The sport of boxing has not been the same since the glory days before the new millennium. I mean seriously, how many of you can honestly say you know who the heavyweight champion of the world is? Heck, how can you tell these days, with all of the different "championship belts" that the sport has. To be honest with you, there are very few notable boxers out there, with none even coming close to the legends it had in the past (aka: Ali, Foreman, Tyson, ect). With that being said, does EA Sports Fight Night Round 2 make for a desirable boxing game? Read our full review to find out!
One series that EA Sports has had for a while is their boxing series, which was formerly known as Knockout Kings. I was a huge fan of this series as it showed how a boxing game was done right. Now the series has evolved into Fight Night, the sequel of which is going to attempt to improve an already great game. So does the game make bold enough improvements to make this a worthwhile upgrade or can we just stay happy with Fight Night 2004.
One of the biggest upgrades to this year’s game is actually the gameplay mechanics, which have been tweaked to increase the realism in the game. One thing the series has never allowed you to do is punch and move, something you always hear trainers yell at their fighters throughout fights. Well now in Fight Night Round 2, we are finally given the ability to hit and move, and this actually has some quite vast differences from previous games. What’s funny about this is that it doesn’t take much time at all to get used to, as it feels like it should have always been this way.
Another new addition to the game is the haymaker, which is quite an important punch in Fight Night Round 2. A haymaker is basically a more powerful punch. To pull off one of these haymakers, all you have to do is take back your shot more then you would with a normal punch and therefore will result in a much more powerful shop. The downsides to these haymakers are that they leave you wide open for attack.
Probably the most talked about addition to the Fight Night series is the cut man mini game, which allows you to take control of your fighter’s cuts and swelling. Basically it’s your job to keep your fighter’s cuts and swelling down so the ref doesn’t stop the fight. The mini game is really simple yet effective, and adds even more depth to the game. This makes you feel like you have more control over your fighter, and therefore can be in charge of how your cuts and swelling are taken care of.
Another problem the whole boxing genre has had is the career mode, which I think has still yet to be perfected even in Round 2. I found that the career mode has been improved quite a bit, with having more options like purchasing trainers, cut men and other items/people. What is nice about these purchases is that they do have a significant impact on your fighter, which in turn puts greater emphasis on making money to fund those purchases. Another addition to the career mode is the ability to change weight classes, which is a great idea but it just doesn’t really correlate all that well in the game. There is more depth this year in the career mode, but I still feel like there is a void in the game and that’s mainly that there is no story, no connection, just you fighting a bunch of random guys to try and get the belt. I could just see more of a story mode getting people real excited about fighting.
The one thing I didn’t like about the gameplay in the Gamecube version of the game is the controls, which are not all that impressive. The Cube’s controller just doesn’t seem all that great for this game, as the analog sticks just don’t flow as well as they could on other controllers. With all of this being said Fight Night Round 2 is still a great boxing game and all fans of the series will be extremely impressed with the upgrades to its gameplay.
One thing that was really upgraded in Fight Night Round 2 this year is the visuals, which are absolutely stunning. For example, when you get into the cut-man mini-game, you really get to see all of the character models detail and the cuts and swelling effects that the game includes. Also the game has great replays, which show how the punches land and the opposing players fall to the ground. They look extremely lifelike.
Fight Night Round 2 also has quite a few different arenas in which you will fight in, all of which are very nicely detailed and look absolutely great on the Cube. I was honestly quite surprised that the game looked as good as it did on the Cube and to be honest with you all this is one of the better looking sports games on the Cube to date.
One thing that the Gamecube has over the other version is the inclusion of Super Punch Out, a classic game that I spent so many hours on a long time ago. I spent my first thirty minutes going through Super Punch Out and having a blast remembering that simple games like this are still a whole lot of fun. Nintendo fans will definitely be excited to see this in the game. With that being said Round 2 also offers up plenty of fun itself with the career mode, as well as just fighting as all of the great fighters that the game includes. The game is very fluid and this makes for just an extremely entertaining boxing experience.
Although I will admit Fight Night Round 2 leaves plenty of room improvement, it still is an amazing game on its own merits. The improvements to this year’s game are extremely impressive and I think will make fans very satisfied. For those who have not tried this series yet or are wondering if this version is worth the upgrade, my answer to that is that if I was you I would go out and purchase the game, it is one that will keep you happy for quite sometime.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.