Polished and near perfect

User Rating: 9 | Fight Night Round 3 X360
There may be some minor quibbles about the AI, but this is as spectacular a sports title as you'll find on any console.

It's one thing to have incredible visuals in a game, but Fight Night Round 3 for the XBox 360 is probably one of the first releases in recent memory that gets so much depth from them. The sweat and blood, the bruises and the bumps--these are not mere showpieces. They're necessities in a game like this because EA Chicago wants to create the most accurate depiction of the sweet science that it can. In other words, it's pretty, but with a purpose. The audio programming is similarly motivated: commentary and ring effects are not viewed as extras, but as essentials.

Behind this more-is-more philosophy is a terrific game with lots of options. Fight Night Round 3 is a deep and engaging title with good control schemes and rich modes. It's a game that both the tactician and the button masher can embrace, because it gives both plenty of room for enjoyment.

Are some of the fights simply too easy? Perhaps. But that's not a terrible indictment for the first boxing game on the XBox 360. Since EA Sports' previous ventures on the console have been generally awful, any slights about the AI of the boxers is simply a petty gripe.

This is a great sign of things to come for frustrated 360 owners. Maybe it'll put up a fight against the PS3 after all.