Whenever a game comes out to compete in a market that has a leading frontrunner it is a tough feet to try to overthrow the current leader especially when it has gone uncontested for so long. Thus is the case of Don King Presents Prizefighter from 2K Sports which hopes to overthrow the reigning champion of the world EA’s Fight Night series. In order to do that, Prizefighter is going to have to become like Rocky in the Rocky films and come from nowhere to take the title away. Given that the developer of Prizefighter worked on the past Rocky titles (Venom Games), does Prizefighter have that italian stallion chance? Read our full review to find out!
What made EA’s Fight Night series so spectacular was the way in which the game flowed seamlessly from the opening bell until the last man fell. The graphics were also some of the best still to do this day on the 360, and had some great deformation effects from knockdown blows. Prizefighter comes to the table being the first boxing game from Venom Games not based on the Rocky movie franchise, and the first to really set out to compete with the Fight Night franchise. What does Venom bring to the table?
The big selling point that 2K pushed with Prizefighter is the career mode, where you take a heavyweight (yes only a heavyweight) through this story career mode. Now Prizefighter prides itself on being a true heavy weight simulation with the name of Don King on the label. The idea if that you go through the trials and tribulations of a heavy weight athlete and everything that comes with it. The idea on paper sounds fantastic, especially given that the biggest knock against Fight Night was the career mode which was less then stellar.
The career mode starts off strong in Prizefighter, the create a boxer mode is extremely deep and gives about all the options you could think of in an easy well customizable fashion. You jump in the games career mode and things start off well. The training exercises are set up similar to Fight Night, except now your given a certain number of weeks between fights which gives you that many training sessions. The training in the game is much more like a game of DDR or Guitar Hero then boxing but it works nonetheless and I found them to be a bit more enjoyable then the Fight Night modes.
But then comes the big disappointment, and that is the fighting. Right when you get into the ring you find out how far Prizefighter is from even coming close to taking on Fight Night. The fighting in the game is done primarily with the face buttons which tend to be unresponsive. The game itself has zero of the polish that we found in Fight Night, the hit detection is spotty, the controls aren’t tight, and moving around the ring isn’t fluid. The other big complaint I have is that the flow of the game is much to reliant on the stamina bar. You will throw a combo or two and then have to back off while your opponent pounds on you, and then repeat the process. The game is so reliant on this system that you very rarely feel like you can get in a rhythm, and even when you can use this boost of adrenaline. it really doesn’t work as well as its supposed to. The mechanics of the game are far from polished which ends of making what would be a tactical realistic boxing game still more along the lines of a button masher.
The rest of the game takes a similar road, some good ideas, but not all that great of execution. The setup for the online play is great but once again the games mechanics really get in the way of making it an enjoyable experience. Overall this is a game with some good ideas but the gameplay just doesn’t have all the necessarily tools to become the champ.
There is no comparison between Fight Night Round 3 which was released a few years back on the 360 and Prizefighter, Fight Night is the much superior fighter in the visual department. The games visuals are rather dull, there are a lot of options in terms of creating your boxer but when you step into the ring the fighting styles feel the same, and the game itself just doesn’t really have any “wow” moments. With all of that being said the game really falls short into allowing the damage your putting on your opponent to show up, we didn’t need the facial deformity feature from Fight Night, but some better damage recognition would have gone along way.
Fun Factor: 6.0 Even with all of the problems that this game faces, there is still some enjoyment to be had in this experience. For one the game does a good job with the career mode, it can be a little over the top at times but it at least gives a full effort. My biggest issue or gripe with the game was that it seemed like it only wanted to go so far and not necessarily compete with the Fight Night. No matter how you slice it, this is a game that has a number of issues, a few things going in the right direction, but otherwise a rather dull experience.
Boxing fans may still want to check out this game, I know for me I have been craving a new boxing game since Fight Night Round 3 came out, and so this did fill that void. But in terms of filling more then just a void in the market, Prizefighter doesn’t manage to live up to expectations. If there are further iterations of this game, the first thing I would do is rework the fight mechanics, make the game less reliant on your stamina, and allow for much better hit detection. If I hit my opponent with five bombs in a row shouldn’t there be a repercussion for that, instead the game has you catching your breath and the opponent taking his chance to throw a few bombs. Its little things like that really put a big damper on what could have been a great game.
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