The game looks the part, sounds the part, and certainly plays the part. Topped off with a wealth of options that will keep you playing for hours on end, and an addictive online mode, Fight Night is just what the game's subtitle suggest...it's a Champion.
It seems like a seed has been planted for Champion mode and it's exciting to think of where EA can take the franchise in the future. There's definite potential for the development of a story that's on par with what Rockstar Games delivers and even if you don't like watching cut-scenes and playing along with a story, there's enough freshness here to keep fans of previous Fight Night installments satisfied.
The benchmark of boxing games on consoles is setting the bar once more thanks to EA Canada's talent. They didn't transform the franchise completely, proposing instead an even more realistic rendering and a very alluring accessibility. Maybe some hardcore simulation-craving gamers would find some things to argue about (like some shortcomings in terms of gameplay precision, a lack of realism on some specific moves) but it would be a shame not to play this new reference of virtual boxing.
There's just not quite enough meat on Fight Night Champion's bones to recommend it to owners of previous games, however, and Champion mode itself is little more than a brief diversion you can bash through in an afternoon.
The boxing in this game is great. The controls are simple, as opposed to the over-complicated control scheme that plagued previous releases. However, the game comes to a screeching halt when it comes to the game modes. There's Champion Mode, which is good, but you can pretty much only play it once as it's a story mode. There's Legacy Mode, which is a career mode where you **** that's it. You don't get to pick your trainer, you don't get to pick venues, you don't even get to pick sponsorships. Legacy Mode gets boring VERY fast as a result. There's another mode called Bare Knuckles Mode, which is exactly what it sounds like, but you have to buy it. Overall, a decent game if all you want to do is box, but if you're looking for a boxing game with an in-depth career mode, don't bother.
Ever since I was obsessed with the NES "Punch-Out!", I've been searching for the next great boxing sim. With playable characters like Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, and Mike Tyson, I thought this had the chance to be great. Unfortunately, like with most pugilistic video game efforts, it is just too difficult to play without a steep learning curve.
Though playing as classic boxers is fun, it doesn't make up for the fact that boxing video games have almost an impossible task when it comes to controls. I played this with some friends for a couple of hours, and after that time all we determined is that we would need more practice to truly be good. A LOT more practice. Until you completely master the various punching/blocking/dodging controls, you it is pretty much just randomly hitting buttons and hoping for results.
For a comparison: Shortly after trying this game out, I also got WWE 2K14 for the XBOX 360. Within one match, I could easily pick up the controls and had great fun with the game. I knew there was more in-depth controlling I could do, but I didn't need to be an expert button-er to dive right in. This relegated "Fight Night" to the back of the gaming shelf.
Overall, then, while this game is so tantalizing in offering all the classic fighters from days gone by, the controls still are not good enough to make it all that fun ****. Unless you really want to invest the time into perfecting it, don't bother picking this one up.
For anyone thinking of buying this game, listen to this logic: You throw 200 punches (100 of which are not blocked) into your opponent's head. Get punched twice. Now you're down for the count. There are many good alternatives to this game that won't make you rage quit after every match