Fight Night Round 2 steps into retail ring

Sequel to EA's 2004 boxing game sizes up the Xbox, GameCube, and PS2; roster features real boxers, including cover boy Bernard Hopkins.

Electronic Arts today announced that Fight Night Round 2 has fought its way into stores. The boxing game is the sequel to last year's Fight Night 2004 and is now punching on the Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube. The game is being released under the EA Sports brand.

Fight Night Round 2 features several boxers from the past and present, including legends such as Mohammed Ali and Joe Frazier and current pugilists like "Sugar" Shane Mosely and Arturo Gatti. There are three modes of play: an all-new online mode for the PS2 and Xbox, hard hits mode, and the obligatory career mode.

New features improve on last year's game, particularly in the ring. Rather than being limited to three main strikes with little variation among them, boxers can now control the speed and power of each punch with a flick of the analog joysticks. Gamers will also be able to clinch other fighters for a last chance at surviving the round.

Outside the ring, fighters can now change weight classes, keep punching into middle age, and be customized more dramatically than in 2004. Between rounds there is also a cutman mode, giving cornermen the chance to reduce swelling and keep the fight going. On the other side of things, gamers can attack an opponent's trouble area in hopes that a swollen eye or bad cut will have the fight called.

While Xbox and PS2 owners will be able to take their fighter online, GameCube owners will get a treat of their own. Nintendo's console will feature Super Punch-Out!!, which appeared on the Super Nintendo and was one of the defining games in the boxing genre. The game's protagonist, Little Mac, will also be included as an unlockable character.

Fight Night Round 2 is rated T for Teen and retails for $49.99. For more information, rumble over to GameSpot's corner, which has previous coverage and will feature a full review later today.

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