With Total Punch Control, most maneuvers, including punching, leaning and blocking, are performed with the left or right analog sticks, modified by the left or right triggers. For example, with the default controller configuration, moving the right analog stick up and to the left will cause the fighter to throw a straight punch with his left hand, while holding down the right trigger while performing the same movement and then holding R1 will cause the fighter to raise his guard to the left side of his head, ready to attempt a parry.
Fight Night 2004 was met with positive reception upon release. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 84.96% and 85 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version, and 84.72% and 85 out of 100 for the Xbox version.
The Village Voice gave the PS2 version a score of eight out of ten and stated that "Taking on generic career-mode opponents can't match fighting friends."BBC Sport gave the game an 80% and said, "The road to the top is a long one and things become repetitive long before you get the chance to glove up against "The Greatest". And training - which is essential to boost your power, stamina and chin - becomes a real chore."Maxim also gave it eight out of ten and said, "Instead of the usual push-button pugilism, throw punches using the analog stick—the direction and speed of the stick determine the swing; the trigger controls handle bobbing, weaving, and blocking."Playboy gave it a score of 75% and said that the game "adds a bit of bob and weave through a control system that allows you to swivel your fighter at the hips."