|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Chicago||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA Sports||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Released: Dec. 6, 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: T||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
When Fight Night Round 3 was announced for the PS3, we all had great expectations. We thought EA would deliver the ultimate boxing experience with this new version of the game that we saw come to life for the last generation systems and Xbox 360 back in February 2006. I'm not saying the game is not remarkable, but perhaps it could have been better. The long and numerous loading screens greatly affect the quality of this game.
Fight Night Round 3 is one of the few boxing games out there, and definitely your only choice if you want a true to life boxing experience. As you should know, your objective in this game is to learn new skills and combo attacks to become a true champ. As always, there are several game modes offered, such as Get in the Ring, Play Now, ESPN Classic, Career, Hard Hits, Training, and Online Mode. In Get in the Ring you can play from a first person perspective, which will get you more involved in the battle. It makes the gameplay more realistic, although it does take some time to get used to it. Even your vision will end up blurred when you take a few too many hits. In ESPN Classic you will have the opportunity to participate in epic fights, for example, Ali vs. Frazier. You can unlock many special items with this. Career mode is fun although it doesn't present much innovation. You will go in from fight to fight, and you get to pick and choose the fighters you want to fight by signing contracts. Some contracts will give you bonuses such as extra notoriety, which will allow you to fight against better boxers. Other fights will give you more money. You can also choose between trainers to help you with skill progression. Between each bout there are minigames that will increase your skill set. Choose between punching a heavy bag, power lifting, and sparring.
The game allows you to create and customize your own character. The boxer creation engine is complex and in-depth; however, the loading times are rather lengthy. Creating your own boxer takes forever. Ten to fifteen seconds will go by while you wait to see each hair style, clothes, etc. You can unlock trunks, gloves and other equipment that will give bonuses to your boxer and help him fight at his peak. The professional characters that you can select are very well designed. It's impressive to see how the fighting style of each character is perfectly mimicked and portrayed. For example, Sugar Ray Leonard, the Sugar man, fights just like him. Camacho is a brawling puncher, just like he was in real life.
The controls are solid and the gameplay is very fun. Of course, who doesn't like boxing? Analog sticks are used as they were in the last generation counterparts. You can move your boxer with the left analog stick and punch with the right analog stick. Throw jabs by pushing the stick forward, and throw hooks and uppercuts by slightly moving the stick in the desired direction. They feel clunky at first, but as you progress through career mode you will find yourself becoming an expert quickly. The learning curve is similar to that of Tony Hawk games. Punches and their subsequent combos will eventually come naturally and be part of your muscle memory. In the beginning, you will fight a bunch of chumps, and later on you will be fighting a bunch of champs. Prepare to get very frustrated when you just can't knock these guys out. However, train enough, learn to use the combos well, maintain your health, and you will have a great sense of achievement when you finally get the K.O. The motion-sensing technology of the Sixaxis is not really used in this game, although it does allow you to throw some special moves by shaking the controller forwards.