The bell sounds, signaling round 2.
Although I have not played a boxing game since Mike Tyson's Punch Out! I still can appreciate the dynamics of this one. Fight Night Round 2 is actually very fun to play. The fact that I get to fight someone in the ring was the first thing that brought me to it. I have been playing many different genres than this lately and thought, I would fulfill the need to smack someone in the side of the head by playing it. They delivered. I have never been so immersed in a sports game before. The game contains all aspects of what I was looking for.
The Create a boxer mode was the second item on my list of needs for a game. I have been waiting for game that is on a different level than say Tiger Woods PGA Tour. There may not be as many options for your boxer's appearance, but the graphics and background information make up for it. I was suprised when I realized that my boxer that I created, who looked just like me - with my name, could actually store stats and information. He learns and adapts to his environment. For example, if I have a fight coming up where the opponent is larger than I am, I would train to become stronger and faster. Along with hiring my own cutman, I am able to add hire my own entourage and even customize my entrances to the ring. Even though the music is quite awful. I actually turned down the music for my entrances, because the tracks are just so annoying. There is no option to keep the music in the fight and shut it off in the menus. It became to repetative and loud. Where is Eye Of The Tiger? Not everyone is an EA Hip Hop fan. At least have more songs to pick from. Or even more genres. The game also allows me to customize the gloves, shoes, tattoos, and even mouth gaurds for my boxer. Each of these items effecting my performance in the next fight.
Although I am satisfied with the gameplay itself, I am quite dissapointed by the way my career is set up. I can have a record and challenge the champ for the title, but it seemed a little unorganized to me. I did not have a set schedule. There is a weight class that I fight in, and I do have ranks. Yet, I thought it would be more of a - you fight this guy now, then this guy, then you go for the title - It was too random for me. I needed more of an organized path to follow, I guess. Or even maybe just some suggestion on who I should and should not fight. I have not yet been able to win a trophy or even claim a title, yet. With my perfect 26-0-0 25 by K.O. record, I thought I should be rewarded somehow. The only rewards I have had so far are the unlockables that I won when I beat the EA Special Fights. Those do not count towards the ranks though. Just unlock trunks and shoes.
The fights are something else though. They do give me an option to really give my boxer a signature fighting style. I can be big, slow and powerful or small, quick and rapid. I am also able to pick custom punches, including illegal body and head shots. The blows are powerful and do effect the opponents differently. Each fight is different and will never be the same. Even when I fight the same boxer over and over again. The opponents learn and their stats grow along with yours. Making the game more challenging and exciting. It doesn't get boring. I can fight 3 or 4 fights in a half an hour, or 1 fight for an hour. It depends on how well I do in the fight. If I knock him out in the first or win by a judges decision in the 15th round, there is always a different plan when entering the ring.
One other draw back though, is the fact that I can only fight in one gender mode. I have had the pleasure of talking to some of the female gamers I know, and they will not play the game simply because they cannot sutomize their own bad-ass female boxer. I know I would not mind mixing it up like that either. If we could have that as an option it would open up the game not only to a different level, but to a whole new audience.
All the drawbacks aside, Fight Night Round 2 was more than I expected and I am satisfied with it. I could have however waited for Round 3 to be released, but for an X-Box owner, who does not plan on purchasing a 360 soon, Round 2 is a definate buy.
"Ya bum! Git in there, fight, and Be a Son-Of-A-Gun!"