Fight Night Round 3 - updated hands-on

We go bout after bout with the up-and-coming knockout king

The best-looking boxing game ever made hits stores on Dec. 5, and we've had a chance to step into the ring with a finished version. Fight Night Round 3 combines an impressive roster of boxing greats with a smart, almost rhythmic control scheme - old news to anyone who caught it on the Xbox 360 or any of the other systems it arrived on back in February. But while those versions of the game were fun, visceral and overall amazing, you haven't really seen Round 3 until you've seen it on the PlayStation 3.

As we've said in ourearlier preview, the PS3 version looks significantly better than the already-impressive Xbox 360 edition, but it's hard to understand just how much until you've seen them running side-by-side. On the PS3, the boxers no longer all have a greenish-brown tint, and now sport more realistic skin tones. They're also a lot more detailed, right down to the veins popping out of their tensed arms.

All that detail apparently comes at a cost, however, as the PS3 took a lot longer than the 360 to load things like new hairstyles in Create-A-Champ mode.

But the biggest change for the PS3 version is Get in the Ring, an all-first-person exhibition mode. More than just a switch in perspective, Get in the Ring actually changes the game's dynamic completely. When you can't see your boxer and his exact position in the ring, the fights become much faster and more intense, as your near-photorealistic opponents charge at your face to unleash flurries of bone-crunching blows.

Because you're all up in your opponent's face, you'll see things you might not have noticed normally - like a brief flash of fear as you parry one of his punches, or the gauzy tape on your gloves as you hold them up to defend your jaw. This is where the PS3's power is most evident, and where you'll get a close-up view of every rippling sinew, dynamic wrinkle and shiny drop of sweat on your opponent's physique.

The best-looking boxing game ever made hits stores on Dec. 5, and we've had a chance to step into the ring with a finished version. Fight Night Round 3 combines an impressive roster of boxing greats with a smart, almost rhythmic control scheme - old news to anyone who caught it on the Xbox 360 or any of the other systems it arrived on back in February. But while those versions of the game were fun, visceral and overall amazing, you haven't really seen Round 3 until you've seen it on the PlayStation 3.

As we've said in ourearlier preview, the PS3 version looks significantly better than the already-impressive Xbox 360 edition, but it's hard to understand just how much until you've seen them running side-by-side. On the PS3, the boxers no longer all have a greenish-brown tint, and now sport more realistic skin tones. They're also a lot more detailed, right down to the veins popping out of their tensed arms.

All that detail apparently comes at a cost, however, as the PS3 took a lot longer than the 360 to load things like new hairstyles in Create-A-Champ mode.

But the biggest change for the PS3 version is Get in the Ring, an all-first-person exhibition mode. More than just a switch in perspective, Get in the Ring actually changes the game's dynamic completely. When you can't see your boxer and his exact position in the ring, the fights become much faster and more intense, as your near-photorealistic opponents charge at your face to unleash flurries of bone-crunching blows.

Because you're all up in your opponent's face, you'll see things you might not have noticed normally - like a brief flash of fear as you parry one of his punches, or the gauzy tape on your gloves as you hold them up to defend your jaw. This is where the PS3's power is most evident, and where you'll get a close-up view of every rippling sinew, dynamic wrinkle and shiny drop of sweat on your opponent's physique.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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