The main draw of EA Sports’ Fight Night: Round 2
comes with its Career mode. Whether you create a new up-and-coming boxer or decide to Rebuild a Legend, Fight Night: Round 2
delivers the one-two knockout game that you want and deserve. As you work your way through the ranks, you start as an amateur boxer and enhance your body through a series of mini-game-type training methods. Each focuses on certain areas of the fighter’s attributes, and you start to see your fighter’s physique develop before your eyes. At any time you want, you can make the step into the professional realm of one of the oldest sports on earth. As a professional, you come face to face with many “unknowns,” as well as familiar faces to fans of the sport. Unfortunately, it takes waaaaaay
too long to get to the top within a Career. By the time you have your chance at the big time, you’d be considered too old for the sport in real life. It would have been nice to see a faster title shot, based on your career record and who you’ve fought to get there; more like how it is in real life. Just leave out Don King.
In the ring, you have such precise controls using the analog sticks that you may wonder how you have ever lived without them. EA’s “Total Boxer Control” allows you to not only punch with a combination of analog sticks and trigger buttons, but also to dodge and weave, as well as block precise sections of the body from costly strikes. It may be a bit daunting to get used to the controls at first, but once you learn how to block, counter, and throw in a few special punches (like the Haymaker), you should be bloodying faces in no time.
Just don’t think Round 2 is all about your fighting skills. Along with protecting yourself in the middle of the squared-circle, you also need to protect yourself while in the corner. Between rounds, Fight Night: Round 2 allows you to control the cutman. As you get your face bashed in (hopefully not too bad), you have to reduce the swelling and soak up the blood from your cuts. If you don’t, the referee eventually stops the fight. While it’s not hard to perform these actions (analog sticks again), there is a time limit, so finding a balance between the two methods is essential.
Then there is multiplayer. Any good fighting game has a great single-player campaign (as does Round 2), but it also must hold up to the test of time when kicking your buddy’s can, or even better, a complete stranger’s in multiplayer. Whether you’re in your living room playing a friend or busting some blows online, Fight Night: Round 2 is a quick winner. Thanks to Xbox Live, you can now play anytime with anyone who wants a piece of the action. The online interface makes it easy to set up fights, and thanks to broadband access, the amount of lag in-game is minimal. Unfortunately, you cannot take your career fighters online to duke it out against other career fighters. You have to create an entirely new boxer for Xbox Live.