Don King Presents Prizefighter Xbox 360
Published by: 2K Sports
Developed by: Venom Games
Release Date: Out Now
In theory Don King Presents Prizefighter is a game that could have put a large smile on the face of those who enjoy their boxing games. Whilst the Fight Night series is largely considered to be the best boxing title you can currently purchase on the Xbox 360 it's not a game that gets a yearly release and given how few boxing titles there are, there's always room for another boxing series and certainly in terms of features Prizefighter should not have disappointed. Unfortunately the game just isn't as good as it could have been given the potential it had.
Prizefighter offers Career, Exhibition, Training and Multiplayer modes. There are also a collection of classic challenges that you can unlock by playing through the Career mode. The game features forty boxers, past and present, such as Joe Calzaghe, Shannon Briggs, Larry Holmes and Joe Louis. The highlight of the game is the Career mode and it's here you'll undoubtedly spend most of your time with the game. You'll play as a boxer who goes from the bottom to the top fighting all kinds of fighters along the way. You'll begin by creating your fighter (the creation tools are rather impressive) and having a single amateur fight before stepping on to the bottom rung of the professional ladder. The cutscenes in the Career mode are unusual in that they feature actors and figures from the world of boxing including Don King himself. In between fights you'll get to play a variety of mini-games in an attempt to prepare your boxer for the fight ahead and it's something you'll definitely need to do as your boxer is actually quite pathetic to begin with.
In some ways Prizefighter is the very opposite of Fight Night Round 3 which had responsive controls, did away with health meters and tried to move away from button bashing as a method of fighting. Prizefighter's control system sees a return to pressing buttons to throw punches and it's a control system that does take a little time to adjust to. The A, B, X and Y buttons are used to throw punches. You can hold down the RT button and press the aforementioned buttons to throw body punches. Likewise you can hold down the LT and press the buttons to throw leaning shots. Uppercuts can be thrown by pressing the A + X and B + Y buttons. The right stick is used to block. Whilst the controls do take a little time to master they do actually work well, or at least they would do if they were more responsive. At times it seems like there's a lag between pressing the buttons and the punches being thrown. This can make it difficult to string a combination of punches together and on occasion it does become a little frustrating. It could also be argued that there are a ridiculously high number of knockdowns in the game and whilst this wouldn't be a problem if the game were an arcade style boxing game, it's out of place here.
Prizefighter isn't as impressive as Fight Night Round 3 from a graphical standpoint but it's still a good looking game. The boxers all look quite good and you'll notice them looking suitably damaged during the course of the fight although it's not quite as noticeable here as in FNR 3 but it's not much of a problem as the game uses gauges to display each boxer's condition. When the boxers are hit you won't see any of the spectacular blood splatters or sweat sprays that you saw in Fight Night Round 3 which some may find a little disappointing. For the most part though the game does look good although some will wonder why it doesn't look better, or at least as good, as a game that is around two years old.
Sports titles are not known for being kind to deaf gamers but I was pleasantly surprised to find Prizefighter is subtitled. You'll find the cutscenes in the Career mode are subtitled which means you'll be able to follow the storyline. You'll also be surprised to find the comments made by your trainer in between rounds are also subtitled. The announcer's comments are also subtitled. The fight commentary isn't subtitled but this isn't much of a surprise given that hardly any sports titles have their commentary subtitled. On the whole Prizefighter is fairly deaf gamer friendly and deaf gamers won't have any problems with the game.
Don King Presents Prizefighter isn't a bad boxing game by any means but it's certainly not to be remembered as anything special and that's disappointing. The sluggishness of the controls, at times, and the unrealistic number of knockdowns prevent the game from being as enjoyable as it could have been. Some will also be disappointed that it doesn't look as good as Fight Night Round 3 which is around a couple of years old now. Boxing fans that have had their fill of FNR 3 might get something out of Don King Presents Prizefighter but it's tough to recommend to anyone who hasn't yet played, and is thinking of purchasing a boxing title for their Xbox 360.