Fight Night Round 3 PS3 Review

Two combatants trading punches until one falls over whilst the crowd cries out for their blood, yes boxing is a funny old sport that is as strategic as it is barbaric. It’s obvious that leather gloves and collapsing faces make for some great gaming material, and EA have known that for some time with releasing various head pummelling titles such as Knockout Kings, and more latterly the well received Fight Night series.

There’s no getting around this, Fight Night is a fantastic boxing game, although you may very well find yourself floored when you see the third game for the very first time. As the screen is empty from such regularities as stamina and health meters, you are allowed to see the game in the way that EA wanted to show it, therefore you’ll be seeing it in its full glory. The stars of the show are definitely the amazingly lifelike boxers, who muscle up the screen with their large frames and when they take one punch too many, you’ll be treated to a replay that shows off the stunning attention to detail, as shockwaves ripple through their faces and they collapse in a rag doll heap. It certainly gives you a realistic impression of a nasty and painful impact (sans the pain and subsequent headache of course). Sadly this same level of detail doesn’t apply to the environments just yet, although it’s a small complaint, and as you’ll be focussing on the men in the ring, it’s one which doesn’t carry much weight. Still, it would be nice to have a perfect visual package beyond the ample number of real life boxers included in the game.

As for the boxing itself, well when its coupled with the astonishing graphical detail, it’s difficult to imagine a better representation of the sport. For those who don’t know, EA’s Total Punch Control is a genius control scheme, which gives you full control over your choice of punches with a single stick, allowing you to elect for lightning fast jabs, uppercuts, hooks, haymakers, Flash KO’s or Stun Punches. Unsurprisingly Round 3 is a mechanically sound game that has quick jabs cancelling out all the other punches, and like the real life sport, it’s all about footwork, avoidance and patience as you wait for a mistake from your opponent, and then give him a wakeup call on the chin.

Until someone proves us wrong, it would be hard to imagine the SIXAXIS motion capability making a great tool for a boxing game, although for you dirty lot out there moving the controller away from your body does throw an illegal shot, which works well enough without feeling too tacked on.

Besides the limited SIXAXIS support, this PS3 version includes the exclusive Get in the Ring Mode, which basically allows you to play the game from a first person perspective. In spite of its plus points (visual impairing following punches and ear ringing as the match wears on etc) in all honesty this new mode is quite a poor one that makes the width of your punches difficult to judge whilst your boxers arms oddly appear to be unattached from his body. Modes such as the Career mode and ESPN Classic matches are intact, although in regard to the career mode, it still suffers from the same problems we mentioned in our original PS2 review.

The game has all the usual multiplayer modes, including the now standard online mode. The online experience has proven itself to be a very smooth one, which is crucial for a sport that requires quick fire reactions. As for other multiplayer options, the new Get in The Ring mode can be played in offline split screen, although once the limited novelty wears off we can see many gamers returning to the standard full screen bouts.

Fight Night Round 3 is a brilliant boxing simulator that plays just as good as it looks, and with little actual competition to speak of and such well tuned gameplay, this will probably be the best boxing game on the market for quite some time.