EA Sports’ Fight Night series has been among the cream of the crop in their line of sports games. Word got out they released a demo for the upcoming Fight Night Champion and, naturally, I added it to my download queue. It’s easy enough to pick up and play even if you’re new to Fight Night. However, the game has some new features to its engine that makes its representation of the sweet science quite compelling.
Champion, at first glance, doesn’t differ too much from Fight Night Round 4 if you jump right in. However, many of the changes under the hood become more apparent with each fight. You’ll start off with middleweight boxers Miguel Cotto and Manny Pacquiao. Why EA considers them “middleweight” fighters is beyond me but you get to rock with Heavyweight legends in Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson as well.
The game’s slickly titled “full spectrum punch control” places more emphasis on placing accurate punches, enables you to throw harder variations of every punch, and simplifies punch motions on the right stick. You can use the buttons instead if you prefer. Additionally, the controls make you more adamant about timing your blocks as well as abusing punches throughout the match. Put your hands up for too long and your opponent can strike through your defense. Moreover, cheese the same punch and you’ll tire quicker as well as put less sting behind whatever arm you overused. These subtle changes make a world of difference in the ring and, paired with certain boxers fighting styles, makes for a more authentic experience. The overhauled visuals, matched with convincing cuts and bruises, bring it all together into a sequel worth keeping an eye on. The dynamic camera is the only noticeable downside to this demo for my tastes. It switches your perspective at inopportune times when you move around the ring. Gratefully, it’s not hard to accustom yourself to after a few fights.
Fight Night Champion’s demo gives you just enough to have you craving for the full game. Throwing in online play on top makes it a must download while the getting is good. The title hits stores March 1 for Xbox 360 and PS3. For more information, log onto www.easports.com/fightnight.