18 Reviews

Fight Night Champion

Review: Pulling punches

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Fighters are also particularly resilient to impact, a lot of the time landing a solid hook doesn't interrupt your opponent's attack as much as it should, which can lead to scraps in the middle of the ring with both boxers taking as much as their giving. You'll wonder how one man can take so much punishment.

On balance, the inclusion of one-punch knock-outs does keep jeopardy in place, AI controlled fighters will back off and snap their guard up if they take a few good knocks and the man who takes his time and picks his shots will prevail.

Still, reactions to being hit and apparent damage often aren't notable enough and too many fights go the distance. It's a balancing issue more than anything and we've got our fingers crossed for a post-release tweak.

One thing is guaranteed though, since your capacity to store stamina decreases generally over the course of a bout, by rounds six and seven out of ten, your boxer will be little more than a lump of slow meat if you've been reckless with your energy.

ROCKY VII
The other brow-creasing point of contention in Fight Night Champion, and something you won't have been able to experience for yourself just yet, is the addition of Champion Mode - a Rocky style story and an attempt at the bright lights of Hollywood.

Players take control of Andre Bishop - a promising young fighter, who gets framed by a bitter and corrupt boxing promoter and ends up going to jail only to come back and climb the mountain again. It's the classic comeback tale that's been told so many times. Are there training montages? You better believe it, but the whole thing is actually done really well.

With minimal cheese, there's some decent dialogue and examples of some stupidly brilliant character animation, even if the lip-syncing is more out of time than a dubbed martial arts film.

At around five hours long depending on your ability, the story is simple and pacey, but with a truck load of swearing and even a sickening head stomp it's not exactly a lightweight or sugar-coated affair. It goes well beyond the call of duty considering it's an addition to the main thrust of the game.

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From a gameplay perspective story elements are cleverly integrated into your matches to shake things up a bit as well. When corrupt judges in one of Bishop's matches have been paid off to score against you, for example, you need to knock your opponent out to avoid going to a decision. Most importantly Champion Mode makes you care about the string of fights that it's based around just that little bit more.

Legacy Mode returns for those who like to play as a seven foot version of themselves with heroic guns and an 'Eat this dad!' Mohawk. You can also progress through the ranks all over again as a real fighter with his real-life stats.

There's added depth this time around with XP and more from that stamina system making you consider your long (long) term condition. As always, your training schedule needs to be carefully managed to ensure peak condition for your upcoming match but you also need to fight with the future in mind. Go all out for two fights and you'll pay in the third.

On top of fighting and training you'll also have to earn money to open up training venues, which offer different training opportunities, and manage promotional commitments and sponsorship deals.

BRAGGING RIGHTS
In a similar vein, the biggest addition online is the Gym feature, where players can take a created boxer online and create or join a Gym made up of other human beings. From there you can organise internal seasons and tournaments to determine your Gym's champion or you can challenge other Gyms to become the dominant group on the net. All of this, of course, comes with showers of XP at every knockout.

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