Fight Night Champion
|Fight Night Champion|
HB Studios (iOS version)
|Mode(s)||Single player, Multiplayer (offline, online)|
Fight Night Champion is a boxing video game developed by EA Canada and published by Electronic Arts. It is the fifth entry in the Fight Night series and was released on March 1, 2011 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game takes a drastic turn from its predecessors, depicting a "grittier", "darker" setting with animations and player damage that "truly conveys the brutality of the sport of boxing." The violence and strong language in the game earned it a Mature rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board, the first and so far the only EA Sports title to do so.
The game was officially revealed on 7 July 2010 at an EA Sports studio showcase. The game is the first EA Sports game to feature a full Hollywood-inspired story mode, called Champion Mode. The story follows the career of Andre Bishop, a talented boxer, who is forced to overcome great setbacks including a prison sentence and a corrupt fight promoter. Champion Mode is intended to further convey the brutality and hardship of the sport of boxing.
The new direction of the gameplay was highly praised by critics, with the game being released to positive reviews.
Full-Spectrum Punch Control
Fight Night Champion is a third-person fighter that introduces an all-new control scheme to the series: "Full-Spectrum Punch Control". This method allows players to throw onscreen punches by merely flicking their game controller's right control stick (in addition to the previous default option of 'punching' by pressing a button on the controller). This extra option is intended to eliminate the more complicated controller manipulations that were necessary in the "Total Punch Control" system of previous editions of the Fight Night series.
Along with Full-Spectrum Punch Control, several modifications have been made to the secondary controller buttons that are used for uncommon and power punches. The "Haymaker modifier" of past editions has been replaced with a "power modifier". This modifier allows power punches to be thrown by holding a specific button while punching. The blocking and leaning system has also been modified; there are now single buttons dedicated to both blocking and leaning.
There are three major game modes in Fight Night Champion. The first is the 'Fight Now' mode. This allows players to jump straight into the boxer selection menu, with the venue selection following. The second is Legacy Mode, also a long-running series regular. Legacy Mode is essentially the career mode of the game and allows players to take a selected boxer through a full boxing career. The third, and newest to the series, is Champion Mode. Other game modes are also available, such as the training games and online play (through either Xbox LIVE or PSN).
The general gameplay interface has also been modified, mainly to convey the brutality of the sport with more accuracy. When players are stunned, the camera's angle changes slightly and a faint whistling noise can be heard (although cinematic effects can be turned off). Knockout replays are now much more detailed, with a close-up view of the knockout punch available in many different angles.
A refined physics animation system is in place. This includes flexing muscles, dynamic bruising and scarring, as well as rippling body effects. Another notable improvement is the detailed damage effects. Boxer physical damage is now dynamic; as a boxer takes damage their face may begin bruising and swelling. Excessive damage leads to cuts, and referee stoppages are in place.
The game features a flexible boxer creation feature. Boxers can be created and used in-game. Players are able to upload their created boxer to EA Sports World where other players may download and use them. This has been seen as a source for boxers not included in the official roster. Fan favorites such as Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Gennady Golovkin, and Sergio Martinez who are absent in the shipped roster are available as user-created content.
Online World Championship, gyms, and rivalry fights
The game features a full online mode, through either Xbox LIVE for Xbox 360 users or PSN for PlayStation 3 users. Players start out online with minimal stats, similar to Legacy Mode. They can then make progress through the ranks by winning fights.
The player may win an Online World Championship in their weight division. The winner of the Online World Championship must defend his title six times per day to remain champion. If these requirements are not fulfilled, the player will be stripped of his title.
Players can create or join gyms in the game. These gyms are essentially a team of players, or friends. Gyms may contain up to 36 members. Players in each gym may pick rivalry fights with other gyms.
Each new copy of the game contains an online pass, although since June 2013, they are not required for online multiplayer.
Although it is not a completely different experience from the rest of the game, Champion Mode bears many exclusive modifications to make the story more compelling. In most of the fights, players are required to fight in a particular manner or create a certain outcome to be victorious. For example, players may have to be smart against a certain opponent who has a particular strategy. One example of this is an opponent who targets the body; the player is required to stay on the outside and avoid body punches. Another scenario pits the player against slim odds, in which Bishop suffers a hand injury and must avoid using certain punches to avoid permanent damage. The fights are generally meant to be won by knockout, although it is possible to win by decision.
Champion Mode plays out in a movie style. Cinematic cutscenes control the flow of the story, and the actual gameplay takes place during fights. Occasionally, cutscenes can be seen in between rounds.
Andre Bishop is a boxer serving time in a correctional facility. After winning a jailhouse boxing match against another inmate, he is cornered and brutally beaten by several prisoners including his opponent. Bishop wakes up severely injured and damaged. The game then flashes back 4 years to his rise as a professional fighter.
Bishop's pro career begins after defeating 9-time amateur champion Joel Savon, which earns him significant recognition as a contender. After a few successful bouts, he and his trainer Gus Carisi are approached by DL McQueen, famed fight promoter and longtime foe of Carisi who offers to promote Andre under the management of his daughter Meagan. The two refuse, causing a dispute between the crooked promoter and Bishop. McQueen continues to urge Andre to sign a deal with him, only to be denied each time. He soon frames Andre of police assault with the help of two crooked cops. Andre is then sentenced to over 5 years in prison.
