Last years Fight Night 2004 completely rejuvenated boxing videogames. It was fast and realistic and fun and surprised a lot of people. Now a year later, EA Sports is back with Fight Night Round 2 and Im happy to say that it is even better than the last game. Pretty much every aspect of the game has been improved and Xbox Live play has been added to round out an already impressive package. This is a must own for fight fans
The appeal of Fight Night Round 2 is the incredible amount of control you have over your boxer. Moving the right analog stick through different movements results in different punches. You can throw quick jabs, uppercuts, and hooks simply by how you move the stick. This control method also lets you control which hand you are throwing punches with, so with a few flicks of the stick you can string together impressive flowing combinations. There are also more powerful punches called haymakers that can potentially end the fight in one punch. The catch is that haymakers and every other punch use up stamina, so you have to weigh the potential knockout blow against wearing yourself out too quickly so you have to use a little bit of strategy while playing. You can use body punches by holding the left trigger and moving the right stick as well. It is quick and easy to mix and match head punches and body shots to really put together a solid fight and it is extremely fun and rewarding. Defensive moves include blocks and parries as well as the ability to dodge by just moving your boxers upper body or taking a few steps back. You can also hold the other boxer in order to regain some stamina and rest for a few seconds.
At first the game seems like you can just wildly move the right stick and be successful, and it is pretty fun to play this way, but to really get the most satisfaction out of Fight Night Round 2 you have to learn the specific movements and timing of each punch and know how and when each one is the most effective. You also have to really pay attention and learn how to use the defensive maneuvers correctly. Everything about the game oozes realism and authenticity and it all just feels right. The speed you move around the ring and punch and duck are all pretty much perfect. If the pace and feel were even a little bit off Fight Night wouldnt be so impressive, but everything acts and reacts just like you would expect which is a big reason why this game is such a joy to play.
So Many Ways To Play
Because of all of the different punches and defensive moves you can utilize, no two matches in Fight Night Round 2 will ever be the same. Every fight you have against the AI or against your friends or against someone on Xbox Live will be different because every one will have a different style. It is up to you to learn the controls and be able to fight effectively against a whole range of styles and that is the true beauty of the control system. A lot of people will go haymaker crazy at the first sign of trouble and you have to be quick enough to recognize that and then form a suitable counterattack. Others will play a very defensive game and wait until you tire yourself out. Still others will be willing to simply go toe to toe with you and fight you punch for punch. In all of these situations and dozens of others you always, always have several different ways to fight back. You never have to resort to any one tactic and can always fight your way out of any situation which is something I really like.