Fight Night Champion, a thrilling new boxing experience from Electronic Arts, is now available from the app store. Featuring outstanding graphics, crisp sound, intuitive controls, and heart-pounding action, Fight Night Champion is easily the best boxing game on the iOS platform.
Fight Night Champion Pros:
- Crisp graphics with detailed player models and smooth animations
- Great sound effects and clear audio commentary
- Intuitive gesture-based control scheme
- Local multiplayer via wifi and Bluetooth
- Realistic matches and plenty of customization options
Fight Night Champion Cons:
- Pre-match training is underwhelming
- No global leaderboards or achievements
- No online multiplayer
Fight Night Champion offers 3 modes of play: Fight Now, Legacy, and Multiplayer. Fight Now allows you to pick any two available boxers and duke it out in the ring. Multiplayer gives you the ability to take on your friends over local wi-fi or Bluetooth for bragging rights. The meatiest portion of the game is Legacy mode, which lets you either create your own boxer and follow him through his career or select an available boxer and rebuild his career. Starting with weaker, almost creampuff, opponents and working toward the championship, you’ll control assigning points to various attributes of each boxer, creating a propensity toward speed or power, with recovery, heart, and other factors included for consideration. Prior to each fight, you can train your fighter, which consists of simply pushing a button that adds a couple of stat points to your total. This felt a little out of place and meaningless to us.
Fights look terrific and control quite well. Using the accelerometer to move around the ring and gestures to control punching and blocking, the controls felt very natural and in many ways resembled the movements of the actions you are replicating. The screen is divided into fourths, with the upper half used for head shots and the lower half used for body shots. Left side actions will use your left arm to target your opponents right side, and vice versa. Tapping in any corner will initiate a jab, while sliding your finger up or down throws a head or body uppercut. Hooks are thrown by sliding left or right. Haymakers are thrown in the same manner as uppercuts and hooks, only you hold your finger for a moment before sliding. Drawing a checkmark will cause your fighter to unleash his signature move. Clinching onto your opponent requires sliding both fingers from the upper corners to the bottom center in a V-shape. The reverse pushes a fighter away. Blocking is accomplished by holding both thumbs in the upper or lower half, depending on whether you want to protect the head or body. Moving your thumbs in the same direction while blocking allows you to lean. The controls were pretty responsive and very easy to get used to, requiring little thought to throw the type of punches we desired.
Visually, Fight Night Champion is one of the nicer looking games on the device and easily the best looking boxing title. Player models are highly detailed and look remarkably like the real individuals. The various venues are flashy and well-detailed, as well. All animations were extremely smooth and enjoyable to watch from any of the camera angles. While we are used to the over-the-shoulder shot when fighting, we actually preferred the default ringside cam. Landed punches show as ringed blue indicators to give visual feedback. The ring announcers describe the fight in good detail, offering insight as to the condition of the fighters and their outlooks. The sound effects are awesome and the audio is very crisp and clear. Each boxer has two colored bars, one for his health and one for his stamina. Stamina refills quickly while you aren’t throwing or taking punches, and it diminishes quickly as you unleash the fury, resulting in weaker and weaker punches as you refuse to break and regroup. In between rounds, you are treated to slow-mo replays of the highlight moments. You also have the opportunity to replenish some health or stamina, or heal some damage. Points earned from accomplishments in the previous round, such as connecting on certain percentages of punches or not hitting the canvas, can be spent on these replenishments. When a boxer is about to go down, the HUD disappears, the crowd noise diminishes, and it’s up to the aggressor to land that key punch to finish the job. It’s visually exciting and serves to heighten the tension in a great way. The conclusion of each bout reveals the judges’ scorecard so that you can see exactly how the fight went, as well as punch counts and percentages that give great feedback for the next fight. There’s a lot to enjoy about the way EA has fleshed out the game, and we were simply blown away by the experience.
Replay value is great, with 20 boxers to play with, multiple modes to enjoy, and a bunch of options to tweak gameplay, such as 3 difficulty settings, number of rounds, round length, camera angles, and a bunch of rules specific to the sport. There are no leaderboards or achievements, but that’s par for the course for EA. It would be great to see some added, though, and taking the multiplayer mode online would be a great enhancement, too. For $4.99, it’s a 4.5-Dimple slugfest that’s surprisingly affordable and wholly entertaining.
Fight Night Champion Review,