Fight Night Round 3: Hands-On With 'Get in the Ring'

We go the distance--OK, three rounds or so--with the upcoming PS3 debut of EA's next-gen boxing game.

Call it Fight Night Round PlayStation 3. Though the next entry in EA's popular boxing series isn't an all-new entry, it does have a couple of PS3-specific features that are interesting. During a recent EA press event in San Francisco, we got a chance to see how these new features play, as well as an idea of where this series is heading ahead of its holiday release.

Fans of the series will remember when Sony first announced the PS3, and EA's then-untitled boxing game was used as a standard-bearer of what the PS3 would be capable of. And while the Xbox 360 version of the game is certainly a visual spectacle in its own right, the PS3 version looks even better. Granted the differences between the two games aren't night and day, but little touches, such as cleaner muscle definition in the boxers and improved lighting and sweat effects make for a slick and subtle upgrade to one of the best-looking games of 2006. Heck, even the card girls have improved in two key areas, and we'll leave it to your imagination to figure out just what we're talking about.

But there's more to Fight Night Round 3 for the PS3 than simply incremental graphics updates. The game also holds the distinction as one of the few launch-window EA Sports games to include a brand-new game mode. Dubbed "get in the ring," this is a split-screen boxing mode, where both fighters are boxing it out from the first-person point of view. Anyone who has played the Xbox 360 version of the game will be familiar with the perspective, which you would often switch to when you landed a particularly brutal shot to your opponent. In get in the ring mode, however, the whole fight is carried out from this perspective, and it's a surprisingly fun way to play the game.

Beyond the novelty of it, the new viewpoint has some interesting wrinkles that add to the experience. Most importantly, punches have a more immediate effect on gameplay. Not only do you get a firsthand view of the punishment you inflict on your opponent, but also any blows that land on you are immediately followed by a hazy discoloring effect on the screen--a visual representation of what it's like to be clocked by a haymaker (or hook, or jab, or uppercut, for that matter). The harder the punch, the more dramatic the discoloration effect on the screen. Knockout punches and haymakers that connect at full force might blur your vision completely, as the screen fills up first with the white light of impact, followed by the purple-black fog of confusion and pain.

To make matters worse, should one eye swell up under a constant barrage, your field of vision on that side of the screen will cloud up or, worse yet, turn completely black. Late in the fight, with the damage piling up, it's often tough to tell exactly where the punches are coming from--something any punch-drunk slugger can probably relate to. Just prior to knocking someone down, on the other hand, you can peek over to your opponent's screen and watch the other boxer's vision cloud up in a haze of white, black, and red; at that moment, you can practically smell the blood in the ring.

The controls in the PS3 version of Round 3 will feel familiar to anyone who has played the game on the PlayStation 2, as they are mapped very similarly. Punches are still thrown by moving the right analog stick in a variety of semicircular movements, while blocking, dodging, and parrying maneuvers are all the same as they were before. The analog L2 and R2 buttons feel different than the digital buttons of the PS2 but won't pose much of a problem, especially if you've played the Xbox 360 version of the game (which uses the left and right triggers extensively).

One PS3 control that's new is the ability to throw "dirty" shots such as head butts, elbows, groin shots, or knees by flicking the Sixaxis controller forward. While fun and easy to pull off, using these cheap tactics in the game didn't warrant any kind of response from the ref, a problem we hope isn't found in the final version of the game. Another interesting difference between the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, knockouts seemed to happen much quicker in the PS3 game. We KO'd opponents (or were KO'd, as the case happened to be) after just two knockdowns; in the 360 version, four- and five-knockdown fights seemed far more commonplace.

While the aforementioned new features will surely add some life to the game, there's not much else that's new about the PS3 version of Round 3. The game will have the same boxer lineup and the same venues to fight in (which probably means the Burger King mascot is still in the game...ugh). On the bright side, the game will also include the same online modes found in the 360 game and the ubiquitous ESPN integration that is standard issue on practically all EA Sports titles these days.

Though many of EA Sports' PS3 launch games aren't that different from their Xbox 360 counterparts, Fight Night Round 3 has taken advantage of its longer development cycle and is raising the bar a bit with a new game mode that turns out to be a lot of fun to play. What it gets right--namely the brutal visuals of giving (and receiving) a good, old-fashioned Everlast beatdown--certainly make it one of the more interesting sports games arriving this holiday season for the PS3. Expect our full review of the game once it hits store shelves.

