Generally favorable reviews - based on 47 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 47
  2. Negative: 0 out of 47
  1. 85
    The graphics and control system are almost worth the price of admission all by themselves -- it's rare to find a sports game have this much pick-up-and-play addiction in this age of sim-oriented titles.
  2. I was the opposite of an encyclopedia of boxing. Now however, if given the opportunity to watch it on TV, I could actually sit down and have a gander at a few rounds with some interest. This shows just how good Fight Night 2004 is.
  3. Visually striking and completely engrossing, EA's latest for boxing fans is tremendously faithful to the sport. Granted, the artificial intelligence is a little lacking in certain areas and Xbox owners deserve an online component.
  4. Fight Night 2004 makes huge strides compared to EA's previous Knockout Kings games. While there is plenty of room for improvement, EA has done an excellent job making those who want a sim-style boxing title happy.
  5. But the game does have drawbacks. The road to the top is a long one and things become repetitive long before you get the chance to glove up against "The Greatest". And training - which is essential to boost your power, stamina and chin - becomes a real chore.
  6. One of those rare treats that comes along once in a long while. Get it while it's hot.
  7. FN2004's brilliant analog stick punching system gives boxing its own genre - this is much more than just a beat 'em up with big red gloves and silly shorts on.
  8. By far, it's more fun to play against a human player with experience, than to play against the weak A.I. - the one area of the game that was glossed over. [Aug 2004, p.6]
  9. It's a great simulation, with excellent training and a developed career mode.
  10. As a reinvention it's a resounding success, and there are no pretenders to its comprehensiveness [May 2004, p.107]
  11. Fight Night does what any good "sports sim" should: It teaches you how to excel at the sport it sims while still remaining fun, somehow. [May 2004, p.87]
  12. EA has finally managed to make a boxing game about skill and strategy rather than the random flailings of our opposable digits. And it's fun too. Unfortunately the game feels wildly incomplete in its overall presentation with a very short list of features, poor music selection, boring levels and no Xbox online component.
  13. 89
    Cemented in the hall of sporting classics alongside titles like "Pro Evolution Soccer" and "Tiger Woods," Fight Night is a true modern classic.
  14. The innovative Total Punch Control is a milestone for the genre and while most likely serve as a template for future boxing games.
  15. Succeeds in creating a completely new formula for the sweet science. [Apr 2004, p.88]
  16. The Total Punch Control system is the most intuitive and natural boxing scheme ever invented, and will be the standard that other boxing (perhaps even other fighting) games will be judged by.
  17. By virtue of its impressive new control scheme and solid delivery, Fight Night 2004 doesn't really have any peers and by default can be declared the unanimous champ. However, it still needs a much better single-player Career mode before it can stand toe to toe with other, deeper sports games.
  18. 92
    EA have created a control system which is evolutionary and the game play is engrossing. To me, Fight Night 2004 is the most realistic experience and polished boxing game that has ever been created.
  19. Just about every feature in Fight Night lives up to the hype and feels right, if not outstanding.
  20. 100
    Fight Night's Career mode should be the model that other boxing games should follow...Hands down, Fight Night 2004 is the victor in all weight classes this year. [May 2004, p.84]
  21. Once you get used to it, this game becomes both intuitive and satisfying.
  22. It's by no means an easy game to get to grips with, and if you're after a title that simply lets you hit people, we'd suggest something radically different, but if you want to understand why the sweet science is so sweet, Fight Night 2004 is your current and reigning heavyweight champion of the boxing game scene.
  23. 85
    Its incredibly diverse control system is implemented into a truly enjoyable game that has enough simulation elements to please boxing fans and strong gameplay that can be appreciated by a diverse crowd.
  24. A deftly blended mix of strategy and timing, a game that not only remembers that boxing isn't just about brawn and speed it's also about strategy.
  25. Offline play is extremely polished, and worth price of admission alone. I could not make that statement without Total Punch Control, as it makes the game even more challenging. Online is a great bonus, but it seemed rather rushed near the end.
  26. A brutally lifelike affair that firmly drives home the fact that 21st-century videogaming is rapidly approaching an era of photorealism. [Apr 2004, p.81]
  27. 84
    Not only has it created an all-new level of control that makes every pugilism title before it look like child's play, it's also created a mechanic so flexible and natural that it should very well change the way developers look at the sport from now on.
  28. 90
    Make no mistake about it, Fight Night 2004, is by far the best boxing game ever. Period. The new total punch control system adds an unprecedented amount of realism to the genre without sacrificing any of the fun.
  29. Instead of the usual push-button pugilism, throw punches using the analog stick-the direction and speed of the stick determine the swing; the trigger controls handle bobbing, weaving, and blocking.
  30. A huge success for boxing fans and gamers alike, and is well worth a purchase, but with lackluster commentary, no custom soundtrack support, and, like all current EA titles, no Xbox Live support, it falls just short of the greatness that could have been.
  31. The total control punching system needs some work and some smoothing out, but it's still got some playability and fun.
  32. 70
    A new revolution in the boxing genre. EA have taken the brave step of totally disbanding twenty years of evolution and creating a control system that breathes fresh air into a genre which has stagnated for some time.
  33. The greatest boxing game you've ever played - but not the great boxing you will ever play. [Apr 2004, p.71]
  34. The best boxing game I have ever played. Fight Night's career mode and Total Punch Control are two features that improve on EA's previous boxing games and help take the game over the top. This is a great effort by EA.
  35. But what's truly astounding about Fight Night is the damage inflicted on the Boxers...Using state-of-the-art facial mo-caps, players will see a boxer's face bruise, swell and get cut during fights. [Apr 2004, p.72]
  36. 75
    Fight Night adds a bit of bob and weave through a control system that allows you to swivel your fighter at the hips. [Apr 2004, p.38]
  37. 80
    Sadly, Fight Night has left out back-alley options like fixing fights, in-fight cannibalism or even a seemingly drunk Larry Merchant doddering about the ring during the post-fight interviews. There's always next year.
  38. At first I was ready to send my controller sailing out my front window, but patience prevailed and I found myself immersed in the feel of the game.
  39. The slow, repetitive action is the knockout blow that stops this contender from ever being the greatest. [XBM]
  40. The physics are a little clunky at first but ultimately make the game feel a whole lot more natural with a little practice.
  41. If they can tweak the secondary graphics and add more music and custom soundtracks they will have the ultimate boxing game.
  42. The gameplay represents the perfect collaboration between arcade-style fighting and boxing simulation, and will remain fun even after your career is brought to a screeching halt.
  43. It's dense and intimidating, and it demands practice; give it time, and button-mashing will no longer seem relevant in boxing games.
  44. It appears as all the effort of Fight Night 2004 went into the boxing controls, and the career mode was added as an afterthought. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing.
  45. While the control scheme is a bit tricky to get down, once you get the hang of it, you won't want to go back to button meshing ever again. The career mode is one of the most comprehensive modes ever designed, even though it is limited by a retirement age.
  46. Have you ever wondered who would win a fight between Roy Jones Jr. and Muhammad Ali? Alternatively, have you ever wanted to mimic Rocky and become a contender? EA Sports gives you that chance in EA Sports' Fight Night 2004.
  47. Be forewarned: your Street Fighter skills will be made irrelevant within roughly 10 seconds. Here, tactical forethought and impeccable timing count for way more than brute force.

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