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Fight Night Round 2 review

Excellent
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AT A GLANCE

Nothing

For the uninitiated, Fight Night 2004 stood out because of a little gimmick called 'Total Punch Control'. Surprisingly, unlike 'First Touch Control' and the 'Golden Eye' this was genuinely revolutionary.

By moving the punching mechanism from buttons to the right analogue stick, and then by patenting it (the sneaky blighters), they revolutionised the boxing game by adding a rhythmic reality to each blow.

Round 2 has sensibly tweaked this system and addressed the rather confused presentation of its predecessor. For one of the most showbiz sports around, 2004 was rather flat looking. Round 2, on the other hand, comes out swinging with all the swagger of a self-assured champ.

This game looks awesome. Boxers are perfectly sculpted and animated. The lighting from each of the atmospheric venues reflects off the boxer's bodies, and due to some rather natty camera work, you'll feel those punches more than ever.

Success comes through loading up combos, usually built around a consistent jab that keeps your opponent on the back foot. Then it's a case of picking your shots, parrying or ducking blows and trying to get your opponent on the ropes before piling in with the killer punch.

Winning bouts become incredibly satisfying, especially when you're down in the early rounds, and you'll learn your craft through brutal experience.

Round 2 also features something of a rarity in sports games: genuinely insightful, authentic commentary.

In addition, the developers have got in a couple of genu-whine American boxing commentators, who deliver accurate blow-by-blow accounts of how the bout is going and add that 'showtime' feel.

The boxing gameplay mechanism is nothing short of evolutionary, and all the better for it. As well as your staple shots, haymakers can now be executed by swiftly pulling the analogue stick back further on its arc.

Other moves include clinches (vital to save you when you're about to get knocked on your ass), some tricky parries that leave your opponent open to counter attacks, and also a wide variety of illegal moves that barely merit inclusion.

You'll also be treated to the most accessible and downright accurate player-customisation mechanism we've ever seen.

Round 2 has its flaws but for the most part they don't detract from what is without doubt the finest boxing game ever made. It's tough, rewarding and superbly presented.

The only question for EA is whether Fight Night Street will be the game that Fight Club should have been...

More Info

Release date: Mar 18 2005 - GameCube (US)
Mar 18 2005 - GameCube, Xbox, PS2 (UK)
Available Platforms: GameCube, Xbox, PS2
Published by: EA SPORTS
Developed by: EA Chicago

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