 Gameplay Modes
We go straight to the meat of Fight Night Round 3 for the PSP - its rich gameplay modes. The game will let you feel the fighting engine the moment you fire it up with the Play-Now-Mode, where you can have access to some great boxers including the Golden Boy Dela Hoya, Muhammad Ali, Bernard Hopkins, Jake LaMotta, and Joe Frazier. Plus you can have access to several boxing arenas including the Staples Center. If you're tired of beating out Ali as Oscar Dela Hoya despite their different boxing divisions and you think your skills are enough, you may start playing the career mode. The game lets you create a fictional boxer or use an existing famous one and bring him up the boxing ranks through countless predetermined fights. Your boxer will start as the 50th-ranked in your chosen division, and slowly you can inch your way to the top sport by beating one opponent after another - until you snag your boxer's division title champ.
To help your fighter progress through the division rank, you are given the option to train him in-between fights. Training in Fight Night Round 3 takes place automatically through preset configurations which lets you choose the intensity level of the trainings. You will also need to hire a trainer if you want the training to have successful outcomes for your character. Hiring trainers entails money from your boxer's account though, with the most expensive trainer draining you up $50K for a contract term. Don't worry about the money though, as it would a plenty as you win fights. Aside from the trainer, you also need to hire a cutman who will fix your cuts during fight breaks. Hiring the most expensive cutman is also essential especially during fights as this would determine the health of your boxer.
In addition to the training, you can also boost your boxer's stats, health, speed, power etc., by upgrading his paraphernalia and boxing gears. Again, this cost money from your boxer's winnings. But upgrading your boxer's gears is very useful to making your boxer's win his fights. Mind you, some AI boxers are pretty hard to beat, especially those in the higher ranks.
Aside from the usual, required fights which your boxer need to win in order to maintain his title or keep progressing through the ranks; the game also features exhibition matches and special titles. Nothing special here really, except for the fact that winning or losing these games will not affect your boxer's rank. He still gets to bring home the prize money for each fight though.
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Fight Night 3 Gameplay Controls
This is where Fight Night 3 falters a bit. The use of the analog button to control movements will definitely leave your thumb burning due to long hours of playing. This button can be pretty hard to control, leaving you open for your opponents attacks. You can also use the D-Pad buttons as each of them executes respective moves. The Up button makes your boxer clinch, the left makes him taunt his opponent, the right button makes him do a head butt, and the down button makes him throw his special punch. Your boxer can also carry out four punches using the Face buttons, these include; jab, hook uppercut and the haymaker. Getting used to the controls and executing each of the moves may take some time to master, although you can always resort to button mashing to win your fights. However some of the AI opponents were intelligently programmed to block your wayward blows, so you must still plan out your strategy, the moment you noticed that you're not beating your opponents up. Additional controls include the L button to make your boxer lean, R to make your boxer block his opponent's attacks.
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Fight Night 3 Gameplay Graphics and Sound
Graphically, Fight Night 3 effectively utilized the PSP's graphics engine. It may not be the most vividly rendered game for the PSP but is enough to make you appreciate the power of the PSP in this department. Famous boxers were rendered accurately and closely resemble their real-life counterparts. The best part of this game is during slow motion sequence, wherein blood splattering from the face of your opponents may satisfy many gamers who are into violent games. While for those who are not into game violence can opt not to run this slow motion sequence. As for the boxing arena, EA Sports managed to pull some good stuff on this department with accurate representations of the arenas' actual look in real-life.
Fight Night Round 3 for the PSP takes the soundtrack off from its Playstation 3 counterpart. Same hip hop tunes playing over and over again, and the same annoyingly repetitive commentaries provided by Joe Tessitore. What saves the sound department of this game is of course the sound effects when landing a jab or main punch to your opponents, most especially during the slow motion sequence.
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Our Final Verdict
PSP gamers who are looking for a good fighting game aside from Tekken: Dark Resurrection may want to pick this game up. If you're a gamer who is into boxing, this game would satisfy your craving for a good and robust boxing game. If you're a gamer who is not so much into boxing, this game would still be worth a try and you might actually like it as you play along. Fight Night Round 3 for the PSP is a great game, no doubt about that, but it may not be a game for everyone.