Fight Night Champion
EA Sports games usually get yearly updates. The only franchise that this doesn’t apply to is Fight Night. It’s been two years since the last part arrived so we’re wondering whether the long period of silence has to do with the time needed by the devs to get additional features in, or whether boxing is less popular to make a yearly update for.
EA Sports shamelessly calls Fight Night Champion a big step forward. This by recycling and improving the strong gameplay and physics from Fight Night Round 4, but thanks to the introduction of the new Champion Mode.
This mode is best described as a singleplayer adventure with influences from well-known Hollywood movies like Raging Bull, Rock or The Set-Up. You’re Andre Bishop, a young boxer who has as much talent in his gloves as Messi with a ball. Of course you’re not on your own and your trainer will help you with the necessary know-how as he would love nothing more than to see his rival coach go down. The whole delivers a pleasant story that may be filled with every cliché in the book but the script never starts to bore and all cut-scenes are nicely made with motion capture and real-life ESPN reports on your career. The only downpoint with it is that you’ll be finished in just under 5 hours.
Unfortunately the Champion Mode is the biggest innovation compared to the previous part. The Legacy Mode has undergone some minor changes but there’s not a lot of difference to be found. You still create a boxer, play to games and grow muscles through boring training matches. The biggest difference is that you can now go online with your career, start a club where other players can come to train and all in all you can compare it to a clan for boxers who want to take on other clans (or clubs in this case).
Qua gameplay Fight Night remains a beautiful boxing sim. Some slight adjustments have been made that result in the game being accessible for beginners. The movements with the analog controllers have been replaced by fast “flicks”. Right top for instance is a right hook, right is a jab, and so on. The overpowered haymakers have been replaced by a button that delivers some more power to your punches. Button bashing isn’t advisable as your boxer will grow tired too fast and this will result in your almost automatic defense dropping the ball more often.
Audiovisually Fight Night Champion is great. The graphics come with more detail, the blood and sweat are a lot clearer to see. Injuries in your face are more realistic than before and you would almost start to feel the hurting yourself. The background still could use some work but in the heat of battle you probably won’t be looking around anyway. The sound effects still add to the atmosphere and the cheering of the crowd makes you euphoric during a good match. The music also suits perfectly with the necessary hiphop beats and some sensual soul.
Fight Night Champion is still the champion amongst boxing sims which may not be too difficult when you’re alone, but it does it in style. The gameplay feels better than before and graphically it’s still gorgeous. Only too bad that the concept suffers from a weak career mode. Combining the Legacy and Champion modes could deliver a perfect balance but that would need some more work from EA sports.