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Fight Night Round 3 : First Look: Xbox 360

by Steven Williamson on 6 January 2006, 13:06

Tags: Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA), Sports

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Seconds to go - Round One

The Fight Night Round 3 demo became available yesterday as a download on the Xbox 360 Live Marketplace.It was showcased at CES yesterday when Bill Gates beat fellow colleague Steve Ballmer in a head to head battle.

Now I'm not a massive fan of boxing games and I've never played any previous Fight Night games, although I did love the Rocky games, but I downloaded it like thousands of others yesterday.

These are my initial thoughts:

Developed by EA Sports Fight Night Round 3 must surely be the best looking boxing game in history.The character models surpass the graphical excellence of Madden 360. To give you an idea I spent the first 2 minutes of the game staring at the screen waiting for it to start. I thought I was still watching the pre-game footage when in fact the round had begun. It's almost film quality, there's no question about it.

The demo lets you choose bewtween two fighters Bernard Hopkins or Roy Jones Jnr.The gameplay seems slightly laboured in comparison with the Rocky games but this isn't a negative comment.This allows you to choose your punches carefully so that the match doesn't necessarily have to be a button bashing frenzy. The controls are relatively simple, A and B buttons control your left and right hooks, X and Y activate the straight shots, whilst the top right trigger unleashes your signature move - a punch which packs a poweful message and can change the course of the fight.You can use your left and right triggers to bob and weave like a true pro or just go wading in, full steam ahead. This isn't wise, I got absoulutely pounded by adopting this approach and it took a few games to realise that the only way to win is by carefully placed punches and combos. By pressing the d-pad you can access some of the special moves like taunting the opponent, although these aren't as witty as the taunts in the Rocky games. Press the left d-pad to grab your oppponent, but be careful as you'll possibly incur a penalty. The controls in Fight Night Round 3 are smooth and responsive, put a few combos together and you'll be smiling and nodding to yourself. It's an adrenaline rush which many sports games fail to capture.

Landing a punch feels, looks and sounds fantastic. Hit your opponent a few times and you can visibly see the anger and pain on his face. The damage is spookily accurate, keep dishing out those right hooks and watch his left eye swell and bleed. Hit him square in the jaw and you can hear the bones crunch. There's something quite satisfying about seeing your character inflict pain and damage, when I knocked out Roy Jones Jnr I found myself standing up and cheering at the replay. The replays are stunning. When you knock your opponent out it shows you the punch that caused the damage in slow motion, you'll see their face screw up, the glove hit the jaw with frightening force, you hear a thunderous boom as contact is made, the boxer spurts blood out of his mouth and then falls to the floor like a rag doll. I've watched these replays many times in the past two days and I just can't see how you could ever be bored of watching them over and over again. The muscle tone definition, sweat and even the stance of the boxers are perfectly defined. The way EA manages to capture the fear and anger in the faces of the boxers is admirable.

Unusually there was nothing on the screen to indicate how many minutes of the round there was left or how much damage you were inflicting on your opponent. I presume these will be featured in the full game but, honestly,I don't know.

Once the match has ended, a comprehensive score card reveals every punch that was made and a hit percentage rate.A nice touch which will enable you to see where you need to improve.

Fight Night Round 3 has left me begging for more. I enjoyed the intense gameplay, the graphics and even the hip hop soundtrack blasting away in the background. The game was originally showcased at E3 last summer for the PS3, but it looks as though Microsoft are going to beat Sony to it. By all accounts this version looks better than the PS3 version.

Check out our screenshots by clicking here

Fight Night Round 3 is due for release in February for the PS2, PSP, Xbox and Xbox 360.

Edit: Since this First Look went live we've learnt that WBC and WBA super welterweight champion, De La Hoya will be on the covers of the Xbox 360 and PSP versions of the game. Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward will be featured on the cover of the PS2 and Xbox versions of the boxing game.

HEXUS Forums :: 3 Comments

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I played this last night on my friend's 360. I loved the previous games in the Fight Night series, so I was pretty excited about having a go….I wasn't disappointed!

Knockdowns are more satisfying than ever! The only thing is, has anyone else noticed how slow and inconsistent the speed seems compared to the previous versions? I'm hoping this is a developer decision, rather than slow-down caused by bad programming/lack of hardware grunt. Although, I'm pretty sure th 360 is capable of much more (as amazing as it looks).
the speed does seem to change. I think it's deliberate cos it seems to slow down once you've given your opponent a good beating or if you are getting tired.

i agree, the knockdowns are great.
Valentine's day release in the UK. How romantic!