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Fight Night Round 4 - first look

Fight Night Round 3 was a great game, but its Rock’em Sock’em Robot-style of gameplay wasn’t exactly a realistic representation of boxing. Because the game's original developer, EA Chicago, no longer exists, the franchise has been placed in the hands of EA Canada. The new team’s goal is simple: make Fight Night Round 4 just as fun as its predecessor, while delivering a faster, more in-depth, more realistic experience.

The first thing you notice when you see Muhammad Ali take on the pre-convict iteration of Mike Tyson is Fight Night Round 4's brisk pace. The shorter Tyson stings like a bee, lunging toward Ali and attacking in the blink of an eye with vicious uppercuts. Muhammad Ali, on the other hand, floats around the ring with the speed and grace of a butterfly, using his reach advantage to keep “Iron” Mike at bay.

It quickly becomes apparent from watching these two all-time greats in action that you’ll need to do more than just parry and counter-punch to be successful. Keeping your guard up and blocking punches is an effective strategy in small doses, but you’ll have to time your blocks well since the amount of damage you take increases the longer you hold down the block button.

As the real Mike Tyson discovered when he played the game for the first time, a moving target is the hardest to hit. You’re best served to avoid punches by constantly shifting left and right. Dodging a punch doesn’t give you as lengthy an opportunity to counter punch as parrying did in Round 3, but you’ll still have the chance to sneak in one or two quick blows before your foe can recover. While you won’t be able to dodge every punch thrown in your direction, staying on the move will lessen the amount of damage because of an all-new physics and hit detection engine. No longer is the power of a punch determined by how far back you moved the analog stick. Now it’s all based on where the punch landed, how much damage you’ve previously inflicted to that area, and whether or not the punch landed cleanly.   The precious bit of time you have between rounds is no longer spent playing and watching face-rubbing minigames. You’re now awarded points for achieving various milestones in the previous round. For example, you’ll get 10 points for surviving and, should you land 40% of your punches, receive an additional four points as well. How you spend these points is up to you. If you’re getting pummeled you may choose to regain some health; if you’re tired the points are probably best spent on stamina; if you need to put your opponent on the mat you’ll want to increase the damage your punches cause.

EA isn’t ready to reveal all of Fight Night Round 4’s secrets, but a few probing questions did yield some more information. The career mode (known as Legacy mode) will be deeper and focus on your quest to cement your legacy in the history of boxing. You’ll be able to schedule your own fights and once again train your boxer. How much you can train is not only based on how the amount of time you have between bouts, but also how much time it takes you to recover from your previous fight. Training will still be accomplished via minigames, but in yet another nod to realism, will involve some sort of skill that you would use in the ring. In other words, training will not only improve your boxer’s attributes, but will also improve your ability in the ring as well.

Although many unanswered questions remain, Fight Night Round 4 appears right on-track to be in fighting shape for its tentative release date of June 2009.

Mar 13, 2009

11 comments

  • MW3M - March 14, 2009 10:22 a.m.

    Just give me Round 3 again with better online and graphics and a career mode to rival Prizefighter and I'll be happy
  • jackrabbitslims - March 15, 2009 12:39 p.m.

    @Makk_Mizzy: Why are you yelling?!? Relax...damn. Anyway, I'm sure this game will be good. The question is if it will deliver on the hype and be great. I loved round 3, so I'm pretty invested in this.
  • AB17568 - May 4, 2009 7:29 a.m.

    Fight Night Is Awsome When Ur High...
  • joabbuac - March 13, 2009 10:59 p.m.

    did you read any of this or just look at the screenshots To me it seems that there really trying to improve the gameplay
  • bron1417 - March 13, 2009 11:37 p.m.

    bout time. i love fight night cant wait to hear more
  • Kattleox - March 14, 2009 4:11 p.m.

    Chris Redfield should be unlockable in this; he's certainly got the guns for it and his slow movement certainly gives him a boxer type feel.
  • Makk_Mizzy - March 15, 2009 10:13 a.m.

    THAT'S THE BUISNESS FUH-REAL DOE'! I HOPE THAT THE CAREER MODE WILL BE LONGER INSTEAD OF 50 SUMTIN' FIGHTS! I'M AIMIN' FOR AS MANY AS 150 THAT WOULD BE SATISFYING OR IF I COULD START AS A FEATHERWEIGHT AT THE AGE OF 18 AND OVER THE YEARS I CONQUER MY DIVISIONS AND GAIN LBS, I CAN ADVANCE UP THE RANKING SYSTEM TOWARDS BECOMING THE WORLD'S HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION! THAT WOULD BE A FIGHT NIGHT FAN DREAM COME TRUE! I LIKE THE IDEA OF DISTRIBUTING POINTS GAINED IN THE FIGHT AND ETC., OR WHAT IF YOU COULD PUT UP YOUR ON WINNINGS FOR YOUR FIGHTS LIKE REAL LIFE INSTEAD OF EXCEPTING WHAT THEY GIVE YOU! LIKE IF THEY MADE UP NUMBERS FOR BOXERS' ACCOUNTS LIKE LETS SAY I GOT 20,000 BUCKS AND MY OPPONENT HAS 40,000 BUCKS BUT, THE MATCH IS SET AT 12,000 BUCKS WHAT IF I COULD PUT UP MY 20,000 BUCKS AND SEE IF HE WANTS TO TAKE ME UP ON MY OFFER AND MAKE SOME MORE CASH OR REFUSE ME AND KEEP THE BOUT AT 12,000 BUCKS! JUST SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT. IT WOULD BE GREAT IF THEY LET YOU PICK FROM MULTIPLE VOICES AND DIALOGUES FOR YOUR CREATED CHARACTER TO SAY DURING FIGHTS, AFTER FIGHTS, WHEN YOU GOTO YOUR CORNER WITH YOUR CUTMAN, SHOUT OUTS TO CERTAIN PPL AND YOUR FANS WHEN YOUR VICTORIOUS, IN THE LOCKER ROOM BEFORE YOU FIGHT AND AFTER THE FIGHT WHETHER YOU WON OR LOST! I PAID IT OFF ON RESERVE $64.64 BUT, I KNOW IT DON'T COME OUT TIL OCT. BUT, WHO CARES ITS FIGHT NIGHT! EA SPORTS ITS IN THE GAME, GATORADE IS IT IN YOU, OR HE TALKING SMACK? GO AHEAD AND KNOCK HIS BLOCK OFF! NIKE JUST DO IT! YOU NOT GONE HIT HIM? BURGER KING HAVE IT YOUR WAY, SMOKEY FROM FRIDAY YOU GOT KNOCKED THE PHUCK OUT! LOL THIS GAME WILL MAKE A GOOD BUDGET!
  • FlyinHawaiian13 - March 15, 2009 11:23 p.m.

    CAAAAPS LOOOOCK AHHHHHHHH!!!!!! i loved round three this looks great
  • Metalhead347 - March 20, 2009 12:36 a.m.

    that stupid point system sounds like crap i hope they get rid of it
  • 134duce - March 23, 2009 9:25 p.m.

    yo yall who haten on dis game is crazy its wanna da best sports game out der i cant wait until it come out
  • Makk_Mizzy - April 4, 2009 12:18 p.m.

    i can't wait til' june 30th when this game gets shipped in because im gone be the first one at the register to pick this up, fasho.

Showing 1-11 of 11 comments

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