Fight Night Round 4: Review

Fight Night Round 4 has finally hit shelves all around the world. After months of waiting and completely wearing out the three-round demo, Spartan117 got a copy and put in the work to go from (virtual) chump to champ.

For those of you who are waiting to see how the game is before buying a copy, I'll fill you in on the much anticipated "Legacy Mode" and online play. For the basic mechanics, please see my review of the demo.

In FNR4's "Legacy Mode," you take your boxer from the amateur circuit to the major venues like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, and a generic version of Madison Square Garden called the New York Arena.

When starting a new career in Legacy Mode, you can choose an existing boxer on the roster or you can create your own boxer to climb the ranks. I chose the latter. Whether you choose a real boxer from the lineup or a newly created one, you start with same stats. You start fairly slow and weak, which forces you to put your time in the gym to boost your stats.

When creating a new character, the customization options are plentiful. You can choose gear from brands such as Grant, Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Everlast and Rival. Even after you choose a style, you can change every color on the gloves, shoes, trunks, mouthguard, socks, and even your robe, plus you can change the material of your gear. This makes your man more of an individual when you make the turn to online play.

Your first event is an amateur tournament. You strap on the headgear and face other boxing hopefuls. This makes for a great tutorial for your career, but it's almost too easy compared to the battles that follow. After the tournament, you make the jump to professional boxer whether you win or lose.

The success of your professional career is measured by multiple criteria:

1. Your record
2. How many championships you've held
3. Whether or not you've moved up in weight
4. Popularity, based on your percentage of knockouts
5. Major televised fights you've won

There is also a nice pound for pound list that you can climb by winning as well.

You start out fighting mostly jobbers. These guys won't give you too much trouble, but they do make for good stepping stones. Between each fight you view your fight calender. You are required to rest and heal for at least a month after a fight. Depending on how long in advance you schedule your next bout you can fit in one to three training sessions. Judging from the training sessions from the first three Fight Nights, I assumed that one session would be enough to move it. It was for about the first two years of my career. Then I was in for the brutal realization that I had to put the work in the gym to move up through the big named fighters.

FNR4 does a good job of making sure you can't move up in rank too quickly. I tried to jump five ranks to face Sergio Mora. I'll admit I thought my fighter may not be ready for the challenge, but I tried to put him to the test anyway. Mora served me up a whooping and I was sent back down the ranks. So the key is patience and making sure you get as much training in as possible.

As you move up in the top 10 of the weight division, you may get challenged by the champions. This is a nice feature but the challenges don't always make sense. For example, Winky Wright was the champion at the time, and he challenged me saying that he thought "it would be a good fight for the fans." I faced Winky earlier in my career and got destroyed. I guess he forgot about that victory.

After building your fighter up to the elite level, you can win three titles in your weight division. After that, you can stay on top of your weight class or you get the option to move up in weight. If you make the jump up, you start in the top 10 of the division. You do need to win a handful of fights before you get a title shot.

Another minor gripe I have is after you spend enough time in your career, your boxer can actually become too strong. I've spent a good 15 years moving my character along and now he can easily run through anyone who challenges.

A second issue I have is with the yearly boxing awards. After each calender year of Legacy Mode, the game gives out awards to best fighter, best fight, best round, best comeback, best knockout, best defensive fighter, and best prospect. I won a handful of awards early on but now I fail to bring in any. I'm number one PFP, have six belts in two divisions, and take out my opponents in 1 or 2 rounds. How does that not get me the fighter of the year award?

These are very minor complaints in the grand scheme of Fight Night's Legacy Mode. It really does make for a great overall experience.

Online mode is also a lot of fun. With a broadband connection, the action is completely flawless. I've played about 20 online matches and I haven't seen one glitch, hiccup or lag in the middle of the action.

In order to play online and vie for the online title, you have to create a fighter. In the online community, there are lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight divisions with one title belt in each. There are thousands of people in each weight class, so to become the champion you really need to earn it.

To even the playing field, all of the fighters are given the same attributes. I'll warn you, make sure you practice and know your strengths and weaknesses before you jump into online play. There are some serious contenders out there that show no mercy.

I also want to add that Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas did a fantastic job recording the commentary for this game. Of course you'll get a few repeated lines after a while, but what is shocking is how realistic the commentary sounds. It sounds like they had a lot of fun with it.

Overall, Fight Night Round 4 is the best boxing experience you can have on the next generation consoles. It has great replay value and is a fun experience without sacrificing the realism of the sport. EA has acheived near perfection and they are taking the franchise in the right direction.

If you have yourself a copy and want to fight it out online, shoot me a friend request. My Xbox Live gamertag is "p lov 3".

Posted by spartan117

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