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Forum LockedReview: Fight Night Round 2 (PS2)

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JasonSGN View Drop Down
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Joined: 01-25-2006
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    Posted: 01-25-2006 at 8:58pm
Fight Night Round 2 PS2The original Fight Night was an amazing comeback for a stale franchise (Knockout Kings) and paved the way for the much-improved sequel Fight Night Round 2. I was a big fan of the original Fight Night (see review), but I couldn't see myself going back to play the original now that I've played Round 2. While only a few gameplay additions have been made to Fight Night Round 2, they add some much needed depth to what is now the best boxing game ever.

Graphics: 98

I'm going to go on record and state that Fight Night Round 2 is the best looking sports game on any console. The animations are top-notch, the collision detection is excellent and the fighters themselves look amazingly detailed and eerily life-like. Even more impressive is the facial damage that is inflicted during a fight. Flexing muscles and dripping sweat just add to the realism, all while running without a hint of slowdown.

All this graphical goodness does come at a cost though, there is still no referee in the ring and the crowds, while much better than the original Fight Night, are still pretty bad. Fortunately, these are very minor complaints and take nothing away from this graphical feast.

Audio: 85

My biggest complaint with the original Fight Night was the Hip Hop announcer Big Tigger. I'm glad to report that Big Tigger was given his walking papers and has been replaced with ESPN analyst Joe Tessitore in Fight Night Round 2, and while the commentary is rather generic and sometimes repetitive, it's miles better than the original's.

The crowd noise has also been improved and does a better job of reacting to the action in the ring. Some of the more popular fighters even have specific crowd chants. It brought a smile to my face as the crowd starting chanting "Sugar Ray, Sugar Ray" as I went for a knockout. The grunts and groans of the boxers are well done along with realistic sounding punches.

Gameplay Options: 80

Fight Night Round 2 offers a career mode in which you create you own boxer and work your way up the ranks. There a training mini-games that help your fighter increase his skills and become a better fighter. Unfortunately, there are no tournament modes online or offfline. A Hard Hits mode, in which rounds are untimed and fights can only end in a KO, and a quick fight mode round out the game options. 

Gameplay: 95

The bread and butter of any game is the gameplay and Fight Night Round 2 has fixed the three biggest problems I had with the original:

1. The analog controls are now more responsive and combos are much easier to pull off with the analog stick. Also, the new Haymakers can only be executed with the analog controls.

2. While missing from last year's game, clinching has been added to the mix in Fight Night Round 2. Now, when a fighter is tired or hurt, they have the ability to hang onto their opponent to gain back some health or make it through the round.

3. In my opinion, the biggest addition is the ability to punch and block while moving. While this may seem to be a minor detail, it opens the door to a more strategic gameplan while fighting. The ability to stick and move works and feels great and adds a new level of depth to the game.

A new addition this year is the Haymaker. The Haymaker is a power punch that can cause major damage if landed but is slower to get off and leaves your fighter vulnerable if you miss with it. Having said that, one-punch knockouts (and TKO's) are very rare. Although there is the ability to abuse this punch, any smart fighter can counter it and knock their opponent out.

Like last year's game, bobbing and weaving is implemented well and plays a big part in your fighter's defense. The ability to control your fighter's bobbing and weaving with the analog stick makes it very intuitive and natural. Blocking and countering are also easy to execute and offer another level of defense.

Finally, EA has introduced the EA Cutman. Essentially, it's a mini game in which you work on your fighters cuts and bruises between rounds. I found this to be gimmicky and luckily it can be disabled.

Overall: 95 (Not an average)

Having spent a handful of years boxing when I was younger, I found myself using many of the same tactics in this game. The fact that they worked and were so natural to execute is a testament to the control scheme and engine EA has designed for this game.

As a long time boxing fan, this game has done the best job of simulating the sweet science on a console and has provided me with the best simulated boxing experience to date. If you enjoy boxing at all, you owe it to yourself to try this game.

Reviewed By: Jason

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