Xbox 360 Review: Fight Night Round 4

Does Fight Night still pack a punch?

I loved Fight Night Round 3. Despite its rather easy campaign allowing you to use illegal blows on your opponent and complete it in a matter of hours, it was still a great looking game with good controls. The only real competition that the series has had in recent times has to be Don King’s Prizefighter and that didn’t even come close to matching it in terms of quality and control. Can the 4th round still pack a punch?
Well it’s hard to deny the fact that Fight Night Round 4 is a much better game than its predecessor. Control is tighter, realism is beyond belief and the roster of fighters is more than enough to please fans of the sport. While Round 3 let you use the right analog stick to throw punches, it was optional but in Round 4 it is more or less compulsory. There are plenty of different types of punches that you can pull off with the right analog stick, but it all comes down to accuracy and the slightest wrongdoing can mess the move up, which is perhaps my only complaint about the game.

I felt more immersed into each fight, they are challenging and enduring. They will test your patience, but it does come down to skill this time…which is a great thing. A great combination of blocking, counterattacks and dodges will certain ensure victory while just throwing punches will drain your stamina, making them less effective and giving the opponent an edge against you. It adds a bit of strategy to your fights as you need to maintain how much stamina you have left and when best to use a big chunk of it.

Fight Night Round 4 finally allows players to pit Ali against Tyson which in itself is a huge thing, but it also has an impressive list of fighters from Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton to other legends like Joe Frazer and George Foreman. It has more or less the best fighters in the business, making it the best line-up of boxers in a videogame to date. What’s also great is that you can fight legends regardless of the weight of the fighter you choose. So if you want you can put Joe Calzaghe against Mike Tyson and see what happens. It’s not a foregone conclusion either as they both can hold their own, its great stuff.

There’s a pretty deep career mode which allows you to design your own boxer, train them up to be stronger, have more stamina and speed. It’s like a 2.0 version of the career found in FNR 3, but deeper and harder. It will take much longer for you to get through this one, but one thing’s for sure…it’ll be damn fun.
There’s also some top-notch commentary in Round 4. The attention to detail in the game is nothing short of astonishing. Each fighter looks incredibly realistic, the amount of sweat that drips is impressive, not to mention the great animation effects that a fighter shows when he is punched in the face. It looks fantastic and topples anything else before it. You’d be hard pressed to find a better looking fighting game this year and probably in the next few years as well.

To put it simply, Fight Night Round 4 is the greatest boxing game of all-time…or at least until something better comes along, but it would have to be something damn impressive to topple the new king of the genre. We may have had to wait 3 years for another round of Fight Night, but with results this good it’s certainly been worth the wait.

The Verdict

Fight Night Round 3 showed us how great a boxing game could be and Round 4 showed us how much better it can come with some extra time and polish. I don’t mind waiting another 3 years for Round 5 if the result is even better than that of this game, but it’s going to have to be outstanding. Until then, enjoy the best boxing game on the market!