Review by jalora

Reviewed: 03/20/06

Not much replay value, but a decent update of the series and a nice parting shot for the Xbox

GRAPHICS: The game looks quite nice, though if it's visuals you're after, you need to get the Xbox 360 version. It's absolutely stunning; this game is merely good looking. There are some minor issues, like the occasional ridiculous animation (a lot of the knockdowns against the ropes look silly) and some really unfortunate crowd models, but they don't detract from the overall quality of the game. I didn't like the addition of the "throwdown at the weigh-in", which was completely silly. When was the last time you saw fighters wearing there gloves to a weigh-in?

SOUND: Hey, I actually like the main song they use for once! It's a catchy enough rap number. Unfortunately, the rest of the music is pretty much crap, and with no custom soundtrack feature I found myself just turning off the music altogether. The sound effects are nice, and I especially liked the different sounds your boxer makes as he gets tired; it added a nice level of urgency to the fights.

GAMEPLAY: The gameplay is very tight and at a much slower pace than Round 2. This is an improvement. No longer can you throw non-stop haymakers and knock everyone out. If you try that in this game you may knock them down once... but you'll be hitting the canvas next. My one gripe with the gameplay is that EA has yet again erred on the side of arcade-style fun rather than realism. These boxers get knocked down way too frequently and spray way too much blood around the ring. It should be much more difficult to damage a fighter and the knockdown limit should be around three. I have often seen CPU fighters getting up five times during a match. Who gets up five times in real life? Nobody. This is something EA could have easily fixed with some sliders and appeased both the arcade guys and more realistic boxing fans like me. Other than that, the gameplay is a definite plus and the biggest improvement over last year's edition.

DIFFICULTY: The game is not at all difficult. It seems like you are fighting the same fighter over and over in the career mode, though the real life boxers can give you some trouble (especially Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali). I think the major focus of any boxing game is on the multiplayer element, so this is not that big of a deal.

REPLAY VALUE: If you're playing multiplayer, you'll be playing often. If not, once through the career mode and a few of the ESPN Classic fights should be enough.

OVERALL SCORE: 8/10. A very solid boxing game and probably the best and last available for the Xbox. If you've got a group of guys around and want yo take out some aggression in multi-player moe or are planning to play on-line, go ahead and buy this game. If you're a single player guy, you might as well just rent it for a week.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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