Fight Night Round 3 PlayStation 3
Published by: EA Sports
Developed by: EA Sports
Release Date: Out Now
Fight Night Round 3 truly impressed us when we reviewed the game on the Xbox 360 last year. Even now it remains one of the best sports games on the console. For the most part the graphics in the game were great and the boxers in particular looked superb. Those who didn't purchase an Xbox 360 but now own a PlayStation 3 will be pleased to learn that Fight Night Round 3 on the PlayStation 3 is practically the same game that appeared on the Xbox 360 last year. There are a few differences though and it's fair to say that they do add to the experience somewhat.
Fight Night Round 3 allows you to take control of some of the greatest boxers in the sport's history and also to create your own boxer and take them through a whole career. The game offers an ESPN Classic mode where you can take part in some of the great rivalry fights such as Ali versus Frazier and Leonard versus Hagler. There's a Hard Hits mode where there are no rounds so that you can't have a break to heal up etc. Like the Xbox 360 version, the PlayStation 3 version comes with online play and allows for ranked and unranked fights. Most gamers will spend their time in the Career mode though, where you create your own boxer, in any weight category you choose, and play though a whole career.
One of the biggest complaints we had with Fight Night Round 2 was that there were too many knockdowns. Thankfully this has been sorted out and the rate of knockdowns is much more realistic in Fight Night Round 3. Unlike the PlayStation 2 version which has health and stamina gauges, the PlayStation 3 version, by default, has no gauges at all. Instead you'll be able to see, by looking at your boxer (and opponent), what condition they are in. The decision to remove the gauges may seem a strange one but the graphical quality of the boxers really does allow you to see what state they are in, so gauges are not necessary. Once again the total punch control system works extremely well but should you not like it for some reason, you can opt to switch to a control configuration that allows punches to be performed by pushing the X, circle, square or triangle buttons. Whichever control system you prefer you'll find the controls responsive and intuitive, although you don't have as good a control over your punching when you're not using the total punch control system. The online mode works well and should add longevity to the game.
Whilst I was enjoying playing in the Career mode, there are some problems. The Career mode basically follows a pattern of signing a contract to compete in a fight, doing a training mini-game (or sparring) and then taking part in a fight. Even though you'll progress through the amateur ranks to the professional and so forth, you're still following this pattern and it gets a bit repetitive. You can chose to automatically do the training but you'll only get half of the upgrade points you would get from doing it well yourself. As for the fights they are great, once you've passed through the amateur ranks. The amateur fights are just too easy and quite a few of them end up being stopped with your opponent unable to defend himself. Once you're a professional though this problem pretty much disappears. The game could have also done with a ranking system in the Career mode (you are ranked online) to give you an idea of how good your boxer is.
So what's different with the PlayStation 3 version then? Perhaps the biggest difference is the ability to fight in a first person mode known as Get in the Ring. There is a Get in the Ring mode that allows for an exhibition fight to be played from a first person perspective but you can play any of the modes in this fashion if you wish. Fighting from a first person view is certainly a different experience and whilst it's not a view I could play the whole game from, it's great to have the option to switch to it at any time. You can also carry out some illegal moves by thrusting the Sixaxis controller forward. This is the only utilisation of the motion sensing capabilities of the controller though.
Fight Night Round 3 was graphically impressive on the Xbox 360 and it's fair to say the same is true of the PlayStation 3 version. Of course there has been a lot of interest in the quality of the graphics and many websites have run comparisons between the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions to see which looks better. In truth both versions look great. If we were pushed we would say the PlayStation 3 version looked a little better in regards to the boxer models but given the extra development time this version has had it's hardly surprising. Whether you're playing on a HD display or a standard TV set you're going to be for a visual treat. Where the PlayStation 3 version disappoints is in its load times which are actually quite long and at times are actually quite tedious.
When it comes to being accessible for deaf gamers, the PlayStation 3 version of Fight Night Round 3 is the same as the Xbox 360 version. There are no subtitles in Fight Night Round 3. In a lot of sports games that we see, this isn't a big problem and it doesn't really pose a problem in FNR 3 but it is unfortunate. Your trainer will talk to you whilst you're doing your training in the mini-games and between rounds in a fight. During the breaks in a fight your trainer will comment on how you've performed and he gives pretty good advice on what you'll need to do in the next round, which is important if you're not doing too well. None of this is accessible for deaf gamers though. As with the Xbox 360 version, the PlayStation 3 version is also more advanced in regards to its audio and it's obvious to hearing gamers when the boxers are running short of breath and this is something that deaf gamers will be unaware of. To some degree you can tell by a boxer's stance when they are getting tired but it's not quite as effective. Of course the lack of subtitles and captions won't prevent you from enjoying the game but it's a shame that the experience has been tarnished to a certain degree.
Those of you who have purchased a PlayStation 3 and have enjoyed previous boxing games in the Fight Night series should definitely enjoy Fight Night Round 3. It's the best in the series so far and looks stunning regardless of the display you're gaming on. The ability to now fight from the first person view is certainly a nice addition for the PlayStation 3 version although if you've played the Xbox 360 version of the game then it's not enough to justify repurchasing what is essentially the same game. Boxing fans that haven't played the 360 version should definitely put this down on their wish list.
Fight Night Round 3 is a must for PlayStation 3 owning boxing fans who haven't played the Xbox 360 version.