Fight Night Champion Official Review
by Lord Nero
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
North American Release Date: March 1, 2011
European Release Date: March 4, 2011
Trophies: Yes; 1 | 4 | 11 | 21
Fight Night Champion is the fifth installment of the boxing video game series developed and published by EA. In this title they have redesigned some of the controls on the analog sticks for movement and throwing your punches to make it easier for the average gamer to get the hang of and play. Also, they added an actual storyline in the game where you will follow a fictional boxer on his rise to fame through hardship and struggles for the championship. Many of the more popular boxing legends are present this time around, while a few others such as Floyd Mayweather and different weight classes are available as DLC.
EA has tried to redesign the controls a bit from past Fight Night games to make it easier and more responsive. For new players, they won't notice the differences, but now, punches are all thrown from a flick in either direction of the right analog stick and movement is completed with the left analog stick. Double tapping will cause for a shifting strafe to circle your opponent, with slight rotations of the causing a circular head dodge. You can also throw punches with the combinations of the , , , and buttons and simultaneous pressing of each to do different strikes in a particular direction. Holding while punching in any direction will use more stamina and you will throw a power strike. Blocking is achieved by holding , while strafing in place to dodge or leaning in for different targeted body shots is managed through holding .
The Uppercut; One of the more powerful punches you will throw. + or + or down on the analog stick
Each of the controls are very responsive, albeit a tad touchy, such as the punches thrown with the stick. It felt natural and fun to me and quick to learn to become a badass boxer. Once you fully get the hang of the controls, it all flows together smoothly, however, random button mashing will result in an extra punch or two being thrown so be careful there. Strafing in the ring feels normal as does the feature to lean in with your strikes by holding .
One of many fights that can be recreated in Fight Now. I'm pretty sure "The Hitman" is wondering where that train that hit him came from.
Fight Night Champion offers several different game modes to play from to keep you entertained beyond one on one fighting in Fight Now. As mentioned, you have Fight Now, just your default fighting mode that allows you to fight the computer or a friend offline. Also, you have Champion Mode which is the game's story mode that pits you across several fictional fighters as Andre Bishop through his rise to fame. The training camp area allows you to do specific challenges that will teach you proper techniques and assist in learning how to fight. Everything else is managed online and includes making your own fighter and fighting through gyms or one on one against other players.
In Fight Night Champion, EA designed a story mode that you play through following the rise of the fictional boxer, Andre Bishop, and watch cutscenes that will play out as a movie through his career and struggles. The game opens in a different setting seeing Bishop in prison and having to box there to get by. He's constantly assaulted by skin heads but coached on and pushed by his friend to keep getting up. The game carries through the four years prior to his arrest and shows his struggle to fame.
For a boxing fighting game, the story is actually very entertaining and will keep you wondering a little bit what will happen next. It's nice to watch the in-game cutscenes between fights and in the middle of rounds showing the damage each fighter has sustained and the events that occur. The main story of the game sees Andre Bishop, a newly risen amateur boxer who got a noticeable fight and carries on to try for the championship. However, shady promoters get in the way and make things difficult as does a nearly unstoppable brute that has become the champion.
The story brawl between Isaac Frost and Andre Bishop, your character. Frost is a monster. Looks like Orton; which he's designed from FYI.
The Champion Mode story line won't take you that long to complete so it loses ground there, being completed in under 3 hours. Throughout, you will have specific goals in some fights and may want to replay it in case you miss some fights, however, it's nothing different the second round through. In addition, you have the Fight Now feature that allows you or a another person to fight one another. This is good for training against the computer or a buddy for fun.
There is a training mode that teaches you and puts you in specific situations. Definitely helpful to learn some of the dodging and how to stand up during a fight or properly throwing your punches before you go online against the real crowd.
As most fighting games go, the multiplayer is where most players will invest the majority of their time. Fight Night Champions offers a decent experience here for fans, but many will be overwhelmed in the higher stages and as their level progresses against some of the more diehard fans that have been playing this series for years. This is really one of the only draw backs that will be experienced, other than dealing with EA's servers themselves.
Some of the features you can play online range from the basic Fight Now matches against other players and ranked matches to online gyms and training sessions. Also, you have an online career mode to play through as a boxer of your choice, even being a created boxer, that will go towards being a champion and defending belts, but also experiencing normal damage and wear on the body until they are no longer able to compete. It's a fun experience and should be able to entertain fans of the Fight Night series. As stated previously, you will need to really be good or get lucky against some of the online battles with the higher ranked players.
Few issues to be on the look out for are disconnecting, but most of this will come from your opponents and a slightly smaller online game base with the game's age. With that, matchmaking will take significantly longer than normal to get a started. Some freezing and minor technical issues will pose problems to some players as well, but it's nothing extreme.
The technical aspects of Fight Night Champion is where the game fails in several areas. The major issue is shutdown problems many players have experienced and game freezing. Be prepared to have this occur during your game play as it's a very common problem and one that has not yet been patched or fixed. Also, there are numerous tearing and clipping problems, especially involving the framerate in some cutscenes and during dialogue moments where you will notice the game trying to process, but falling behind. This is a constant notice I found through the champion mode, but it doesn't really affect the fights.
The lighting, voice acting, and graphics however are spot on for Fight Night. The fighter designs and damage shown on each one as the fight progresses is a neat feature and adds to the realism of the boxing match. You'll notice blood spilling down from a cut on your shorts and down the body of the fighter as well so it can be slightly graphic, especially in the language used through the game. You will hear some pretty offensive words as you play the story, including a few racial slurs the developers thought necessary to include. Although it adds to the story, I feel this could of been omitted.
Some of the noticeable body damage shown through the fight.
Overall, the technical design of the game really needed a bit more polishing up for the internal processing of the game, but they also did a good job elsewhere.
Many of the trophies are straight forward for Fight Night Champion. You have several for completing fights through the story and some for winning in a specific way(ex. win with a left hook knockdown). The miscellaneous trophies include throwing a certain amount of punches, defeating all available fighters in Fight Now, stunning opponents specific number of times, etc. Then there are the online trophies that will require you to obtain belts or defeat others in specific gym fights. The online trophies are going to be the more time consuming while all the other trophies are straightforward and will come through normal playing most likely. There aren't any difficulty trophies, so as long as you set it to amateur difficulty, you won't have any troubles through the story and computer fights.
EA presents a very nice boxing game to the fans, with some updated features and is an overall fun experience. The online can be stressful thanks to the hardcore players at the higher levels and the difficulty at acquiring the platinum for the online trophies and ranking up. Graphically and technical aspects of Fight are complete for the most part. Some players have experienced issues with the game and console malfunctions but nothing is proven with this. The new included story is a fun addition to the Fight Night games and gives the single player a fun edge over mediocrity. The gameplay is smooth and fluid as well, and is updated from past titles.
The game play is very fun and entertaining. Several game modes and trophies will keep you entertained and playing for a while if you like the Fight Night series and boxing games.
Single player is short and straightforward, while having a unique and engaging storyline to follow through.
Fight Night possesses a good online area, but the lack of a very active crowd diminishes the experience, as does the elite group at higher levels. You will have fun facing your friends, but the lack of trophy hunters to boost will cause some issues. You may notice some minor technical freezing issues through the MP as well, but nothing major. Multiple extra gameplay modes to choose from, that are only accessible through online.
Few technical hiccups that hold the game back a slight bit, but otherwise contains good sounds, lighting effects, and graphics.