Fight Night Round 2

Fight Night Round 2 Review Xbox

Fight Night Round 2 Review XBOX

Boxing games have suffered a long cold winter since the original arcade based 3D fighters of the late 80's. Until the original Fight Night title was released, last year, the main problem game developers had encountered and what ultimately killed the genre was relating the fluid motions of boxing; such as punching, dodging, taunting, parrying and delivering that killer knockout blow to the available controllers of past games consoles. EA, who are famous for their gaming innovations, have cracked it! The last thing you need when stepping into the ring is button hassle and a winning fighter needs to switch styles and unleash deadly combos with ease. The fighting system used in Fight Night Round 2 is superb.

Moving around the ring is easy: you can dodge, weave and keep it mobile while still focusing on your punching. You can easily get in close for some body work or you can hold and rope-a-dope to soak up your opponents strength. Switching from attack to defense and back again is easy and instant all this rolled

Fight Night Round 2 Review Xbox

together makes for the needed fluidity that I mentioned above.

The punching system is where the real genius comes into play. The whole system is executable by using the right analogue stick and two trigger buttons.

All kinds of punches are easily launched with a simple flick of the right analogue stick. The design of each control is set to resemble the punch you throw and the joystick movement emulates the swing of the boxers arm, so a quick jab is executed with a single flick of the right stick diagonally left or right; a hook is released by moving the stick to the right and then arcing upward and thunderous uppercuts are launched with a diagonal downward move that you pull up and around the arc of the analogue control. This is how things worked in Fight Night 1, what has been added to the punching system is the stunning haymaker punch which means you can dish out punches of standard force then end your combo with a huge haymaker that can flatten your opponent with one hit. So what we have is a punching system that emulates the boxer's arms and is so instinctive you can dish out pain from your very first fight coupled with a way of hitting harder and putting your body weight into each punch. This is so realistic it's great!

Defending is equally fluid, you can duck, bob, weave and parry your opponents punch. The parry is particularly effective as it leaves your opponent open for a counter attack. All this rolled together requires hardly any thinking about leaving your brain that little bit of time needed to think through your strategy and react to whatever is incoming. So that is how you fight, how you control your boxer in the ring.

Knockdowns are beautifully recreated. I must add at this stage that this game is quite violent -as is the real sport - it does incorporate cuts and a large amount of blood can get spilled. When a boxer gets knocked down you get a cut scene replay of the killer punch which includes flying beads of sweat and blood similar to the Rocky movies. If it is your boxer who is taking a beating and you are about to get knocked down then you go into a slow-mo mode where all sound becomes muffled and your vision fades to tunnel vision. If you get caught in these few seconds then you are going down. The same happens when it is your boxer on the offensive and when the tunnel vision comes you know a knockout is close. If you land a haymaker the knockdown is guaranteed.

If you hit the floor then the ref starts the 10 count. Your boxer can recover from some knockdowns and you have an involvement in this too. You simply have a target in the center of the screen and you need to pull an icon of the left and right joysticks into the target once this is complete your boxer gets to his feet.

Between rounds you get a cut scene from each corner of the trainers pep talking their boxers about the previous and forthcoming rounds, which again helps to create a more realistic environment. You can even take control of your corners cut man using the full bucket of cut-man tools to reduce swelling and stop the bleeding. If your boxer cannot see, how are you going to win?

Graphically this game are stunning, the animation of the boxers is superb. Their bodies glisten with sweat and with each punch thrown you see the devastating effects on your opponent. Ring girls look sexy and even have a moral related boost to them, if your corner has ring girls. The arenas and crowds are very well animated and the renders of all the greatest boxers in their respective weights have been lovingly created. You can even mix weights so you can see how Muhammad Ali would have done against Sugar Ray Leonard. Sound also plays a huge role. The best way to describe the sound is to say that when fighting it feels like you are in a Rocky movie the cinematic qualities are very present.

The game has a good mix of play modes; quick fight, career mode and online mode are all present. So you should be able to get lots of hours from the game playing against your friends or taking your personally created boxer to the top and then taking him online to play against remote opponents.

Boxing in my humble opinion is the king of sports. Although it is primeval and violent there is no other sport that requires as much focus, strength and individual mental and physical strength. Fight Night Round 2 is the king of boxing titles if you are a big fan of the sport then I really cannot see how this game would be a disappointment.

9 out of 10

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