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26 comments
yugimasa9999
yugimasa9999

I'll celebrate this game with Pacquiao's victory last sunday !!! SOON !!!

trigger501
trigger501

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

trigger501
trigger501

Imagine this guys, Fight night Round 4! A guy is holding two SIXAXIS. he swings to his right, then left, then right again. bang!! down goes his opponent!!! my point is, cause the PS3 can support more than 2 sixaxis controllers, y not use 2 and their motion sensors to have as pretend boxing gloves and knock the $#!+ out of an opponent.. imagine the possibilities of playing online or LAN!!! not to mention the work out u'll get!!! LoL

RavenBlackthorn
RavenBlackthorn

I dunno guys. Some of you are dogging this game but I've played the 360 version A LOT and the screenshots on the PS3 version look a lot better. The Get In The Ring mode sounds interesting as well. I think that it will add to the imersion.

celder
celder

not really impressed by get in the ring mode and player model dont look any better just more sweat, and features....... 360 looks better to me

GFofgaming
GFofgaming

This will be my first boxing game.

_Sam_
_Sam_

I'm liking the look of this game

isoplus
isoplus

Can't imagine a FN series without force feed back controller... It would been sooo great in 'get in the ring' mode!!!

trigun123
trigun123

omegacis first off, developers havent had that much more time to work on PS3 games than xbox considering that the xbox dev kit came out consideribly earlier than that of the PS3. its not a matter of graphics its a matter of FPS...all the xbox games look great ill give them that, but the reviews i see all seem to mention bogging down at some point during intense fights....so i mean, id rather play a game with a solid frame rate than one that cuts out when im in the middle of a large fight...the 7 cores will make a huge difference later on....i already see that many of the previews mention gains in graphics as well as performance and thats not from longer dev time its from better hardware sorry to say

bam29
bam29

OMG! It looks practicly real! And i love that new FP vision, it looks like it will add a whole new level of realism to an already awesome game.

omegacis
omegacis

Well, Irve. We can't necessarily insist that because a newer version of the game with better graphics comes out on a different platform that that should suggest one platform has better graphics than another. It could easily be the case that the developers just utilized the newer hardware better with the extra development time they had. Besides the fact that the game has a new first person-perspective game mode, the rest of the game seems to be a straight port. With that said, the folks at EA had many months to spruce up the graphics--something that they probably could have done on the 360 hardware had they been given a similar deadline. We'll only be able to contrast-compare these two platforms' graphical performance when a developer decides to release software for both units simultaneously. As far as I've heard to this point, developers are saying that there aren't any significant differences in the hardwares' capabilities.

Irve
Irve

so we can see that the PS3 is better than the 360 in the graphics department .. but i certainly can't see much difference. It will be interesting to see if the PS3 version really pulls ahead in the graphics stakes with the round 4 version

Eclipse83Lives
Eclipse83Lives

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Eclipse83Lives
Eclipse83Lives

I've actually been playing this on the regular Xbox "The only one decent piece of hardwear Microsoft ever made." Its horrible on the PS2, compared to the Xbox. And I like Sony. But I also have my Xbox hooked up HD components. And my PS2 is just regular cables. So that don't help much either. And Since the first one. This has been just a great game. I cant wait to play it on the PS3. Plus Iike that new FP feature on the PS3. This guy "I forget his name" that is the head of Fight Night. Understands like real life sports speeds and momentum and stuff like that. Those were the keys that made this a much better game than Knock Out Kings. They need to stick him on Madden. And have him change up just the tempo and ball physics and stuff on that. He and his team, have really brought a great series out. And did so after Knock Out Kings was just dying bad.

Eclipse83Lives
Eclipse83Lives

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Frankazami
Frankazami

Damn, I can only imagine what they'll come up with in a few years. I bet the graphics will look no different from actual footage and the animation will look just as convincing too.

raynimrod
raynimrod

The PS3 has better hardware anyway so its good to see that it's being utilised. I didn't want to get this game for my 360 but things are looking good now. It's looking like it might be a hit for the PS3... "No pun intended"

judge__judy
judge__judy

The graphics for the 360 version stunning this one must look practically real.

AKGermany
AKGermany

With a year more in development it would have been a crime if the graphics wouldn't have looked better than on the old 360 version. That doesn't neccesarily say anything about hardware power.

director13
director13

i how much better the graphics will be on ps3 than the 360

bob_dartagnan
bob_dartagnan

Awesome. Glad to hear EA actually put some work into this one and didn't do a straight up port of the 360.

latinchemist
latinchemist

The magic of Fight Night definitely vanished on the 360 relatively quickly. It got boring, and I love boxing. I noticed it after I beat Evander Holyfield using Barrera. It's just Parry, 3-4 hit combo, Parry, Haymaker, Parry, combo. Hopefully this "Get in the Ring" mode will liven things up a bit for the series.

spidermanc2k
spidermanc2k

This game was great on 360. I definitely reccomend that PS3 sports fans pick this game up.

Furbyballistik
Furbyballistik

im really dyin to play the first person mode...it sounds like it would make me feel like im back in the ring again...like the good ol' days..