After a series of fights inside of jail Andre is framed and ambushed in the showers where he gets a rough beating. Soon after recovering from his injuries, Andre begins to train himself and keep fit while imprisoned. He is angered to discover that his brother Raymond had become a professional heavyweight with McQueen Promotions, the company that framed him. Soon after being released, Raymond organizes him a job as an assistant trainer. Now a heavyweight and a focused fighter, Andre beats two ranked heavyweights during regular sparring sessions. Meagan approaches him soon after and offers to get him a new professional license, having split from her father's business due to disagreements. Gus returns as Andre's trainer and helps him make an unexpected comeback as a heavyweight.
Following several successful heavyweight bouts, Andre's brother Raymond challenges him to a fight to secure a chance against the world heavyweight champion Isaac Frost. During the fight, Andre goes down but does not get up to allow his brother a chance at the title. Raymond then fights Frost, and is defeated in the first round by a devastating KO. Angered, Andre challenges Frost himself and manages to defeat him by KO. He becomes the world heavyweight champion, and McQueen is arrested after his crooked business with the framing of Andre is revealed.
André Bishop – The main protagonist of the game, André begins his professional career as a talented prospect. However, his dreams of following in his father's footsteps and taking a shot at the world title is soon ruined after he is framed by two crooked cops. Then winning the heavyweight belt. He is voiced and modeled after LaMonica Garrett.
D.L. McQueen – The head of McQueen Promotions and a famous fight promoter, McQueen is known for his hot temper and short-lived partnerships with professional fighters. He has been long despised by Gus Carisi, André's trainer, for his notoriety. He is acted/computer captured by Randy McCormick of Maple Ridge, British Columbia  and voiced by Walter Addison.
Gus Carisi – Andre's loyal trainer and manager, Gus had previously trained Andre's father, who was also a talented fighter. He took both Andre and Raymond in after their parents died and raised them. An experienced trainer, Gus understands the true brutality of boxing and the hard work required to overcome it. He is voiced by Ralph P. Martin.
Raymond Bishop – Andre's younger brother, Raymond pursues a professional career in boxing as a heavyweight. Raymond upsets Andre when he decides to leave Gus and sign with McQueen Promotions. Once Andre reemerges as a heavyweight fighter, Raymond becomes jealous and challenges him to a fight. After an upset over his brother, he is knocked out by Isaac Frost. He is voiced by Dawan Owens.
Megan McQueen – The daughter of D.L. McQueen, Megan starts off as a manager for her father's company, but leaves due to "philosophical differences". She then becomes a solo manager, even managing Andre herself. She is the likeness of actress Pauline Egan and voiced by Eliza Dushku.
Isaac Frost – A heavyweight fighter who wins the title 2 years after beginning his professional career. He defends his title numerous times, and brutally knocks out Raymond Bishop, Andre Bishop's younger brother. This spurs Andre to challenge Frost himself. He is an amateur boxing gold medalist, and has a pro boxing record of 33–1, following his defeat to Andre Bishop. His character and physique is inspired by Ivan Drago from the Rocky IV film, but his looks are based on WWE wrestler Randy Orton. He is voiced by Travis Willingham.
Franco – A corrupt police officer who helps D.L. McQueen frame André. Sometime during Bishop's imprisonment, he joins with McQueen Promotions. He is voiced by Jon Southwell.
Ace – Andre's trainer, manager, doctor and best friend during his imprisonment. He is voiced by Damien Leake.
Fight Night Champion features over 50 boxers in total through 8 weight divisions (flyweight doesn't have a boxer in its roster unless a boxer has been created), making it the largest roster in the series. There are additional fighters available as downloadable content not freely available.
There are twenty-one venues included in Fight Night Champion, which range from large arenas to boxing gyms.
Fight Night Champion received very positive reviews from critics. Many praised its large amount of content, realistic graphics, excellent presentation, and Champion Mode. Legacy Mode was mainly criticized,[by whom?] with critics citing its difficult minigames and lack of improvements as its downside.
The new concept and direction of the series has been highly praised. Tom Hoggins of The Daily Telegraph wrote "This is a tough, burly sequel that understands what we want from the blood and sweat of sport it represents", citing its brutality and emotion aspects as a winning factor. Hilary Goldstein of IGN also praised these factors, and praised Champion Mode for carrying the emotional weight of the game, stating that it gave the game "more sense of emotion out of what is usually a soulless experience".
The Full-Spectrum Punch Control has been praised by critics. Mike Phillips of 1Up.com praised the new system for simplifying the gameplay, but noted that it had several flaws which detracted from the realism: "Bobbing and weaving and timing your shots are all crucial to success in the ring, and it feels good once you've got the hang of it. But in the heat of battle, it's altogether too easy to accidentally unleash an extra punch or two and end up paying the price."
CVG praised its graphics, gameplay and Champion Mode, calling it "one of the best looking games there is." X-Play scored it with a perfect 5/5 and praised its simplified gameplay, yet criticized the fight with Isacc Frost and multiplayer suites.
Eurogamer gave it an 8/10 and called it the most technically accomplished game in the series, and that the evolution exceed their expectations "without totally blowing us away".
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