Fight Night: Round 3

I hate to say it, but I’m actually a bit disappointed in this latest installment in the Fight Night series.
Where to begin? First the graphics. While not much improved over Round 2, the PS2 version does have a few small details added, like reactions of the boxer’s faces when delivering a big punch or getting hit hard. The arenas are all also nicely done, and with the addition of PRODUCT PLACEMENT! Yup, the fights now have sponsors that will be mentioned by the commentator, and you'll even get to see mascots like that freaky Burger King who you can unlock and have him accompany you to the ring for your fights!
Audio-wise, the boxers now grunt and groan throughout the fights, and little things like hearing the boxers breath heavily as they tire out is also a nice touch. There’s also the usual fare of hip-hop tunes in the game to use as backdrop music or entrance tunes. But I really feel they should have mixed it up here and added a few rock or metal tracks for diversity. Not everyone wants to come out juking and jiving like they from the ‘hood, right? Or it wouldn’t make much sense for a 7-foot monster white boy to come out all happy and hop-skippy to an R&B tune.
The gameplay is where the game takes a real hit. While they may have added different fight styles and punch specialties to add a strategic element to approaching each fight, it seems to make everything in your offense much weaker. For example, if you pick a speedy style with an emphasis on quick jabs, your haymakers and roundhouse punches become oh so slower. How slow? How about in the time it takes for you to wind up and throw your punch, your opponent can land 3-shots on you, effectively knocking you out of your stance? Or even if you parry a punch and your opponent is left open, it takes so long for your punch to reach that he can recover in time, parry your shot, and lay you out! This element of the gameplay really makes it frustrating, even when your stats are higher than your opponent, they can easily chop you down to size.
Another thing is that unlike the first game where you can select your coach and cutman, you can only select your coach here. So all the swell and cut healing speeds seem the same: SLOW. Even worse than the first game. While you only have 2 sides of the face to heal up between rounds instead of 4 from the last game, it just seems ridiculously slow that you spend your entire 30-second healing period just trying to fix one part of his face. And you may as well forget about healing cuts since they seem impossible to fix with short time given. The healing screen isn’t even very user friendly as you waste valuable time just switching from one side to the other, and a lot more time is lost just switching from healing swells to cuts!
And yet another thing about the gameplay is the new first-person view you get at certain times when it seems your about to be knocked down. These seem to appear at random, but if you do get it, you may as well just let the opponent knock you down as it’s just too frustrating to adjust to and see where you opponent is coming from.
From the audio side, other than the bad choice in music, they did manage to spruce up the commentary a bit by having the announcer give some stats and background on the fighters. But it’s really dumb when your beating down your opponent and the commentary guy says it’s him beating you down!
The replays also suck big time compared to Round 2. They only show 2 angles for the knockdowns, and sometimes it abruptly cuts to the 10 count in the middle of the punch, and the replay of highlights from the round are really lame as you’ll have the announcer saying how action packed the match was but you’ll only see the two guys dancing around and barely throwing anything! And even that will get cut abruptly from time to time.
Overall, if you have Fight Night Round 2, your better off sticking with that one compared to this one. If you’re a sucker for punishment, than give this a shot.

Game Ratings:
Graphics – 8
Sound – 6
Gameplay – 6
Lifespan – 6
Overall – 5


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