Fight Night: Champion
Platforms: X360, PS3
Fight Night: a knockout
Already an established brand with many fighting game fans, the latest Fight Night game, Champion, launches this week, with the addition of a bold innovation for a fighting game: a storyline. It follows protagonist (and
pugilist) Andre Bishop as he struggles through the boxing ranks, going from chump to champ in a five-hour tale that's captivated many critics. Praise for the plot of a fighting game? You better believe it.
It's enough to earn it top marks, from Game Revolution, for one. Despite coming in a sceptic, Jesse Costantino says Fight Night Champion's storyline "succeeds where so many other sports games before it have failed." It blends elements from classic boxing movies like Rocky IV and Prison Shadows, he says, with snippets of real-life stories
from the likes of Mike Tyson, producing a result that's admittedly derivative, but "still feels unique and fresh."
1UP's Mike Phillips joins Costantino in lavishing praise on the tale, calling it "an interactive Rocky movie...a truly bold, ingenious idea." Phillips is not quite so impressed with the game's performance in the ring, though, raising issues with its movement controls, its lack of feedback, and its judges -- who, he says, "are apparently looking for something other than smashing the other dude's face in." A balanced B+ is his verdict.
Over at IGN, writer Hilary Goldstein isn't quite as impressed with the storyline as
other critics -- he calls it "flawed but enjoyable -- but still delivers a thumbs-up to the gameplay in general. A healthy 8.0 is his verdict, in fact, and he notes the game's detailed visuals (which are realistic enough to make it EA Sports' very first M-rated release) and the welcome tweaks made to the control system. It's "the best the fighting engine's been for the series," he says. "It's a great step forward."
Will it make you eat lightning and crap thunder? That's probably up to you,
although with an average critical score of 85%, it's definitely looking like the king of the ring for this week.
Also Out Now:
Sick of World of Warcraft? Maybe, maybe not...Blizzard's online RPG behemoth
has shown astonishing staying power, rooted to the top of the charts
since 2004. And while Rift is unlikely to topple it, it's nevertheless
gaining an impressive amount of positive, word-of-mouth chatter from
those who are already playing it. If the thought of an MMO with a more
lively, event-filled world and a more flexible character system appeals
to you -- and it sure does to us -- we strongly recommend you check this
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II -- Retribution
Still playing 2009 sci-fi strategy hit Dawn of War II? Yeah, us too. This week
it gets its second expansion pack, adding the Imperial Guard as a
playable army, a new single-player campaign that can be tackled by any
faction, and a host of enhancements to the game's online play, which now
uses Steamworks (rather than Games for Windows Live) for its
matchmaking. Thumbs up all round, then.
Rango: The Video Game
Platforms: Wii, X360, PS3, NDS
Hitting streets a couple of days ahead of the Western-themed animated movie on
which it's based, Rango: The Video Game looks nearly as good as the
flick, thanks to the involvement of Lucasfilm special-effects maestros
Industrial Light & Magic. Will its gameplay be up to the same
standard? We're not holding our breath, but who knows? Perhaps it'll be
this year's Toy Story 3.
Call of Duty: Black Ops -- First Strike
Not content with rocking the Xbox 360 last month, First Strike hits up the
PS3 this week. Black Ops' first downloadable content pack, First
Strike adds four general-purpose multiplayer maps, including one based
on the arctic research station that features in Black Ops' single-player
campaign, and one new scenario for the game's popular Zombie