Don King Presents Prizefighter Xbox 360 Review - 03/07/2008

Boxing is a genre that in the world of console gaming isn't really that swamped or overridden with at all. I mean there has only been a few games over the recent years that have anything to offer and nothing really, as yet on 360, has managed to beat the reigning champion Fight Night Round 3.


But that being said we do have two contenders this year that might just present a challenge, Facebreaker and Prizefighter. Prizefighter is here and now, but can it hold its own against such a heavyweight as Fight Night?

Prizefighter is 2K Sports amazingly belated return to EA’s Fight Night, so really you would have thought that it would have been at least a slight step up on EA’s game. Not only because of there being a game there for 2K to base Prizefighter’s action on but also the fact that there has been almost two years since the release of Fight Night. Unfortunately this is not the case at all.

With a boxing game there really isn’t that much action going on at any one time; well it is only two blokes in a ring isn’t it? So having base flaws in the gameplay and animation is a massive no-no, but Prizefighter seems to start off with some flaws that really wouldn’t be forgiven in action heavy games like Dynasty Warriors let alone a one-on-one boxing game. Prizefighter has some of the worst collision detection that I have yet witnessed in a next-gen game, with some punches missing their mark even it you’re opponent is no more than an inch away from you with his guard down. Or have a missed jab suddenly connecting after you make your counter attack. Things like this really can’t be put down to anything but bad programming.

Something that makes Prizefighter a bit harder to get around is the way in which the moves are mapped out. All the standard and combo attacks are equipped to the face buttons which does mean that you have to at times wrap your hand around the controller to hit those combos, along with the right trigger acting as your block combined with the right stick to get the right position to defend with. The left trigger is used to dodge and change your stance slightly, allowing you to move your boxer around on the spot. This does take sometime to get used to but once you’ve got it down then it's a lot easier to dodge and react to your opponent’s attacks.

If there's one thing this generation of consoles has provided, it's sweat.


Movement around the ring also doesn’t feel right; it’s more blocky and stiff than what you see from the real deals, who seem to move around in some liquid motion. Their virtual counterparts do glide but move on wheels on axes not in multiple dimensions. Going toe-to-toe isn’t anything to shout about either, but it does have a better feel. Once you are up close your boxer gains special moves that can only be used by bringing up your adrenaline meter, which is built on by landing punches and blocking incoming ones. If you can land these more powerful moves correctly then it can turn the tide of a fight but sometimes they change the dynamic too much giving the game too much of a feel of a arcade-beater than a measured sport.

Built into the career mode is a documentary that details your time both in and out of the ring quite well, creating some what of a back story and a life to your otherwise voiceless character. This adds to the feel of the game, making it seem like your moving through an interactive documentary rather than just a career of some unknown upstart.

But the best thing about the game is the training; you have five activities to do: shuttle run, heavy bag, focus mitts, jump rope and speed bag. Each one upgrades two out of the four attributes at a time; stamina, strength, agility and dexterity. You only get about two weeks in which to train and with each training exercise taking up a week this means that you need to tailor your picks to the fight coming up. Two of the activities work out in the now age-old fashion of rhythm-based button bashing, the other three work using techniques that you would use when you're in the ring, so if you pick the heavy bag you need to move around the bag hitting a circle that dances around it. I believe one of the standout ideas in the training is that if you are connected to Live you link your score that you achieve in training with a set of leaderboards to add a bit of competition to it.

This must look pretty scary if you're down on the canvas.


The graphics of the arenas do look amazing at times with some nice effects added to the ring if there is a skylight above it or if there are thatch windows. The same goes for the ring, each one looks different and there are some varied styles, unfortunately things are not so true for the character models. While there is a fair amount of detail given to the models a lot of the damage that you see in the fight magically disappears after the round has come to a close.

Online is a pretty standard idea, with a versus mode that allows you to change settings like amount of and length of rounds as well as match rules. There are two other modes: Fighter Club and Tournament, which both work in a similar fashion - Fighter Club is a tournament that tallies up your wins and the winner is the player with the highest tally. The strangest thing about the online modes is that it changes the whole dynamic of the gameplay, where in single-player modes you can hack away at your opponent’s life bar taking a small amount away after each round thus leading you to a technical knock-out, online takes that away and leaves you with only a straight knock-out in one round or the judge’s decision at the end of the rounds. Which really doesn’t make sense!

It all feels nice and official.


Overall Prizefighter really doesn’t make the cut, with some interesting ideas that really never seem to get the full evolution that they could have got. It’s a shame as if they had used Fight Night as a basis Prizefighter really would have been a much better package of a game.

- Alec Hilton

   

Great entry music and movie when getting to the bigger fights.

 
   

Documentary works well and gives the character a background.

 
   
Collision detection is terrible.
 
   

Online gameplay turns single-player gameplay on its head, why?

 
   

Unusually high number of decent boxing games provide stiff competition.

 


56%

 

   
     

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