Fight Night Champion

Fight Night Champion Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3

Breaking the boxing mold.

Review Verdict Read Review
7Out of 10
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Fight Night Champion screenshot
Fight Night Champion screenshot

In a bid to satisfy everyone at once, EA now accommodates both the stick and face buttons on the same controller mapping, shifting Round 4's button commands to the d-pad. While the buttons will always win for precision, it's still easy to queue up devastating flurries of blows when fighting with the stick, though the age-old problem of imprecision often rears its head when you find yourself swinging three or four times accidentally.

Whereas Rounds 3 and 4 had more demanding punches mapped to increasingly complicated analogue movements, Champion gives each type of swing a particular direction - diagonally upwards to throw a jab, straight across the middle for a hook, and diagonally downwards to bust out the heavy uppercuts.

Buttons also give you access to left and right jabs, hooks and uppercuts, with the latter executed by hitting jab and hook together. Sticks, however, get a few extra moves; push it in a half-way direction between a hook and an uppercut and you'll get the ridiculously titled hookercut, known as a shovel hook in actual boxing. Meanwhile, go between a jab and a hook and you'll get a straight flare.

While making combination punching far more accessible, Full Spectrum controls rob the more advanced blows of some of their complexity and satisfaction, and in doing so ensure the legions of online big-hitters will have an even easier time spamming their constant uppercuts. Other changes include a dialling back on Round 4's heavy emphasis on counter punching (although these blows remain devastating), and automatic switching between blocks for head and body shots. The fighting feels faster as a result, and you're left to focus squarely on the punching, as opposed to the rock-paper-scissors mentality of previous games.

Elsewhere there's the returning Legacy mode, where you either create a boxer from scratch or pick from a stable of boxing legends and then juggle your personal calendar until you've gone toe-to-toe with enough rivals to be declared the Greatest of All Time. Progression here is handled by a new XP system, with you snapping up experience from the myriad of training games and then doling it out into your boxer's various attributes. Every now and then you'll unlock a perk which confers additional bonuses, such as a greater chance of stunning your opponent when you lamp them in the chops.

Most returning players will simply choose to focus their attention to local versus and online modes, with the netcode performance appearing identical to Round 4. XP also carries over to online play, which should suitably compel everyone to put down Call of Duty for half an hour and instead focus on grinding some more levels in this.

Mirroring the communal tendencies of boxers in training, online gangs can now also form their own boxing gyms and compete with each other over the course of a season - the top candidates squaring off in an elimination match to decide the overall champion. Rival gyms can also go toe-to-toe and compete for status, leaderboard honour, and juicy wads of XP. Note that while these features are clearly in place, they were unavailable for testing at time of review.

Round 4's silky smooth 60fps has been chopped in half here, yet in spite of this the game plays faster and the expert application of post-processing effects takes off some of the former game's vacuum-packed look. The law of diminishing returns is starting to kick in, however. Champion would have been a more significant update if it had some more robust changes to its core engine, as matches still feel like they take a bit too long to load, commentary tracks repeat far too often, and punch animations still occasionally look slightly wonky.

There's just not quite enough meat on Fight Night Champion's bones to recommend it to owners of previous games, however, and Champion mode itself is little more than a brief diversion you can bash through in an afternoon. The core mechanics still do a good job of imitating the sweet science, but EA could have done with a longer rest before getting back in the ring.

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User Comments

clangod's Avatar


Sugar Diabetes lol :)

Sorry about earlier Dev. I'm not sure whether you had signed in again after the football but I ended up falling asleep on the couch. The missus woke me up with a look I can only describe as 'disapproving'.

Some other time eh...

It's been a mixed bag with online for me to. We seemed to do okay on the demo, hopefully the lag doesn't render any bout we have unplayable.

Until then...
Posted 04:39 on 13 March 2011
El-Dev's Avatar


Finished the Champion mode today, pretty enjoyable even with the obvious flaws in a couple of fights. It's a great tutorial for the whole game as well. Teaches you the way to combat each type of fighter and how to use the punches instead of swinging wildly. Really good addition to the previous game.

