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It’s also good to see the ESPN Classic mode, which lets you stage classic rivalries – such as Ali vs Frasier or Jake La Motta vs Sugar Ray Robinson. The nice thing is how well the action is presented in the styles of the era. Ali vs Frasier has the patina of 70s TV, while La Motta vs Robinson has the deep black and white tones of sixties
TV. These bouts are perfect for some two-player action, and let’s be clear – while Live play is as well implemented as you might expect from an EA sports game, this is a game that’s best played on one TV by two people who already have grudges to settle, provided the inevitable taunting doesn’t lead to real-world fisticuffs.
Now for the bad stuff. The advertising is ludicrously intrusive, and it’s not just the placards surrounding the arenas. Keen as I am to see a replay of my killer blow, was there any need to have it bought to me by Burger King? And while the hip-hop soundtrack is fitting, it gets repetitive and annoying alarmingly soon.
And overall, no matter how amazing it is, there is always a sense that it is still just a boxing game, and this is something you really need to think about if you’re going to blow £40 on it. It’s a spectacular, accessible, thoroughly engaging boxing game, but several hours after you were initially bowled over by the graphics, the realisation might hit you. And unless you’re a) a big fan of the sport or b) have a steady gang of mates to play it with, you probably will find yourself tiring of the game. I know you could say the same about racing games or football games, but this really isn’t everyone’s long-term cup of tea. That said, it’s well worth downloading the Live demo or – even better – renting, just to see what the future looks like. Only you can decide if it’s then worth splashing out to give the game permanent space in your library.
It’s hard to be humble when you’re this great – Fight Night 3 is an awesome next-generation showcase. But no matter how powerful the graphics, you need an interest in boxing to keep you playing long term.