Fight Night Champion First Impressions

We get a first look at EA's latest boxing game, which adds new game modes and aims for a more realistic experience.

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When Fight Night Round 4 launched last year, we praised it for the improvements it made over previous entries in the series, but criticized the career mode minigames and its tolerance of players who spam punches rather than fight realistically. Thankfully, EA Sports is on the case with Fight Night Champion, with an interesting new story-driven game mode and a host of improvements that should add to the realism of the game. We met with the development team at a recent EA event to find out more.

Fight Night Champion promises greater realism than ever before.

One of the most immediately striking features of Fight Night Champion is how good it looks. That's no small feat considering that Fight Night Round 3 astonished at launch with its good looks, with Round 4 going even further by upping the frame rate to 60 per second. In Champion, the boxers themselves look better than ever, cloth deformation on shorts is nigh-on photorealistic, and the background is rich with details that were missing last time around.

The main new addition is the Champion mode referenced in the game's title. EA Sports isn't saying much about it at this stage, other than the fact that it will be a story-driven mode in which you have to guide a young boxer from amateur level to belt-winning form. It's clear that we can expect a gritty, story-driven campaign that deviates from the usual career mode, although that will still be present. We'll just have to wait to see how far EA Sports pushes it. One thing's for sure, though: This year's game won't boast the traditional cover athlete like last year's Ali-versus-Tyson matchup, although both boxers will be featured in the game.

For traditionalists, Round Four's Legacy mode will still make it into the game, albeit with some key changes. EA claims some players tried out the training games last time only to realize that if they were bad at it, their boxers would actually be worse off than if they'd just skipped the session completely. This time, Fight Night will be more rewarding to players, as well as "not calling them a bum," according to the development team--again responding to player feedback.

As for gameplay, EA Sports is making some big changes to improve the realism. The big new feature is that stamina is now applied to each section of the boxer's body--right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg, and core--meaning that you have to vary punches to avoid fatigue. This should help avoid the situation in the last game in which online competitors were able to hammer the same punches over and over for decent results. We were shown a demo of this in action, with one boxer making the same jab over and over. It started off fast, but as fatigue set in, he would soon slow down.

The corner game is also automated this time around, meaning that you don't have to worry about assigning points to recuperate your fighter between rounds. EA Sports has also toned down the slow-motion effect when a big punch is landed--again adding to the gritty realism of the game. One unexpected result of this striving for realism comes from the crowd chants. We noticed one sports fan screaming, "Knock that motherf***er out!" during our demo.

The game is currently just past alpha stage, which is a good indication for an earlier, rather than later, 2011 release (EA is currently citing a vague 2011 date). We're sure to see more of the game in the run-up to release, so be sure to keep an eye on GameSpot for more info as we get it.

Discussion

87 comments
SeptuagintXXX
SeptuagintXXX

what was the point of that ridiculous calendar scheduling mode in Round 4? Just let me schedule the next fight. Don't make me search for an open date,and then make me sit there and watch as it cycles through a meaningless calendar. Then the game would stop when you got to Jan 1st. Do really care which imaginary boxers won which imaginary awards? They have to fix a lot of things from round 4 before i give this game a try.

newhighscore
newhighscore

id like a much larger roster of fighters (past & present) am also hoping for move/kinect support.

dgoodfella
dgoodfella

I think they should make it playstation move compatible That would be cool

Trident85
Trident85

It really is the greatest boxing series out there, but I am a little skeptic about how "realistic" they can make it over the previous game. I'm still gonna hope it comes out well, and probebly purchase it, but a Pacquiao vs. Mayweather cover would be PREFECT for this game too :P

Xxhed_shotxX
Xxhed_shotxX

i don't think they'll ever stop making the next one haha but ill still get them

aerial6790
aerial6790

Best boxing series out there.And it's lookin better by the minute,can't wait :D

Pauly28
Pauly28

In round 4 the training for 10 minutes for a 1 minute fight was brutal. And the loading times...uuugh. But I kept coming back for the fights!

tmaclabi
tmaclabi

Nice to see another great boxing game is coming...

face-exploder
face-exploder

Fight Night games have never really impressed me. I am a huge long-time boxing fanatic. I hope this will finally be the one to hook me.

xtoda7
xtoda7

XxLee90xX I agree. Get rid of training altogether. Its an unnecessary part of the game which gets old fast. I think they should still have sparring and the trainings which teach you combos etc but these things should be optional

GrizzlyBear1976
GrizzlyBear1976

If you've ever played a fight night you'd know that MOVE is not possible.

M3ran
M3ran

i think this one is gonna be awsome plus i think ps3 move is possible

Keitha313
Keitha313

@tapout03 Calm down master chief, the war is over.

