The game includes a main campaign entitled the Legacy Mode, which allows you to choose a character and see build them through the ranks. Your ultimate goal is to retire at the status of "Greatest Of All Time", which you achieve by scheduling matches, training and, most importantly, winning.
Fight Night Round 4 is a little thin on the ground in terms of modes, however the core fighting mechanic is the focus of the package and anyone who enjoys it will find plenty to do in Fight Night. Online and local multiplayer modes flesh out the package.
Fight Night Round 4 is without a doubt one of the best looking sports games on the Playstation 3. Each of the boxers included on the disc are rendered to perfection, the spitting image of their real-life counterparts. Animation in the ring is captured perfectly, as the warriors hustle and bustle, getting sweaty as the match goes on and eventually looking bruised and battered. Big blows will cause blood to run-down the recipients cheek dotting the gloves of the supplier. The crowd respond to each blow, rising to their feet when the action gets particularly intense. By all accounts, Fight Night Round 4 is a beautiful game. The detail is so intense you'll still be noticing new things weeks after you first load up the disc.
When you land a winning punch, Fight Night Round 4 rewards you with unbelievably satisfying replays. The close ups display every nuance of a powerful strike, closing in on the face of the receiver and showing the sweat, blood and saliva spew in multiple directions. It's visceral, and at times cringe worthy, but is all the more satisfying for it.
In the past, the ability to create characters in a game has resulted in some pretty hit or miss slider manipulation. Fight Night Round 4 provides options for that, but also offers some new concepts. The ability to hook up the Playstation Eye camera (or upload digital camera photos) enables you to import your own photograph into the game. You can then place points on your photograph for reference and Fight Night will develop a polygonal likeness. The technique works to some mixed effect, but certainly provides a clearer video game representation of yourself then you could ever manage by manually manipulating sliders. You're also able to upload your creations to the EA servers, allowing you to put other people's created boxers into your own game. We've already included US president Barack Obama and Mr. Bean into our roster.
Fight Night Round 4 provides an experience that's relatively playable by everyone. On Amateur mode you'll be able to simply slam the punch button and win, whereas on the harder difficulties every fight becomes a tactical battle. The AI is intriguingly clever, making winning games on the harder difficulties extremely challenging. It would have been nice if EA could have given some more information on how some of the games deeper mechanics work, but if you invest the time you'll become a Fight Night God. And that's rewarding, especially when playing online.
No matter how much we played Fight Night Round 4, we couldn't get used to the punching controls being mapped to the analogue stick. We understand the reasoning behind the New Play Control mechanism - pulling diagonally downwards and then curling the stick upwards does help to mimic the action of an upper-cut - but we found it unrewarding. The greater feedback and accuracy achieved with a button press would have been welcome here. At the very least EA should have given the option to remap the controller, even if the analogue stick controls remained standard.
The new Legacy Mode is great at putting you through the career steps of a real-life boxer, but we felt there was too much time spent fiddling with menus and calendars than actual boxing. We appreciate the management-sim type options but would have preferred a more streamlined career experience granting us more time in the ring than menus.
Fight Night Round 4 includes a host of multiplayer options which we will be taking a detailed look at in the very near future.
The combination of visceral fighting mechanics and unbelievable graphics enable Fight Night Round 4 to be an extremely enjoyable sports title with a phenomenal degree of depth.