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By: Peter Carmody

The newest addition to the Fight Night series has punched its way into the limelight in order to defend its title, only this time around the reigning champion has changed the game plan a little.

For starters, this is the first EA sports title with a mature rating attached to it, and no, it is not because they’ve added fatalities. They did however include a story mode aptly named Champion (hence the title) and whole new way to throw punches.

The story mode also happens to begin in a Prison, so the question on everyone’s mind is obviously… is Paris Hilton a playable character? Find out in our full review.

The Champion mode story kicks off with a certain Andre Bishop in the role of the young man who does not have much going for him besides the fact that he can stand his ground in a boxing ring. Once a rising amateur boxing star, Bishop’s career is seemingly cut short after a clash with some corrupt police officers and a shady boxing promoter consequently earn him some undeserving jail time. Bishop uses his imprisonment to buff up, get some tattoos and grow an impressive beard, all the while staying fighting fit by participating in some bare knuckle prison boxing against a gang of white supremacists. The story goes on to follow Bishop as the underdog who overcomes the hardships of prison life and tenaciously pursues his goal of having a shot at the heavyweight title belt.

While this might sound strikingly similar to just about every boxing movie you have ever watched, there is a certain underlying drama in the “rags to riches” tale that truly captivates you from start to finish and Bishop’s story makes sure that you are a part of that manly-man soap opera by incorporating adversity along the way. For instance, in a couple of truly Rocky-like bouts you are required to turn a fight around after breaking your right hand or sustaining a severe cut above your eye. If you stick to the game plan successfully, the inspirational music will cue, the commentators will back you and the crowd will erupt in an explosion of motivational cheers, all of which pull you into the moment and immerse you in Andre Bishop’s dream of becoming the heavyweight champion of the world.

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The champion mode is incredibly well put together and flows quite seamlessly from cutscenes to fights (and of course the occasional montage) at a pace that almost demands your attention for the 4-5 hour duration of Bishop’s journey to the top. Unfortunately while EA may have delivered a metaphorical knockout with an addition of this manner, other more traditional modes like legacy, which fans of the previous Fight Night installments might remember as career mode, begin to feel slightly slower in comparison.

Overall, much of legacy mode is very similar to that of previous fight night games with the customary options of creating your own character, kitting him out with your preferred brand names and moving into the amateur circuit, in the quest for a professional title belt and some sponsorship deals. There are however a couple of new additions which include a few fresh takes on training mini-games, which to be honest I still did not enjoy playing at all, and an (EA) MMA like option of spending your hard earned prize money on training in various locations which specialize in the different aspects of your fighters aptitude.

The next most notable change to Fight Night Champion in comparison to the preceding titles, is the integration of the Full Spectrum Punch Control (FSPC) system, which eliminates the need for complex analogue gestures and streamlines the fighting experience to the point where very simple analogue movements can be combined with relative ease to dish out some stunning and precise combinations, or help you find the small gaps in your opponents defenses. This in turn allows the player to concentrate on the overall experience of boxing which involves a lot more than just standing toe-to-toe and inflicting mass amounts of trauma on a rival’s brain. As a result, blocking has been reduced to one trigger and your character will automatically adjust his guard for high and low blocks.

Last Updated: March 14, 2011

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Fight Night Champion
Summary
8.4

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