Fight Night Champion Hits and Misses

by
Posted March 1st, 2011 at 2:15 pm

The highly anticipated Fight Night Champion arrives in stores today. While the marketing push has centered on the “Champion” story mode numerous improvements were made to gameplay, feature additions to online play, and the ‘M’ rating (the first ever from EA Sports) makes its presence felt throughout the game. Continue on to check out where the game succeeded and where it misstepped in this “Hits and Misses” review.¬†

Hits

  • Story Mode

Make sure to check out the expanded review of the “Champion” story mode. Though it will remain questionable whether the allocation of resources to this mode was the right direction to go it does deliver in terms of adding valuable content to the total package. That may have been at the expense of other areas of the game however. Regardless the mode is a fresh addition that will appeal to a wider audience than the typical career mode. The story isn’t compelling until it starts nearing its conclusion but the fights are unique and it makes for a fun experience to play through.

  • Controls

The changes to controls for Fight Night Champion represent a big improvement. Simply flicking the stick for punches allows for quicker reaction time and the ability to better put together combos. It also is much less stressful during fights on both the controller and the hands. The auto-blocking is also a welcome change, and EA seems to have done a good job of balancing that with the ability to punch through blocks and have fatigue affect blocking as well.  Overall the game is simply more accessible and enjoyable due to the changes.

  • Graphics

Graphics have always been a strength of the Fight Night series. The game looks fantastic and does an impressive job of representing damage. The increased display of blood doesn’t seem to be over the top which was an early concern. The one downside is a downgrade in framerate to 30fps which can be noticeable at times.

  • Roster

With each boxer needing to be signed individually there will inevitably be names left out of the roster. EA did a solid job of bringing together an extensive roster and will likely fill it out even more down the line through some DLC. Check out the full roster and overall ratings. There is also the “Fighter Share” feature for created boxers and a large number of guys to use from the story mode. The individual ratings and tendencies make for style differentiation in the ring depending on who the opponent is and the strengths/weaknesses of the fighter being used.

Misses

  • Legacy Mode

The traditional career mode will be familiar. It is largely the same as FNR4. Some elements have been added from EA Sports MMA but the mode remains largely tedious. Clearly the majority of the development focus was on the story mode and career took a backseat.

  • Online Play

Performance appears to be solid online and fatigue does play a role in the fights. Online as a whole though is uninspired. The new “Online Gyms” are unlikely to get much use and those that take advantage of it will have to be small in numbers or extremely dedicated to be successful. “Live Broadcast” first introduced in EA Sports MMA could have worked here for abbreviated fights. The biggest issue right now is the ability to use story mode boxers in ranked fights. The “big bad” Isaac Frost is going to be a dominant force online. Update: Actually the biggest issue is that microtransactions for XP points have ruined the “Online World Championship” mode.

  • Presentation

Commentary has gotten stale and lines are repeated too often. Entrances are too brief and not all that varied. The ref being added in-ring is nice to see but he gets in the way now and then. The new camera works well most of the time but certain angles can make it difficult to judge distance.

  • Sliders

Put simply the sliders don’t work. “Phobia” in the official Fight Night forum has detailed how the sliders have little to no effect. This would seem to be a patchable issue but for the hardcore crowd that depends on sliders to tailor the experience it is inexcusable that they don’t work out of the box. Addressing it through a patch would mean a wait of at the very least three weeks and likely longer if EA were to try and squeeze in other fixes for issues that are discovered over the coming days. This will also factor into the “Online Gyms” where one of the features is the ability to set the sliders is essentially negated.

Fight Night Champion is a game that Fight Night fans are likely to enjoy. The attempt to expand the appeal of the game using a story mode works to an extent but ultimately wouldn’t be enough to make it worthy of a purchase on its own. FNC is a technically superb but ultimately flawed game. EA Sports took some risks and they deserve credit for that. Now it is just a matter of seeing how consumers respond.

  • Great review, Pasta, but it might seem a little disingenuous to write while the background of your site is a FNC add! haha

    • SussterK

      how would that be when this review is more fair then all the reviews that overrate the game out there with 9s or higher lol. i like the fair look at the game and that someone else is willing to talk about the broken sliders which it sounds like ea says they arent going to bother fixing.

    • SussterK

      how would that be when this review is more fair then all the reviews that overrate the game out there with 9s or higher lol. i like the fair look at the game and that someone else is willing to talk about the broken sliders which it sounds like ea says they arent going to bother fixing.

    • I think the fact that that Pasta has ads for the game on his site but still pointed out its flaws speaks to the fairness of the review and the integrity of the reviewer to not just be “bought off” to provide nothing but glowing reviews.

