Entering the Ring in Fight Night Round 4 (5 out of 5)
In Fight Night Round 4 for the PS3, EA has changed the fighting dynamics in a few noticeable ways. There’s a lot more to this game than standing toe to toe with an opponent and exchanging punches till one of you goes down. Fight Night Round 4 requires the players to put a bit more thought into the fights. The action is fast-paced, with throws snapping off with speed and fury. But there’s a method to the punching madness that requires players to consider each punch before sending it at the opponent.
In order to be an effective boxer this round, players need to watch for openings, but even an open shot can have a variety of effects, from glancing blows to stuns, to entangled fighters. There’s also the counterpunch opportunities introduced in earlier versions that at times makes the punches a player throws as dangerous to themselves as to the other guy. There are tons of great adds in this edition of Fight Night Round 4 from EA Sports.
Fight Night Round 4: Controls (4 out of 5)
Controls in Fight Night Round 4 are essentially the same as in earlier versions, and returnees to the franchise will have little difficulty in getting back into the swing of things. All fighters in the game can throw more punches per round than real-life counterparts. But player fighters can often throw 3 times the number of punches as the AI opponent. This doesn’t mean players can easily get away with doing so, as the fatigue system of earlier games is still in effect, and players who throw punches with abandon will soon find their fighters hitting with little actual damage.
Corner System in Fight Night Round 4 (4 out of 5)
A new corner system introduced in Fight Night Round 4 allows you to spend points in repairing damage and recovering both stamina and health, with the number of points being determined by your performance during the last round. Points can be earned for a high percentage of hits thrown making contact, for avoiding punches altogether, for stunning the opponent or knocking him down, or for regaining your feet after being knocked down yourself.
The included Fight Night Round 4 roster contains over 40 fighters, but users can use the character creation tools included in the game to custom create and share fighters with each other online to up this initial number.
Legacy Career Mode in Fight Night Round 4 (5 out of 5)
The legacy career mode is a strong part of Fight Night Round 4. Players begin at the bottom of a 50 boxer strong weight class. Players can then work their way up to the number 1 position and claim the title belt. But this doesn’t end the career. After winning the division and becoming champion, players can defend the title from other up and comers, as well as going after other belts and weight classes. Time to do so is limited however, as legacy fighters begin their career at 19 years old, but age throughout, eventually needing to retire. But to retire as a Hall of Famer, ring legend, or the greatest of all time players will need to go far beyond simply winning the championship belt.
Fight Night Round 4 roster profiles consist of 12 attributes with a 1-100 rating. At the beginning of a fighter’s career the attributes are nothing much to look at, but over time they’ll get better. Improvements of fighters occur during training sessions between fights, the number of which up to 3 is determined by the length of time between the two fights. To get the maximum 3 fights must be scheduled 6 months apart. Scheduling the next fight occurs right after the previous one, so players will constantly juggle the need for improvement with the constantly ticking aging clock.
Training in Fight Night Round 4 (3 out of 5)
The training sessions in Fight Night Round 4 consist of 6 mini-games, with the option to simulate training, gaining 50% of the maximum fighter improvements. Training sessions provide small incremental improvements, so the payoffs of 3 are hard to balance against 6 months outside the ring. Eventually your opponents will outrank you in stats, making wins by knock-outs highly unlikely.
Online Mode in Fight Night Round 4 (5 out of 5)
Fight Night Round 4 has an online mode that brings even more variety to the game. It’s online where players will find their greatest challenges, with other players having the same throwing ability, and little lag problems. Online mode consists of one-off fights pitting players against one another using licensed fighters or custom creations made with the character creator. There’s also a well-done Online World Champion mode that ranks players in a weight class based leaderboard. These online fights are kept track of from session to session, moving players about the leaderboard over time, with players being included worldwide.
Overall (5 out of 5)
Fight Night Round 4 increases the visual excellence of the franchise. Fighters look and perform superbly, with fluid organic movements, easily controlled by players. The fights are almost as much fun to watch as they are to play through, with color commentary that both accurate and chatty. The sounds of the game help further to immerse players, from the shouting crowds, to the instructive corner men they pull the player right into the game.
Legacy mode provides a nice strategic component to the game and helps players connect with their boxers as they rise through the ranks. Though towards the end when opponent’s stats are greater than players advancement can slow as players find it necessary to fight boxers beneath their ranking for extra training sessions before moving up further. The training mini-games can also be overly difficult with perfect results leading to very small advancements in fighter stats.
The inclusion of the online mode adds greatly to the game, as players pit themselves against one another worldwide. Ranking on the online leaderboard is more accurate as players rise, due to some lower skilled players spamming punches at the lower end of the ranks. Overall the game is the best addition yet to the Fight Night franchise and is easy enough for newcomers to jump right into while offering enough difficulty higher in the fights and online for experienced players alike.