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Fight Night: Round 3

Score: 90%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Chicago
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Sports (Boxing)/ Fighting

Graphics & Sound:

There isn’t much more I can say about Fight Night Round 3’s graphics that hasn’t already been stated ad nauseam. Looks are the main event and are what will grab people’s attention; the solid gameplay is just something extra. From photo-realistic textures to lighting effects to even a fully modeled “The King” that is just as creepy in-game as on TV, Fight Night 3 is one of the first “next-gen” titles that really does look “next-gen”. Fighters are full of life and don’t suffer from a fake, plastic look. As the match rolls on, blood will drip and sweat beads swell and fly off fighter’s bodies. Damage effects even go so far as to show bruises and swollen eyes, helping to sell the feel that you really are beating the tar out of someone.

Arenas are another source of eye candy. Each venue has its own personality, whether you’re slugging it out in a small gym or Vegas. Crowds are full 3D and diverse rather than looking like a group of clones is watching the match.

The removal of the HUD is what brings the entire presentation together and gives it a TV feel. When Madden first hit the PS2, many said that it looked just like a game on TV; Fight Night 3 tops that feel and is about as close as any sports game has ever been to looking like “the real thing”.

Sound isn’t as impressive as the visuals, but still works. Commentators call all of the action and do a great job of it. The blow-by-blow calls are usually really accurate and can help you to gauge just how much of a beating you’re laying down on your opponent (or how much of one he’s laying on you). Sound effects are dead on and, when combined with the real-time damage, immerse you even further into the game’s atmosphere.

If you’re a fan of hip-hop, this soundtrack is for you; if not, then there is nothing I could tell you other than you’ll really only have to hear it during menu screens.


Previous versions of Fight Night have managed to push boxing games to a whole new level and the latest entry doesn’t disappoint.

As far as gameplay goes, Fight Night Round 3 doesn’t stray far from previous installments and is more of a refinement of what worked. This year’s addition is the Stun punch, which switches the game into a first-person mode. From here, you can really see the amount of damage you’re inflicting on someone. Also introduced is the Flash KO punch, which is more or less a one-hit knockout punch. The trick is landing one. A KO punch is slower than other power punches, but is a nice “last ditch” move for when you need to quickly change the fight’s momentum. The downside to relying on power punches is the drain it puts on your fighter’s stamina. Use them too much and you’ll become tired and an easy target for a quick KO.

Career mode doesn’t really evolve that much from past games. You begin by either creating your own boxer or reliving the career of one of the greats like Ali, Leonard, Holyfield or De La Hoya. Even with the addition of rivalries, much of the game still follows the same train-fight-train pattern. Your fighter’s career is really just built on reaching certain milestones. Having a rival who will chase you down during your career and try to put a snag in your rise to the top is a great idea, it just feels like it is an idea that is still in its infancy and needs more time to mature.

Outside of Career mode, there are several other modes that should give you a lot to do. My favorite was the ESPN Classic matches that let you recreate classic matches from the past. On and offline multiplayer options are also available.


Fight Night Round 3’s challenge level comes from two sides. The first are the controls, which look simple but take time to really get into. Learning to use the analog stick in conjunction with the shoulder buttons takes some coordination, but can be done. It is tempting to resort back to the face buttons, but the game is built for using the analog stick, so it is worth your time to learn. Timing also plays a big part since you want each punch to count. Simply wailing on the right stick will only tire you out.

The second difficulty front is A.I., which is generally good if a bit bipolar at times. Most of the time, you’ll get a good fight out of the A.I., though there are times where it will simply lay-down for you or refuse to quit.

Game Mechanics:

Controls have been fine-tuned and work even better than in last year’s version. Rotating the right analog stick produces different types of punches. A quick flick of the stick will jab, while a quarter-rotation throws an outside punch. Pressing the shoulder buttons switch between head and body blows as well as moving you into a blocking position. Again, using the face buttons is still an option for those still stuck in the past, but the game is really built for analog punching so it is a good idea to get used to using them.

Haymaker punches have been toned down so they aren’t as game-breaking as in Round 2. As a result, matches feel more like real fights. Compared to other “fighting games”, Fight Night Round 3 is a much slower game, mimicking the tempo of a real boxing match. So, if you’re looking for a fast-knock-out fighter, you may want to stick with DOA 4.

Defensive moves have been retooled a bit and work better than last year’s game. Not that it was necessarily “broken” or even bad in previous games; it just feels cleaner in Round 3. Defense is where a lot of the game’s emphasis has been placed. Parrying and leaning is encouraged rather than just throwing out punches and blocking occasionally.

Fight Night Round 3 is a must own title on the Xbox 360. Not only does it show off what the system is capable of from a graphics standpoint, but it also manages to take a few steps in the gameplay department towards “real next-gen gaming.”

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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