Ea Sports Fight Night 2004
Fight Night is the first boxing game Id label a true simulation. The days of button-mashing and sore thumbs are gone thanks to the intuitive analog punch controls success comes from being patient with your blows (jamming on the stick with the subtlety of Mike Tyson at a beauty pageant will only land you on the apron). The career mode also aims for realism; challenging training minigames perfect your skills, and tough-as-nails A.I. pugilists keep you hungry. All the bloody noses pay off once you start earning rewards like new gear and customizing your boxers entrance with music, pyrotechnics, and bikini-clad hotties (hey, nobody wants too much realism). My only gripes lie with the irritating announcer and that you cant practice the training exercises, which severely handicaps how fast you build up your fighters attributes. But otherwise, EAs first bout outta retirement registers quite a knockout."]
Fight Night does what any good sports sim should: It teaches you how to excel at the sport it sims while still remaining fun, somehow. Success in this game hinges entirely on mastering the fundamentals of real boxing working the ring, deflecting punches, tiring out your opponent. This may sound boring, but the simple controls make it far easier, and far more addictive, than youd think. Also, the action only gets fiercer in the online ring (PS2 only). All my bouts against Bryan (or, according to his created boxers nickname, The Ladies Man) were lag-free. Now lets get it on!
Outside of Punch Out(NES), Ive never been a big boxing-game fan. But Fight Night has convinced me of just how great the genre can be. Granted, it infuriated me at first, due to its lack of a free training/open-gym mode. A couple controller-smashing matches later, though, I got the hang of the controls and really appreciated the level of depth the varied punches, defensive techniques, and fighting styles provide. While the intros, commentary, and modes are limited, the phenomenal gameplay does the sweet science justice.