7.5

Hey, at least it has Tyson.

I would usually spend a good 10 to 20 minutes trying to cleverly think of some witty opening to start a review with, but I'm just going to get down to business this time.

Let me start by saying that Fight Night Round 3 was probably my most played game of 2006 and 2007 as well, I just couldn't get enough. Besides a few glitches, that game was solid.

Round 4, on the other hand, seems to fall victim to EA's need to totally re-invent every edition of their boxing games with each release. I made an exception for Round 3 because it was the first entry as a "nex-gen" title, and it was a fine game, but other than that, I honestly have not played some version of Fight Night (or Knockout Kings, for that matter) that wasn't totally different than another one; many times with altered camera angles and/or controls.

Case in point, FIght Night Round 4.

What I don't like about Round 4 is using one single thumb stick to throw every punch in the game. That was a huge error on EA's part, mainly because it's just too sensitive, and you can easily end up throwing punches to the gut which were meant for the head and vice versa (why you can't just hold down a trigger button for body shots as in Round 3, I don't know). It also does not have the same effect as throwing haymakers with the additional use of the shoulder button. Round 3 gave me a more emulated experience where I could really crank back on the thumb stick and slam the opponent's face after parrying his punch, but I just don't feel that now. By the way, what happened to the first-person view that switched over when you nailed your opponent with a haymaker in Round 3? I really liked that and am disappointed that it's gone.

Most supporters of this new "total-control" concept can attribute the often aggravating controls to user error, but I strongly disagree. It is simply too sensitive to work 100% of the time, which will even punish you in training, in which you have to repeat the same motions as they are displayed on screen, or target a specific area on the punching bag.

Speaking of training, I don't understand why these mini games have to be such a challenge. The instructions do little to help understand exactly what you need to do, and in most cases, figuring it out is a matter of trial and error. I don't feel the need to quit the game and restart it every time I don't get the full allotment of points, but I have and I'm sure many users do.

What I do like is the customizable ring attire and wardrobe, especially the ability to fine-tune the colors and textures (all hot pink for me plz), as well as the options to add smoke and lasers to the entrance (for all the ravers out there), and change the entrance music. I would also argue that Round 4 has one of the better soundtracks in an EA game to date, but since most are god-awful, that isn't saying much. However, I'm a bit confused as to why they got rid of tattoos, and why I'm not escorted to the ring before each fight (sadface for not including the Burger King). See? They giveth, yet they taketh away.

I also do like the new look of the Career mode and use of the calendar. Although, it's not too deep or sophisticated, it does give it more sense of organization than just fighting a bunch of random opponents and training in between fights. That is still what you do, but it looks better. Maybe I just like calendars, I don't know.

I'm still on the fence about the new point system for the damage control in between rounds, whereas, the better you perform in the ring, the more points you are given to replenish your health, stamina, and damage. It's a tactical approach, and it does a decent job, but I kind of liked doing the repairs myself whether I did a fair job fighting that round or not.

Online mode also offers a wider range of options, such different belts to obtain, and created players to upload (and with the game's lacking roster, this comes in handy), but fights are still slug fests consisting of sloppy body shot, head shot, body shot combos. Still, there is a lot more variety offered here than any other boxing title.

Overall, Round 4 is still a fantastic offering for any boxing fan, but with too many changes, it just falls short in my book.

A 7.5 does seem a bit harsh, and let me just clarify that I think it deserves a 7.9, but I just couldn't bring myself to give it a solid 8.

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