I disagree with this review. Here it is 2013 and I just bought this game. It's incredibly well done. Easily an 8.5
If you can manage to get a handle on the controls, you may find a likeable boxing game in Round 3 for the PSP.
- Great-looking venues and fighter models
- In-depth career mode
- Interesting rival challenges bring some variety to the standard matches.
- Cumbersome controls take a lot of getting used to
- Major lag present in online matches
- Computer controlled boxers are predictable and unintelligent.
EA Sports' boxing franchise makes its handheld debut with Fight Night Round 3 on the PSP. Rather than attempting to cram a full port of the PlayStation 2 version of the game onto the smaller format, EA Chicago has built an entirely different game, specific to the PSP. The incorporation of some of the better elements of the console versions of Round 2 and Round 3, along with the addition of some all-new features, makes the PSP version a competent boxing game that doesn't make too many sacrifices for the sake of portability. Unfortunately, the sacrifices that are made will be sorely obvious to fans of the series, and the resulting experience is somewhat disappointing.
The most glaring absence in Round 3 for the PSP is the dual-analog Total Punch Control configuration that the Fight Night series is known for. Instead, the PSP version of the game relies on the analog stick for moving your boxer around the ring, and the face buttons for throwing punches. It's a difficult setup to get used to because there are a lot more punches and moves than there are buttons on the PSP, and for Fight Night veterans it will definitely feel like a step backwards.
There are four control configurations to choose from, but they offer only slight variations on the same basic concept. You move with the analog stick, block with the R button, and lean with the L button. Each direction on the D pad also has a function. You can press up to clinch, left to taunt, right to throw an illegal blow, and down to throw a signature punch. The tricky part is throwing the four main punches in the game. As in the console versions of the game, you have a jab, hook, uppercut, and haymaker. The problem is that each of those punches can be thrown to either side, for a total of eight different punches, not including variations between head and body shots. That means that the four face buttons on the PSP have a lot of work to do. Many of the more powerful punches, like uppercuts and haymakers, require you to press two or three buttons, which just isn't intuitive enough to be effective.
While throwing punches one after the other can and often will win you a fight, you occasionally have to defend yourself as well. You can defend four areas of your body, upper and lower and left and right. The basic block is assigned to the R button, but if you want to parry punches or change the position of your guard, you have to hold R and use a combination of the face buttons on the PSP. The complex control scheme makes it difficult to respond quickly to incoming punches, and your defense suffers as a result. It's nice to have such a variety of punches and defensive moves at your disposal, but in practice it's much easier to just learn one or two punches and forget everything else. If you try to get fancy you'll just end up stumbling over the controls.
Limiting yourself to one or two punches isn't much of a handicap for most of the single-player game, though. The artificial intelligence-controlled fighters tend to throw the same two or three punches, in the same sequence, throughout an entire fight. Once you get the pattern down, you can simply parry each punch and throw a right hook again and again. In a career fight we were able to knock out our opponent early in the fourth round. The punch totals for the fight showed a 70 percent hit rate with 362 punches thrown--and 354 of those punches were right hooks. That wasn't even an irregular fight. You can pound an opponent with the same punch round after round, and he'll just keep throwing the same combos and forgetting to block. Later in the game the opponents do get tough, but the increased difficulty is a result of more-powerful punches and increased damage resistance, rather than improved fighting strategy.
However, if you manage to work through the initial awkwardness of the controls, you'll find that Round 3 on the PSP has a lot to offer in terms of play modes. There's the obligatory play-now mode, in which you pair up boxers like Oscar De La Hoya, Muhammad Ali, Bernard Hopkins, Jake LaMotta, and Joe Frazier and then jump right into a fight in one of several venues ranging from the Staples Center to the county fairgrounds.
If you're looking to add a bit of context to the action in the ring, you can create a boxer and take him through a career. You can create a boxer from scratch, or re-create a boxing legend. You start out career mode in the amateur ranks, where you fight small-time opponents in small-time venues for real small-time money. After a few fights you can take a shot at the amateur title and then turn professional. Unlike the console versions of Round 3, the PSP version features a structured ranking system. You start out as the 50th-ranked boxer in your class and you slowly inch closer and closer to the coveted number one spot as you win fights. In addition to ranked fights, you can also fight exhibition matches to earn extra cash and train your boxer. The basic flow of career mode breaks down like this: You sign a contract, hire a trainer and cutman, train your boxer, design your ring entrance, and finally, fight.