Fight Night Champion • Page 2


As such the Full Spectrum department of the Punch Control means that whatever your move and whatever your placement you're more likely to get the sort of strike that you asked for – blending all of the animation that marks out uppercuts, hooks, jabs and overhand blows to more accurately reflect your intention, or that of your unashamed stick-mash.

On that note: despite my earlier vague attempt to ignite stick vs. buttons war, this is clearly a debate that has quietly smouldered both within and without the EA fighting games HQ.

Round 3 allowed for both control schemes, yet Round 4 initially shipped with complete allegiance to the right analogue stick – a decision that prompted an about-turn patch providing a selectable button-based config for outraged Fight Night buttoneers everywhere.

EA reckons less than 15 per cent of players are analogue-phobic, but this time those angry men of button town will be catered for at launch.

Look at it! You've got blood on your chest, you've got it on my entry gown, you've got it on the valance!

The solo game of Fight Night Champion is also receiving a significant addition, one that seemingly befits the game's shift in nomenclature. Champion mode introduces a storyline that appears to nail every cliché from every competitive combat movie ever created.

Everyone's here: the amateur hero, the brother who's out of his depth, the trainer who never stops believing, the pretty lady, the pretty lady's money-minded boxing promoter father and the tattooed silver-eyed heel that's learned all the bad guy lines from Kickboxer. (But apparently never bothered with the last ten minutes.)

For the traditionalists, however, the returning Legacy mode is a little more conventional EA Sports – albeit now with an added 'Be a Pro' style XP harvest that'll let you apply earned experience to your myriad of different assault and battery skills.

The overall aim is take your burly brute from the bottom of the boxing pile to a position where's he's unified the belts in his weight division. Within all this you can bring quite a personal touch to your boxer's development.

The skill tree opens up many and varied moves and punch types, allowing you to develop on your chosen archetype. You can pile points in to create an all-rounder, or perhaps a boxer with specific highly-evolved moves that'll then frame both your fighting style and tactics.

Not hygienic. Flu experts would have a field-day.

You could cash in your chips and build up towards a supremely powerful Tyson-esque uppercut to the head, for example, or reconstruct a Hatton broken nose to make it a 20 per cent more efficient drug hoover. The world's your violent oyster, and one of these might be fictional.

Despite its control remap Fight Night Champion is certainly an evolution rather than a revolution, with Champion mode a potential side-salad to the real meat. It will no doubt remain, however, the most visceral and compelling fighting experience that can be found outside of a Saturday night in Wetherspoons in a provincial British market town.

It's still a game that, when uppercut connects with wobbly face, will again send an unnerving burst of testosterone through the man-tubes of anything with a Y chromosome.

As a card-carrying, Guardian-reading liberal who's afraid of his own masculinity, I have to admit that Fight Night Champion isn't a game I'm particularly proud to stick on my must-buy list. It's there, though, and it's in no danger of being muscled out.

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Will Porter

Will Porter


Will ‘Velvet Owl’ Porter is a roaming freelance writer who most recently worked with The Creative Assembly on Alien: Isolation. You can find out how cold/hungry he is by following @Batsphinx on Twitter.


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