Had a few online bouts this evening as well and there was no lag issues at all which plagued my first online fight.

Overall I think Martin's 7 is pretty harsh.

If I was a boxer I'd call myself Sugar Diabetes.
Posted 21:53 on 12 March 2011
clangod's Avatar


My first impressions with Champion are none but positive. It's great how the Champion mode throws you straight in the ring and allows you to play through if you like. Well presented. Fun to play. And the bare knuckle fights are great. I'd like to find out you can bare knuckle brawl online.

I got well into Champion mode
Show Spoiler Second fight after getting out of prison
only to be invited to an online game by my cousin. Couldn't join his game and upon opting to continue Champion mode I found that my game hadn't saved. AAAAGHHH!!! I created a profile and all that but alas, now I have had to start again. At least I get to take on the Arayan Brotherhood again. There was something sweetly satisfying about playing an African American belting the lights out of the Arayans. Got through 'em all first go and by K.O as well. Loving the prison fights...

Finally managed to get online with my cousin and he mopped the floor with me 3 out of 3 fights. Then, joining his gym I took on some random from god only knows where and got promptly haymakered in the 3rd round. Need to build the old stats up quickly if I'm to contest the average fight.

In the fight against the random, lag was ever present. Seems they haven't quite managed it yet however all fights against my cousin were lag free.

looking forward to getting on with Champion mode and building my boxer stats to be better prepared for online. I hope they can sort out the lag issues and online menus/ friends/ lobby support in an upcoming patch.
Posted 08:46 on 07 March 2011
dudester's Avatar


Its been ages since I liked the controls in a fight night game the demo was the same for this :(
Posted 11:31 on 05 March 2011
El-Dev's Avatar


I always dread it when a game places you in prison, it generally means some rubbish fights will follow. How come I can knock the Aryan down five times and he gets back up and is fine, yet my character is busted and gets knocked down once and is pretty much done for?

It's really good apart from that though!
Posted 18:15 on 04 March 2011
VSG413's Avatar


This game has immproved controls a story an online gym mode that I can't wait for and you give it a 7.
Posted 01:31 on 01 March 2011
clangod's Avatar

clangod@ squidman

I thought you made a living from the words you write, not the number you associate with them...

Anyway, my comment was in response to the post before mine. Seems he was too heavily dependant on the score compared to Round 4's. I don't want to re-open the whole review score - does it matter debate but for the record I personally pay very little attention to the number at the end of your (or anyone else's) reviews. I choose to extract the necessary information from the guts of it and guage my thoughts based on your comments.

Good read by the way. Whether I agree or not.
Posted 13:30 on 24 February 2011
squidman's Avatar


If numbers at the end of reviews meant nothing I'd have an exceedingly difficult time paying my rent and stuffing food in my greedy face.
Posted 10:55 on 24 February 2011
clangod's Avatar


A number at the end of a review means nothing. Fight Night is about boxing. Plain and simple. If players want to get hung up on some half arsed story line let them be. It's still just boxing.

Besides, not like there is any competition...

Fight Night Champion is a winner in my books.
Posted 10:42 on 24 February 2011
ohreally's Avatar


Fight Night 4 received a 9/10. Fight Night Champion adds new features, controls, story mode and receives a 7/10 because it doesn't have enough meat on its bones?

Makes sense.
Posted 04:34 on 24 February 2011
El-Dev's Avatar


So it has 2 control set ups and a story mode...great.

Have this pre-ordered as the previous game was great and I was pretty impressed by the demo.
Posted 18:23 on 23 February 2011
enviro-bear's Avatar


Oh Martin, lowest score on metacritic. Someone likes to be a bit controversial all of a sudden ;)
Posted 16:35 on 23 February 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Fight Night Champion
Out of 10
Fight Night Champion
  • Champion mode is entertaining fluff.
  • Fight Night still looks incredible.
  • Ignores series' existing problems.
  • Champion mode is very short.
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 04/03/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Sports
No. Players: 1-2
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 14,734 26
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