XxLee90xX
XxLee90xX

Everybody please stop debating steroids with adidas32x, because sorry to say but hes right about them. However since there is no evidence (That I know of) to suggest that Pacquiao was or wasn't on steroids, i'm going to remain open on the subject. But getting back to the game, I think it has potential to be the best one yet if they alter a few things first: 1. Make training less of a chore or get rid of it! 2. Make menus and especially career mode less clunky 3. Speed up load times 4. Improve and expand on custom fighter creation (Y) Sorry about the essay people

adidas32x
adidas32x

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

tapout03
tapout03

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

adidas32x
adidas32x

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

MadBulate
MadBulate

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

adidas32x
adidas32x

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Diddy211
Diddy211

Will you be able to use to PS Move on the game

tapout03
tapout03

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

akoymakoy
akoymakoy

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

marcusceltic
marcusceltic

Cant wait to play this, hope they get Mayweather this time too, hope they make it realistic, i hate getting beat up online by some button basher, fight night is an amazing experience when you get to fight someone who appreciates the sweet science as much as i do and boxes right.

anthonycg
anthonycg

Shinier sweat huh? Ok actually fight night does improve much more than other EA sports games. Remember the graphics boost in round 3?

Noformation
Noformation

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Hercules321
Hercules321

Just give us back the ability to pit Manny Pacquiao against Joe Frasier and I will be happy. And I think its about time for a super realistic story mode. What I mean by that is I think it would be cool if EA took the time to build a somewhat medium size GTA type city and we actually controlled our fighter and had to get him to things on time. Like practice, or a photo shoot, or a fight. I'm not saying he should have to do missions or some crap, but just give us complete control of our fighter, both in and outside of the ring. It'd be cool to drive my fighter to a night club, get drunk, accidently start a bar brawl, then get a bunch of publicity or something from it. IDK, maybe thats just me.

adidas32x
adidas32x

@bond007_gamer & irishdude199210 this is boxing, not street fighter, idiots @Pacquiao fans he went from weighing 106, to 148, and dominated each division. if you think that's not beyond suspicious than you know nothing about boxing. Pacquiao=Filipino Barry Bonds of boxing

bond007_gamer
bond007_gamer

@irishdude199210 rightly said mate.. TOO much realism = less fun. I have got 3 things to say to EA: 1. Just dont make the game boring 2. no forced training exercises 3. a nice story mode (like the TV series Contender) and one more thing do wat u do coz u r good at it!!

Calum691
Calum691

One of my favourite game series, can't wait to try this.

StarkJJ
StarkJJ

I want button punching!!!!

irishdude199210
irishdude199210

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

irishdude199210
irishdude199210

a decent selction of boxers people actually know wouldnt hurt (am sick of hammering tommy morrison (?) ) plus i liked beating up people from lightweight with a heavyweight, put that back in. after all, too much realism=little fun :)

shesmycain
shesmycain

There should be a minigame where you play as Mayweather and bullsh!t your way out of jail ala Phoenix Wright. Or a stealth based game where you hide from boxers that are too dangerous for you to fight.

yobabs
yobabs

i'm hoping for a great list of fighters! its fun to download boxers like rocky and apollo!!. :)) i guess i can only simulate a pacquiao mayweather fight instead of just hoping for the real thing for the meanwhile! :)))

truenextgen
truenextgen

I like the new fatigue thing too. Fatigue is the key to what makes it real (That and realistic speeds, last one got a tad to fast again.) But It needs to not regenerate so much between rounds. But its cool to fatigue each arm separate, and legs. So if you just run your legs start to go. Or if you just jab that arm is gone after awhile. If!! you dont pace it some.

truenextgen
truenextgen

Many hopefully will be so much more dominating then the other fighters in this game. Not to say some other should not be vary good, but some more spread in the stats (A good fighter is good a great one destroys him) would be nice.

acerpg007
acerpg007

@Adam48239 A gayweather supporter? Guess you like to support him making his wife a punching bag..

Agent_Yevon
Agent_Yevon

I didn't read this article. I don't want to read this article. I just want to know if they will allow you to use the face buttons to punch as opposed to FORCING you to use the friggin' Analog sticks. That's a dealbreaker.

Adam48239
Adam48239

Pac-Man can't win without his "Power Pellets"

leadlefthand
leadlefthand

EA should put a retired boxer on the cover because of its curse. When RJJ was on the cover of Fight Night 2004, he was the p4p best fighter at that time fresh after conquering John Ruiz. Then all of a sudden, he suffered 2 straight KO losses. When Bernard Hopkins was on the cover (as no. 1 p4p), he lost two straight against Jermain Taylor. When De La Hoya was on the cover, he was brutalized by Pacquiao.

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

@jazilla It sounds good but it really doesn't work that well,look at Wii Sports Boxing or The Fight on PS3 with Move;they're fun for awhile but don't offer much in the way of precision.

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

This is great and all but I find EA Sports MMA offers more depth then what Fight Night has so far.A shame it hasn't had the recognition this gets.

JSpEazy
JSpEazy

Fight Night is the BEST boxing series ever, I can not wait until this is released

irvier
irvier

EA's please make Fight Night Champion for PC user...I LOVE THIS GAME SO MUCH

Robinho83
Robinho83

I really enjoyed Fight Night Round 4 and got some serious time in on it. Although as mentioned above, the 2 things that made this game slightly annoying were the crappy training exercises.......1 of which was impossible using the analogue stick, and the spamming of punches by inline gamers. If EA can successfully fix these 2 items, and continue to have a great choice of fighters i'd happily give the next game an 8 or 9 out of 10. Looking forward to seeing how this progresses!! :-)

jazilla
jazilla

if games like this were being made to use on the kinect i would buy one. i honestly don't know why they don't.

poetrain
poetrain

Mayweather's probably going to demand for a blood drug test from Pacquiao before he agrees to appear in this game...