Like punching dudes? You should probably play this.
The main attraction in this new Fight Night game is it's Champion mode.
Champion mode is a linear, story driven series of fights that puts you in the trunks of fictional pugilist Andre Bishop.
It's kind of neat, it shakes things up a bit and adds something not often seen or at least done particularly well in sports games - adds a narrative. Seeing as how the past few games have been more or less the same in terms of game modes, this is a welcome change of pace.
Can't say I like it when fights force you to play a certain way thanks to whatever story conceit they can come up with. For instance there's a fight wherein you've broken your right hand and are forced to use your left more often.
I play with the stick controls, they've added support for buttons right off the bat as opposed to waiting for someone to bitch about it before adding it in a patch. Anyway while I like the stick controls I'm not so precise with them and sometimes throw punches I didn't intend to punch, often rights. So I was hurting myself fairly often in this bout. Eventually I relented and just used the buttons, because it was the only way for me to not throw the occasional accidental right.
There are quite a few more examples of being forced to fight from outside of your comfort zone. I suppose this adds challenge, but I like to play how I like to play and I don't like being forced down other paths.
Some fights in Champion mode also force you to win by knockout or knock a guy down x amount of times and these aren't always easy to come across. In most previous Fight Night games knock outs were the only victories I ever saw, but a lot of my fights in Champion have gone the distance and my wins have been by decision. And I'm perfectly fine with that. A victory is a victory. Forcing me to go for knock out is forcing me to take more risks then I am otherwise prone to and not to beat a dead horse, but I don't like being told how to play.
Fortunately they still have a regular career mode what with the calender and fight scheduling like you're used too from previous games. And you're not forced to fight any particular way there.
Unfortunately you also have to put up with shitty training mini-games. These were awful in the FIRST Fight Night. Why they've not really changed things up in so many years is beyond me. They could have at least taken inspiration from EA Sports MMA and made it so you only had to ace the training once and you can forever get the maximum benefit from it when you automate the training, but alas this is not the case.
Actual game play seems about the same as ever, though I think it feels faster.
Even quick jabs in previous games felt a bit sluggish, but now you can throw a barrage of punches and it all animates very quickly.
Of course it slows down a little if you're low on stamina, but even then it still feels faster than prior games which honestly took some getting used too, but you do get over it. The faster pace does eventually feel natural.
If you liked previous Fight Night or are a fan of punching dudes in general Champion is definitely worth a look.