    • I was joking – I admire Pasta’s honesty. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with having that advertising.

  • Rev_t_up

    Nice review of the game. This is a rental for me since story mode is so short and career mode is the same old thing.

  • Rev_t_up

    Nice review of the game. This is a rental for me since story mode is so short and career mode is the same old thing.

  • so should i just get FNR 4 again?

    • I think it’d be hard to go back and play FNR4 personally. At worst what you’re getting with FNC is a refined FNR4 with the addition of the story mode. Now whether that’s enough for someone to buy a new game is a question I can’t answer for anyone else.

    • I think it’d be hard to go back and play FNR4 personally. At worst what you’re getting with FNC is a refined FNR4 with the addition of the story mode. Now whether that’s enough for someone to buy a new game is a question I can’t answer for anyone else.

  • Kace0

    im passing on the game cause of the slider issue. appreciate you shining more light on that here so that ea will have to do something about it.

  • Fozzie

    awesome review i really appreciate the format especially

  • NorrieVV

    good look on the game thnx. i agree with most of your points based on what ive played today.

  • Modman

    have sliders ever worked in an EA sports game? Honestly?

  • sheredia

    good review, pasta……although i may be inclined to wait a while for my purchase. the reason being for a price decrease down the road and by the time i purchase it, there should be quite a few of my favorite fighters created on fighter share for me to download. i still enjoy fnr4. i was hoping for new commentators (hbo’s lampley and steward) and hbo presentation as well. i’m curious to see if i’ll see referee stoppages just as we see in real-life bouts, not just being counted out with a 10 count. that would be cool…..

    • atown

      The Fights get stopped like real life… Sweet!!!

      • sheredia

        awesome……

  • Great review pasta. I’ll probably rent it just to play the story mode. Might buy it if it seems I’ll play with my friends regularly.

  • weareallfools

    I like the look & feel of this game!!! I haven’t tried Legacy mode yet “I’ll do that today” but this has to be the best looking sports game well beside MLB the show.. My sliders work too good if u ask me.. If u turn the power up to 10 u get too many flash KO’s but that’s all I see wrong now!!

    • Josh

      The only slider that doesn’t work is the Stamina slider which so happens to be the most important slider!

  • Josh

    I love this game. The only thing I hate is the framerate. 30fps is unexceptable in 2011! Come on EA!

  • GAY

    Only thing that bit my ass so far is when I was fighting online, I got a cut under my eye. Even Teddy Atlus was like ” Its under the eye so he should be alright” then two punches later, the ref stopped the fight. It wasnteven that bad. Why talk about all this gritty realistic damage if the ref stops it after the first cut. GAY

  • Faljfn

    its all an easy fix ea needs to stop with all this there capable of making great games but they choose to cut corners i for 1 will not be buying any more games from ea till they start living up to there slogan ( if its in the game its in the game ) NOT! they can fix it and they know it. but the game is good they just have to fix all the little issues like refs interaction sliders cause they dont work and please fix the win lose record on created players there isn’t any. if they can just fix these little issues the game will be great not just good.

    • Anonymous

      this is what I did after the shit they pulled with NCAA Basketball 10 and from reading reviews to all their games since then sounds like I have not missed much. I do miss my Online Dynasty though in NCAA football.

  • Tippy

    HEY PASTA IS N E 1 ELSE EXPERIENCING THE GAME FREEZING DURING FIGHTS PLZ RESPOND BACK ITS KILLING ME

    • Neo1080

      i am fight night fan but i swear man this game is very unpolished punches that go unthrown game freezes the sound of a punch that never comes

  • Phobia

    Pasta, this is Phobia. Just wanted to say thanks for the recognition on the slider issues!

  • Phobia

    Pasta, this is Phobia. Just wanted to say thanks for the recognition on the slider issues!

  • Eagleyedesigns

    Wow. What a disappointment this game is. Story Mode is OK, it had my interest for about five or six fights then it had gotten predictable and boring. Everything else is your typical EA bullshit. Same game as FN4 with better graphics and a gimmick control scheme. The hit detection is OK, but the controls can be not as precise as you try to throw certain punches only to release another. Not worth the $63 bucks. Could’ve had Story Mode added as a seperate Online purchase for FN4. No need for a another game. What a waste. BORING.

  • As soon as I read that Legacy Mode was essentially the same boring, shallow points grind that all boxing games have suffered from since 1985, I decided not to purchase.
    I’ve owned every boxing game known to man (Ring King still rules!) but I will not pay full price for this title.
    Maybe if they fix the stamina and slider issues and the price is cut in half, I’ll bit.
    But considering I play almost exclusively offline, FNC has no worth to me at this point.