#10 of 2009: Fight Night Round 4

Posted December 16th, 2009 at 9:18 am


The ranking of games in the best of 2009 list is based primarily on the personal amount of enjoyment had with a particular title. Some other factors include whether advertised features were fully delivered on, post-release support, community interaction and communication, overall gameplay experience, feature set, and online play performance. Again this is a personal take on the games. The analysis is weighted largely towards those which I had the most fun with while considering them as a whole and compared relatively to the others.

I had serious difficulty deciding on what game would ultimately take the #10 slot in my Top 10 Sports Games of 2009. Really I would have been more comfortable with a top nine but a determination had to be made on which one after those most deserved recognition.

Eventually I settled on Fight Night Round 4. The biggest reason for doing so has been the post-release support which rivals any other game released this year in what has been provided. There have been multiple patches and several downloadable content offerings with more to come in both areas.

The ironic thing about all this is that FNR4 started out by stubbornly refusing to include an option for button punching. Despite outcries from the community the producers ignored the request and the EA Canada community manager went as far as to tell people that it wasn’t going to change and to learn to like it or move on. With the disappointing sales and lack of enthusiasm over the game it appears some actually heeded that advice. EA finally responded to the wave of support for button controls and included them in a patch which arrived three months after release.

Another disruption to community relations came with a demo that was exclusive to those who had pre-ordered at Gamestop. The demo actually ended up arriving at three different times based on whether or not pre-ordered and then whether it was for the 360 and PS3. It created confusion and stunted momentum that a demo can usually provide.

Sadly the post-release support while having good intentions has been plagued by issues.  The first patch was rejected in certification by Sony but was released by Microsoft and ended up causing numerous problems which had to be fixed with a follow-up patch. Most recently the “Champions Pack 2” DLC was causing freezing and had to be yanked and won’t return until late January.

Visually and on a technical standpoint FNR4 was exceptional. The graphics and the physics represented a significant advancement the achievements made there were certainly impressive. It was just the detrimental aspects that seemed to overshadow things for me and take away from overall enjoyment. The right stick punching was inconsistent, the camera at times was disorienting, and the online play was imbalanced. To their credit EA did attempt to improve many of the gripes with the game through the patches.

While I may not have liked FNR4 a great deal and have mixed feelings on the way EA has treated the game and the community it is worth noting that a lot of people have enjoyed it. I suspect falling in at #10 will be perceived by many as lower than expected. FNR4 just got overshadowed by the negative buzz and lukewarm response and was never fully able to recover.

  • #10: Fight Night Round 4