Posted by Tim on July 26, 2009

Fight Night 4 Review: A Knockout Thriller!

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Fight Night 4

Developer: Electronic Arts

Copy Reviewed: PS3


Not many people get to experience the thrill of a knockout punch: the solid junction of fist and face, a devastating blast, knocking your opponent down for good. While most of us won’t ever deliver a knockout, a knockout is exactly what you get out of EA’s Fight Night 4. The thrill of the main event is fully captured in the fourth iteration of this boxing sports game. Whether you are an avid fan of boxing, just a general fan of sports, or simple a fan of great games, Fight Night 4 is a must play for all gamers, for this game delivers punch after punch of great fun. While there isn’t a ton of variety in the game, what is there is enough to satisfy just about anybody.

To be honest, I myself was skeptical at how good this game could be. I was curious as to how long I would be entertained by simply pummeling my opponent over and over. What I soon found out that even a simple Fight Now fight is crazy fun, and it starts with the amazing animations. The graphics are top notch. Everything is animated on the boxer’s bodies: their muscles flex as they punch, their skin sweats, and the body motions look authentic. You shed beads of sweat when you swing, land a big punch and spit and blood will fly from your opponent, swings look and feel real. Every thing down to the knockdown looks all too real, and it is the knockdown where this game shines.


All my skepticism was erased as soon as I experienced my first knockdown. Forget how much fun it is to actually box, once you get a knockdown you are awarded with a replay of the consecutive hits that got you the knockdown. What’s more, the actual punch that knocked your opponent down is shown in slow-mo, with Matrix-esk effects, and when the punch lands your opponent’s flesh shakes, his eyes roll back, and every facet of his body screams out in pain. It is hands down one of the most outrageous and remarkable things I’ve ever seen in a game. And in case seeing your knockdown once wasn’t enough for you, you can control how many times the replay is shown. Rub it in your friends face over and over again if you like, and please do, because it is too stunning to view just once.

On top of that, there are several levels of difficulty, with amateur and pro recommended for first time boxers, while champion and G.O.A.T (greatest of all time) difficulties will provide an arduous challenge for those with more experience. In fact, there are some trophies where a player must beat a specific fighter on a specific difficulty. This little addition makes the Fight Now mode more than just a quick fix, as it provides specific goals and challenges to accomplish.

Additionally, the settings are completely customizable. From how aware referees are of fouls to how tough a boxer is, you can control and customize it all. This way, if you find yourself falling short of that 10 round epic fight, crank up the toughness and enjoy round after round of grueling battles.


There are many features that create an authentic feel to each fight. You have a health bar, a stamina bar, and a block bar for your fighter. If your health bar gets too low, or your opponent lands a big punch, you’ll be stunned. If your health bar then gets drained, say hello to a knockdown. In order to get up from a knockdown you have to use both joysticks to balance out your field of vision.

And don’t think you can just get into the ring and swing away to victory. The more you swing, the more your stamina bar goes down. Bigger swings, such as haymakers and signatures, take more out of your stamina. A miss or a hit that gets blocked also takes out more stamina. The lower the stamina of your fighter the less effective you will be. Luckily, between each round you can be the coach and pick which stat you want to increase. Land more punches/knockouts, and the more points you will have to apply to a specific stat. This really makes it feel like a real fight, and as the rounds increase, inversely go your stamina and health despite the best efforts of the coach.

There is much more to this game other than just the Fight Now fights. The heart and soul of the single player game lies in Legacy Mode, where you either pick or create a boxer and bring him from Bum to the status of Greatest of All Time. In this game mode, you schedule fights in order to rise in rankings. All your stats are tallied; from you win to loss ratio, to how many KO wins you got, even your hit percentage average. Each boxer has specific ratings for different attributes (i.e. power, speed, toughness, etc), and you can increase your ratings by entering training sessions before a fight. There are six different types of training which train different types of ratings. Legacy Mode is certainly where you will spend a majority of your single player time, and it gives you an authentic feel to what it is actually like to be a boxer rising in the echelons of world rankings.


While the single player modes are great, and the Legacy Mode specifically will provide a lot of replay value, this game has oodles of online content to keep you coming back for more. Not only can you create and upload your own created boxers for others, you can download other people’s created boxers, and let me tell you some of them look fantastic. Ever wonder how The Joker would fare in a ring with The People’s Champ? Well thanks to some user with lots of time on his/her hands, now you can.

The online mode expands far beyond creating and downloading custom made boxers however, as there are a slew of different options to chose from. Play a quick ranked or unranked match against anyone, create a custom match with specific settings, or invite people via the Player Hub and battle your closest friends. But where the online mode has the most depth is the World Championship mode.

In this mode you can take a light, middle, or heavy weight class fighter to the top of the leader board rankings. Challenge the current champ and try to steal away the belt. But beware; this game mode isn’t for the faint at heart, as you will be boxing against the best players across the world. Those worried about the game not being challenging enough will be heartily rewarded from challenges provided by this game mode.


While there aren’t many different game modes available to provide an array of variability, what is available is done so well that you don’t need multiple game modes in order to feel entertained. You can even save and edit replays from any fight and post them to the EA online universe. There are training modes which will allow you to practice the various training sessions and help you increase the amount your ratings will gain in Legacy Mode. On top of that, if you have a PS3 camera, you can create a boxer with your own face on it. It is not perfect at rendering an identical face, but it is a nice touch that players should check out.

To be honest, there aren’t really many negatives in this game because everything the game has to offer is done very well. Perhaps the only negative is that the Legacy Mode is not much different than many similar game modes in other sports games. It doesn’t really expand on the idea of rising in the ranks in the sport. Sure, count that a negative if you must. Also the AI at times seems a bit omniscient; they get counters in so often its like they know exactly what you will throw before you swing. The counter system works much better when playing a human opponent, as it is all too common for an AI opponent to get 10+ more counters on you. The above mentioned coach-system between rounds is cool, but there is not a whole lot to it, and could have been incorporated better.

Additionally, fighting some computer opponents make you use repetitive attack techniques, such as a non-stop barrage of jabs to the head. There may be more genuine ways to beat any opponent, but often times repetition can be the easiest way, although slightly boring. The awesome animations make up for it though, I just wish you had to vary it up a little bit against all your AI opponents. All these flaws however can be easily overlooked, as the rest of the game is practically immaculate.

This game truly is a knockout in every sense of the word. You will be stunned at the realness of the animations. You feel each swing, you rejoice in each well landed punch. There are all the familiar names to boxing and many of the sport’s greatest legends available to pick from. Each game mode is very intricate and expansive, with the Legacy and online modes giving lots to come back for. If you have not played this game yet, I urge to you leave your computer screen immediately and rush out to the nearest game store and pick it up; you won’t hear me say that often. Most people will probably overlook this title, but those who do play it will know that they have one of the best sports games available in this generation of games.

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One Response to “Fight Night 4 Review: A Knockout Thriller!”

  1. Horhay says:

    I am digging this game, although it’s a bit more difficult than the previous FN titles.

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