I'm sorry that we haven't been able to bring you a full review of Fight Night Round 4 this week, but because of some kind of mix-up at EA we didn't receive final copies of the game until late on Tuesday--several days after we first spotted other reviewers playing online. I've sunk maybe a dozen or so hours into the game since then, both offline and online, but as of right now I don't feel that I'm far enough into the lengthy career mode to judge it. With a fight record of 26(14)-1-0 I'm currently ranked tenth in my weight class, but as my opponents are getting tougher (and my attributes aren't improving nearly as quickly as I'd like), fights are frequently taking the full ten 3-minute rounds to win.
I'll be spending a lot more time with Fight Night Round 4 this weekend, and hope to have a review ready before end-of-day Monday. In the meantime, here are some notes on my experience thus far:
The first thing I do in any game that will let me is attempt to put myself into the game. My first attempt with the Xbox Live Vision Camera wasn't too impressive, but using a proper digital camera and using front and side photos of my face uploaded to EA's Website, I've ended up with a fighter that I think looks quite a lot like me--at least from some angles. There's no option to add tattoos though. /sadface.
Bolton Wanderers fan Justin Calvert ready for his first (amateur) career fight.
Going into the review, I was completely unaware that it would be possible to share boxers online. I haven't uploaded mine for other people to beat up yet, but I've expanded the game's roster with a whole bunch of player-made fighters. Favorites include Zab Judah, Evander Holyfield, Joe Louis, Gary Coleman, Chuck Norris, and Bill Cosby.
Norris versus Cosby
Hitting the Canvas
One of my favorite features of Fight Night Round 4 right now, other than the fighting itself, is the new mechanic for getting back to your feet after being knocked down. The camera shifts to a first-person perspective, you use the left stick to straighten up and avoid swaying left and right too much, and the right stick to actually stand. I especially like the way that the ref checks you out before letting you continue.
Are you OK to continue?
You don't get to spend a whole lot of time training in career mode, so fighter progression can be slow. The training minigames are fun, but their difficulty is wildly inconsistent.
This is one of the easier training minigames. Some of them are really difficult early on.
I haven't entered the Online World Championship yet, but I've taken part in plenty of online bouts with friends that, to date, have been lag-free. That was before the game officially went on sale, though, so I need to see if the game is still performing as well now that there are a lot more people online.
That's about all I'm going to say for now. I'll be playing as JusticeCovert on both PS3 and X360 this weekend, so if any of you feel like stepping into the squared circle with me feel free to shoot me an invite. I can't promise that I'll jump straight into a game with you though--getting through the career mode has to take priority.