Don King Presents: Prizefighter

Kombo’s Review Policy: Our reviews are written for you. Our goal is to write honest, to-the-point reviews that don’t waste your time. This is why we’ve split our reviews into four sections: What the Game’s About, What’s Hot, What’s Not and Final Word, so that you can easily find the information you want from our reviews.

What the Game’s About
Don King Presents: Prizefighter is 2K Sport’s take on the sport of boxing. With a heavy weight contender already in the ring, this up-and-comer looks scrappy and has a few moves of its own. The most unique feature with Prizefighter is the story mode that resembles more of an E! True Hollywood Story than a cobbled together afterthought like most sports games career modes receive. Backed up with a right hook of some high production values, Prizefighter looks to have a standing chance.

What’s Hot
At first glance, Prizefighter is a pretty boy. The production values are extremely high in terms of presentation and graphic prowess. The matches look very realistic, down to the sweat beads running down the boxers back, so you can almost smell the locker room after the match. Rounds progress and your face starts getting rearranged from the punches that get through the blocks. The create-a-boxer features a highly intricate system to make minor adjustments so, in theory, you can make a character that looks eerily just like you.

The best part of the game is the direction it takes in regards to a story. Many sports games don’t give you personal connection to what happens surrounding matches. Prizefighter successfully bridges that gap with a story mode that is more like a sports documentary. The game takes you from your humble beginnings to your rise to mega stardom by watching vignettes from real-life actors playing the roles of your trainers, ex-girlfriends and others. The approach works with a flair that is reminiscent of the King himself.

What it comes down to is the attitude. Prizefighter has all the right attitude to leave a lasting impression on everyone that plays the game. The same showmanship style that made Don King a household name rules over the game.

What’s Not
While the style and feel is present and accounted for, the actual gameplay is something to be desired. The controls are ill mapped and focus on doing a lot with a little bit. That sounds like a nice idea but they need to be streamlined and more contextual events need to occur. To modify punch combos is a harder task than it should. The controls end up being a distraction and you will end up mashing buttons, defeating any purpose for strategy. To add to the problems, blocking is an awkward affair.

Because of the fundamental control issue, the gameplay breaks down. While there are some novel ideas that surround the matches they do not completely compensate for the glaring problem. As a result, Prizefighter works the opposite as most sports titles – the intensity ends when you step in the ring and begins with the cut scenes.

Final Word
There are portions of Prizefighter that are memorable. The execution of the core gameplay is stopped before it can lift off with controls that are needlessly ill suited for the type of game this is. Even so, the story mode is a great concept for the game and the presentation is a spectacle, just like Don King himself.