Review by Moon 2

Reviewed: 08/05/04

This game will make anyone feel like the "Greatest!"

Does anyone remember Mike Tyson's Punch Out way back on the NES? That was the one boxing game that everyone had. For the longest time, that was the one boxing game that all others had to live up to. Even today, you'd be hard pressed to find another boxing title that had so much style and replay value. Finally, EA Sports had come out with something that gamers will be talking about for years to come.

On the outside, Fight Night looks like any other title on the market. Where this facade ends, magic begins. Instead of hitting buttons to throw punches, you throw them with the innovative TPC sytem (Total Punch Control). By moving the right analog stick in the motion of a boxers fist, you have full control over each and every punch you throw. This may sound difficult, or it may sound like a gimmick, but after a couple of fights, you'll have full control over it, and be setting up combos like the pros. You'll actually feel like you're in the game, fighting some of the greatest who've ever lived. I can't say this isn't a gimmick, but hey, gimmicks are what the industry runs on. Plus the TPC system removes button mashing! How cool is that?!

GRAPHICS: 10/10- For sure, some of the best graphics I've seen on the PS2. The boxers are very realistic and move very smoothly and realistically. Your corner men look just as detailed, as well as the audience, although it's still far off from awe-inspiring. The environments are nice, as you'll be fighting anywhere from the Apollo Gym, the Grand Ballroom, and legendary Ceasers Palace in Vegas. This is where you gasp and say to yourself, "Now I've hit the big leagues."

Your created boxers are very nicely detailed, and move fluidly, and aren't bland or blocky like some other sports titles Create-a-Charcter modes. The pros also look great, and you'll know who each one of them is with one glance. The boxers even take real-time damage to their face! Is anything more gratfying than seeing your opponent slumped in his corner with his eye cut, and his lip bulging? I think not! The only problem here? Horrible, ugly, big eyed women. They look a little creepy strutting around the ring, and they really need some work. Let's get the Dead or Alive women in here shall we?

SOUND: 9/10- The sound effects are great, especially the crowd cheers, boos, and ringmen voice overs who give you advice between rounds. Big Tigger plays as ring announcer, and does a great job during the opening entrances. He also does in-game commentary during bouts, but his comments are few and far between, and would benefit from a bit more variety. The smacking of gloves against the face are nicely done, and you can (mostly) tell when a punch has landed. The biggest problem in the sound department is the music. The same music that plays while you search through the menus are the same ones you'll have to use for your boxers ring entrance. None of these songs really caught my ears, and they don't have much variety either. This game could've used some more Rocky-esque tunes, instead of the rap that you are forced to come out to.

CONTROL: 9/10- The TPC system fits like a glove and only takes a few matches to really get the fell of it. Blocking and bobbing and weaving are tight and fluid which is needed with the barrage of punches that'll be thrown in this title. I especially liked the bobbing and weaving aspect, as you hold down the L1 button, you use the left analog stick to shift your boxers torso 360 degrees, so you can lean back away from punches, just like the way Muhammad Ali used to do it. The only problem here is moving around the ring, which feels strange for some reason, and the constant spinning of the camera to keep your boxers in the center of the screen when you're facing speedy opponents can almost make you dizzy and light-headed.

GAMEPLAY: 9/10- With the TPC system, you'll never play boxing games the same way again. Pulling of a straight, hook, uppercut combo in a split-second is very satsfying, and something you couldn't do as smootly or quickly in any other title. Defense wasn't ignored, and is very easially controlled. A stamina meter below your boxers health shows the power of your punches, and drains of time when you throw too many failed punches, which makes the Rope-a-Dope strategy possible. As mentioned, moving about the ring is a little akward, but the wierdest thing about the gameplay is when you get knocked down. To get up, you'll see three referees standing above you. This indicates your opponent has knocked you silly. You must use the left and right analog sticks to line up the refs on top of each other, and get up (Tip: Line up the EA Sports patch on his shirt). I didn't like this idea that much, and something else should've been done with this.

As you go through Career mode, you book matches, train, and buy items with the money you earned from your fights. The training aspect is fun, but quickly gets repetitive, and isn't as numerous or fun as Ready 2 Rumble Boxings training, but raised difficulty on the training sections as you move along keeps it from getting "too" boring. One complaint is the fact that although you get to unlock things like new trunks, boots, gloves, punches, music, etc... it doesn't feel like as big of a payoff as it should be. Things like unlockable characters and hidden arenas would've helped, but there is nothing like that here, which is a shame. The only character to unlock is Big Tigger, which isn't that great.

All in all, I couldn't reccomend Fight Night more. It's a great fighter, and a contender for the greatest boxing game of all time. Although it's not perfect, it's damn close, and nothing puts you closer to the action.

Graphics: 10/10
Sound: 9/10
Control: 9/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Replay Value: High

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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