It is very clear that the biggest video game representative of boxing is the Fight Night saga of Electronic Arts. A franchise that improves and brings playable changes with each installment, something that is not easy with a title based on a contact sport, where there are hardly any changes from one year to the next. The normal thing is to find the most striking differences in the graphic section, although this time EA Sports has surprised other fields, which make Fight Night Champion a reboot of the saga more than worthy..
Beyond the Blows
For starters, the story mode puts us in the role of a boxer, Andre Bishop, and he is a guy that we are going to take to the top of the boxing world. With this contribution the company seems to have sought to offer in this installment something more than a simple simulation to offer a type of additional experience that meets the needs of the public: a hero, a protagonist to accompany in Champion mode.
This mode, in fact, seeks to give us a scripted game experience, a plot with a charismatic and tormented character that meets the main traits of a cinematic antihero, the kind they like so much. Bishop starts out in jail, fighting without gloves... but he's not just any prisoner. This prisoner, as we will soon discover, had a moment of glory. More or less.
Real as life itself
If there is something that characterizes Fight Nights especially, it is how reliable they are with respect to real sport. We are not only talking about graphic recreation, which we cannot think of how to improve it in this generation, but also about the development of an evening itself. We find fighting easier than others, elusive fighters, with a strong direct right, with less stamina or more aggressive... which will force us to adapt our strategy and fighting style in each fight.
There is no point in throwing punches like crazy, because it is most likely that we will lose all the bellows in a matter of seconds and end up kissing the canvas in no time. As in a real boxing match, we must pay close attention to all the movements of our rival, to know when and how to counterattack. Our coach or cornerman will give us different instructions, depending on the evolution of the round and the tactics followed by our opponent.
The truth is that the range of movements, both in defense and attack, is wide and although you have to combine buttons with levers, it is accessible with a little practice. All in all, Fight Night Champion remains faithful to the simulation tradition that has characterized the saga, so we cannot and should not expect an arcade proposal. To attack, the front buttons take on a much more relevant role, and allow precision and efficiency in the combat system.
Also, we can create our own custom boxer. If in Champion we live the story of a character, in Legacy, on the other hand, we create our fighter and train him to improve, to win fights, to reach the top. We started as an amateur and little by little we progress, investing our money in training, learning techniques, etc. In this sense, this game mode is the heir to the tradition of the series, although it shows some elements of improvement and greater depth in the system with respect to the previous installment.
The first thing that fans will notice in Fight Night Champion is that the game is frankly more resounding visually than its predecessors, something substantially worthwhile considering that these were already very striking video games at the time, especially what it meant in their moment the third installment.
The characters are more detailed, the settings are more realistic and everything looks overwhelmingly sharp; the lighting, likewise, presents the most natural treatment that has been exhibited in any other installment of the series. In the past we had very striking works in this regard, but almost all of them somewhat exaggerated. In Champion, all the stages present a formidable light, with an impact on the sweaty bodies of the most truthful athletes.
In terms of physics, there are also great advances such as a more realistic reaction of muscles and fat, as well as the way in which the cheeks of the characters react in slow motion to being knocked out. For the rest, the speed and fluidity of which we have spoken previously makes the title win many integers in its aesthetic part, with a much more sensible movement for everything that takes place on the ring. There are still some clipping problems, but they are becoming less noticeable and seem little less than inevitable in a title of these characteristics.
The animations are smooth, fluid, linking the movements of the fighters naturally, resulting in a very believable and well-posed visual response to control. The models of the boxers are also very worked and are clearly recognizable. Regarding music, although Electronic Arts is always distinguished by a careful musical selection, what stands out the most is the forcefulness and rawness of the sound effects, and the impressiveness of the ambient sound, especially if we have a good sound equipment.
What I think of the game after playing
It is clear that Fight Night is a game to be glued to the armchair. EA has managed to give it a new spin. Champion mode is a breath of fresh air that knows how to integrate many elements into a superb gaming experience, without this having negatively affected the other aspects of the title. Perhaps it has not been renewed so much in what already existed, although it has been improved and refined more. What is clear is that Fight Night is consolidated as one of the best installments of the saga. Very varied and loaded with playable alternatives, the new from EA Sports is the most accurate representation of this crude sport that has ever been enjoyed in the form of a video game.