Fight Night Round 3 Review

Fight Night might be into Round 3 now, but this is the series’ debut on the PlayStation 3. The prior versions of the game have done an excellent job of capturing the strategy aspect of boxing, rewarding smart fighters while making it very difficult for the button mashers to succeed. With a history like that it would seem a foregone conclusion that Fight Night Round 3 would be an excellent game on a next-gen console. However EA has been bringing their other sports franchises to next-gen machines with vastly improved graphics but stripped-down gameplay. Does Fight Night suffer the same fate? Let’s climb into the ring and find out.

This is what Ali's opponents saw.
Fight Night Round 3 passes the first test in that it makes it to the PS3 with all of its gameplay modes intact. In fact, there is an entirely new mode added called Get in the Ring. This mode takes the gameplay from a third-person side view to a first-person mode in which you’ll see the fight from your boxer’s perspective through his own eyes. To further enhance the first-person experience, as you begin to take some blows part of the screen my grow darker or appear red to simulate the cuts and swelling on your fighter’s face. Playing in Get in the Ring mode really adds to the game experience and you’ll probably find that it will soon become your preferred mode of play. Luckily the game’s other play modes such as the career mode will allow you to play from this new perspective as well. The game’s controls remain the same in the Get in the Ring mode, but it will take a little bit of time to adjust to seeing things from this new angle – more so for blocking and dodging than punching.

Speaking of controls, Fight Night Round 3 will let you choose from a number of control schemes, but the coolest by far is the total punch control system. This control scheme uses the right stick to control your punches with the motion used on the stick mimicking that of the punch. For example, a left jab is performed by a quick move of the stick left and up while to throw a right uppercut you bring the stick down and then rotate it to the right as you push it back up. It works great and is a far more intuitive and engaging system than button pressing.

The whole Fight Night experience is further enhanced by some spectacular graphics. Fight Night Round 3 may just be the best looking sports game yet available for the PS3. It’s not just that the fighters look great and feature very realistic movements, it’s that you can see the impact of every punch. Hard punches will send sweat (and sometimes blood) spraying through the air, you’ll see flesh ripple away from the point of impact, and the fighters’ eyes will convey the pain of the punch. Particularly painful hits will result in a slow motion close-up that will really let you see what happens when leather meets flesh.