Those of you who stubbornly clung to your face buttons in previous Fight Night
games will be forced to try something new, as button presses have been almost completely eliminated from the core of Fight Night: Round 4
's control scheme. The developers have worked hard on the trademarked Total Punch Control, and you'll use it whether you want to or not. Stop whining, button-mashers -- it's for your own good.
Most of the functions that are not assigned to the Right Analog Stick have not changed in Round 4. You'll clinch with (Y), block with the Right Trigger, lean with the Left Trigger, and attempt to land an illegal blow with (B). I'll go on record here -- you cannot bite ears in this game. However, you can butt heads and punch crotches. Everything else that is punch-related is assigned to the Right Analog Stick; different kinds of flicks and half-circles will allow your boxer to jab, hook, uppercut, and haymaker his way to victory.
Veterans can also use the Classic Punch Control, although I found it very lacking. In earlier games, I remember inputting quick Z-motions on the Right Analog Stick to throw haymaker after haymaker. It doesn't seem to translate well in Round 4. Even though it's not too easy to pick up, the New Total Punch Control rewards those who practice with it.
One welcome addition to the Fight Night formula is the new Corner Game. In previous installments, you could play as the cutman between rounds. The cutman's job was to heal your boxer's wounds, and you helped him carry out his job by participating in analog stick-based mini-games. This has been replaced by a much more interesting (albeit less immersive) recovery system. In each round, the game judges how well you fight. It awards you points that you can use between rounds. How you use these points is up to you, but you'll always have an easy time deciding whether you need some damage repair or more stamina.
I didn't enjoy Fight Night: Round 4 as much as Round 2, but I liked it more than Round 3. The New Total Punch Control isn't as smooth as it could be and the Legacy Mode has a few kinks, but the great online play and killer presentation should have pugilism enthusiasts cheering.