When Fight Night Round 3 hit the
Xbox 360 several years ago, it marked a true revolution in the boxing game
genre. Offering some of the most impressive graphics around at the time (they’re
still not too shabby by today’s standards) and some engaging and realistic
boxing mechanics courtesy of dual analog stick controls. Now, EA is prepping up
their follow up, Fight Night Round 4. While the game doesn’t really shake up the
mechanics of its predecessor too much, there are some key additions here and
there to the formula to keep things interesting.
Playing through a two-player match
in the game, there were some changes made to the interface, in that the game
actually has one this time around. The game adds in a HUD (heads up display)
whereas Round 3 relied on the boxer’s physical appearance and condition to
determine what kind of shape they were in. The game has three different bars at
the bottom of the screen for each boxer; a health bar, a stamina bar, and a
block bar. This is a nice touch for those who would otherwise be frustrated with
the game and its lack of information.
Additionally, the framerate has
received a boost. Whereas its predecessor looked just fine running at a steady
30 frames per second, Fight Night Round 4 runs at a solid 60 frames per second.
Impressively, the game doesn’t take a hit to the graphical representations of
the licensed boxers, keeping all of the realistically rendered fighters in all
of their glory while running silky smooth to boot.
Aside from those changes, the core
mechanics of the game are just as engaging as ever. In a match that pitted Mike
Tyson against Muhammad Ali, the game’s analog stick controls for punching
handled as well as they ever did, and the boxing was smooth and fluid. While the
real deep gameplay features weren’t on display, the sweet science was definitely