Well purchased this a few days ago and thought id give people a little insight into whether this game if worth the Purchase.
Fight Night 2004 is yet another title from the EA sports range and is a replacement for the Knockout King series, which was fairly successful and was one of the better boxing games out there.
The main difference with this game is the new innovative control system, think of it as the same kind of evolution that the golf games IE Tiger Woods, Links went through with the thumbstick swing method.
Let me explain how it works before i describe the main game features. You basically use your left thumbstick to move your fighter around the ring and use the right thumbstick to throw punches dependant on how its moved. For example if you tap it up and to the left or right you will perform jabs. Move it to the left and then up with result in a left hook and vice versa. Move it down and then in a upwards motion will result in the relevant upper cuts!
Your left trigger is used for ducking/weaving when held and combined with left thumbstick and the right trigger is used for blocking/defense. when held down and used with the right thumbstick you can block high, low and either left or right to defend any kind of attack and even launch your own counter punches to annoy them button mashers!
The rest of the buttons are used for taunts, a special punch and illegal moves like low blows, headbutts etc, however too many of these will end up in point deductions and eventually DQ.
Thats it, well how does it play? In one word FANTASTIC! it doesnt take too long to get to grips with and the control you have other your boxer is great and beats any other boxing title hands down. You can string together combos with ease and before long you will get used to the timing of blocking and countering. In many other boxing games you tend to button mash a bit and can pull of wins with relative ease. Not in this game! You have the usual energy meter with a power meter underneath so as you throw punches this meter will go down fast depending on how powerful the punch was, so before long you will find your self retreating so you can build your strength back up and get back in there. This means most fights you have are really about tactics. There is a great deal of variety in the way some of the CPU boxers fight so simply just piling in there will result in your getting your ass kicked straight away.
Onto the rest of the game. Lots of licensed boxers are available for selection from the various weight divisions, with names including Lennox Lewis, Roy Jones Jr, Evander Holyfield, Shane Moseley, Antonio Barrera to name a fraction along with Legends like Muhammed Ali, Joe Frazier, Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Robinson. All are captured pretty well and look the part and reproduce some of the trademark swaggers and ring antics in the game!
The game modes consist of the Exhibition and Career Mode, exhibition as you will know consists of picking any boxer from the various weight divisions and getting it on either 1 or 2 players. Want to have Lennox take on Antonio Barrera, well here you can. All the basic options can be tweaked like no 3 knockdown rule etc.
All fairly straight forward so now on with the career mode.
This is the bread and butter of the game. You can pick any 'real boxer' ie roy jones and start a career with them with basic attributes and advance through the appropriate weight division or you can Create your own boxer.
You create everything from the eyes, face, hair, body weight, physique, tone etc much like you can in some WWF games and then move onto Trunks, shoes, gumshield colour, tattoes, ring music and entourage to name some.
This is quite a good section and you should be able to create a boxer that looks something like yaself, my only complaint was the lack of hairstyles, dont get me wrong there is a lot but i felt there could have been more.
Once your set you start ranked 50th and 20 years of age ( age im not 100% on)
You then go about organising a fight from a small selection of boxers in various arenas, these are normally ranked a few spaces higher than you and you can view there record and attributes to see if you fancy your chances, the higher the rank or greater the venue with reward you with higher prize money which in turn can be used to buy new kit IE trunks, gloves, ring music as well as unlock other items like different taunts and speciality punches. Again the list is excellent and there is a great number of items to spend your cash on.
Before each fight you get the chance to train your boxer, much like some training in Rocky you can autotrain or manual train and can range from sparring, combo training, punchbag etc, how many upgrade you points you earn is dependant on how well you score in the training with a time limit. You can then increase your power, stamina, agility, Heart and Cut resistance among others to get your boxer tougher and more of a challenger for when you move up the ranks.
As you progress through the ranks your ultimate goal is to get a title shot and then become unified champion and defending your title. Now im not well into the game but apparently you retire from the game when your 40 yrs of age. This i feel is the only complaint with career mode as it would have been fun to carry on trying to fight and see your attributes lower with age etc, Imagine replicating george foremans feat and gaining the world title in your late forties etc.
After a few fights you get a end of year report with awards for best knockout, least hit fighter and others. Again this is a good break from the action and a nice little addition.
Thats the main parts of the game. There are other features but again these are common with other EA titles like the Bio and tutorials.
What do i think of it?
Great the fights are action packed and the graphics and animation look great, theres slow motion replays to relive them crunching knockdowns. You can punch people as there falling to make them hit the canvas harder. The fighters use the rag doll physics as in max payne 2 so they look very realistic when hurt there legs will buckle, cuts and bruises appear on the face, streams of blood fly from the face when re-opening that cut. These are all displayed in more details at the end of the round when you can view stats and receive a pep talk from your trainers.
Another interesting change is when you hit the canvas. Instead of button mashing to get up you get a blurred vision of the referee standing over you and you have to get him in focus by moving the left and right thumbsticks before he counts to 10.
This is tricky at first but soon comes easier with practise. The more your knocked down will result in the vision being more blurred and tougher to focus.
The fights are a treat, there speech from your corner dependant on how the fight is going and when you start a rally the crowd will erupt with excitement and it really does get you on the edge of your seat when you are unloading on someone and you can see the legs going but theres only 10 secs left of the round.
AI is another feature i like, say the CPU gets told to unleash more or to be more cautious he will do just that. Say if hes been beaten badly in a round, once the 10 sec indicator sounds he might go mad and start to fight back and it can lead to frenetic finishes more often than not.
Difficulty level is spot on, quite tough at the start but once the controls are mastered it becomes easier.
If your into boxing then you can really do no wrong with this. Its easily the best fighter available at the moment and is a worthy purchase, damn PS2 owners can play online as well which i bet is great.
Id give it 9.2 out of 10
This is my 1st review so apologies if it seems a bit patchy.
Hope it has helped in peoples decisions in whether to buy or not.
Any other questions about the game that i may not have mentioned then please post away and ask and i will answer as best i can.