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Fight Night Round 2

1 rating: 4.0
Sports video game by EA - Electronic Arts for the PlayStation 2

Get ready for the ultimate knockdown! EA Sports Fight Night Round 2 aims to deliver the most realistic boxing title to ever grace a videogame ring. The sequel to the best-selling boxing title of 2004 looks to knock players off their feet with fresh and … see full wiki

Release Date: February, 2005
1 review about Fight Night Round 2

Fight Night Round 2: Let's get Ready to Rumble!

  • Oct 4, 2005
Pros: Realistic fighting sim, arcade elements for those who want them, good graphics

Cons: Twitchy animations, average multiplayer, boring soundtrack

The Bottom Line: As fighting games go, this one is quite solid and fans of boxing won't be disappointed.

Full disclosure: I dislike Sports games almost as much as I dislike real professional sports. But after watching a few co-workers playing the original Fight Night, I figured I'd give it a chance. So I picked up Fight Night Round 2 and was not disappointed.

•• Gameplay ••
For those not familiar with the first Fight Night, it is a boxing game. It is similar to other fighting games in that your view is to the side of the fight. The controls are as simple as they can be given the different fighting options, but they are not exactly pick-up-and-play. Different combinations of holding the triggers while moving the thumbsticks. In a nutshell, the left thumbstick controls all aspects of moving, and the right thumbstick is your Total Punch Control. The buttons are for your signature punch, illegal punch, and taunt.

Total Punch Control is the use of the right thumbstick to direct which punches you want to deal by trying to replicate real punch movements. For example, a punch might require the user to pull back and then push forward while arcing up, simulating an uppercut. This works well most of the time, but if your game gets really twitchy and fast, you'll undoubtedly, do the wrong move, leading to comments from he judges and worse, a smack upside your head by your opponent. So the TPC gives a good simulation of punching, it can be difficult to master.

One of the new features of Version 2 is the Haymaker. In boxing terms, the Haymaker is a wild punch that an deal devastating damage. In Fight night Round 2, the Haymaker is dealt by winding up the punch and releasing. How far the punch is wound up and how fast the punch is dealt determines the damage which can be a one-shot KO is done right. Needless to say, in my hours of playing, I never got a one-shot KO from the Haymaker, but I certainly was victim to it.

The signature punch is a type of punch that you can buy after you complete certain trainings or earn enough money to buy in the career shop. You can have any one signature punch active per round, which is a little disappointing. It limits that variety of things you can do in each match.

The game modes include:

• Play Now: An instant action mode that lets you get right into a match
• Online play: more on that later...
• Career: The main part of the game as you raise your fighter from rookie to champ. In order to advance to actually fight in the match you have to prove your salt in the training sessions. You have the option of staying an amateur or going pro.
• Hard Hits: This is an arcadey version of the game that employs you to knock down your opponent as many times as possible in a timed event. it reminded me of Whack-a-Mole at Chuck E. Cheese.
• My Gym: The training area consists of mini-games to help build your skills. You go through a series of mini-game training sessions such as hitting the heavy bag, speed, and accuracy. Each game is a little different and focuses on core skills. When you successfully complete each training, your skill points increase as well as your physical stature.

In between rounds, there are more mini games. There's the a swap, a cold iron and a knife that you use to fix your fighter with. Since you have a limited time to do this, you have to be quick and choose the most important injuries to treat. Or if you hate this sort of micro-managing, you can hit auto and it will automatically fix the most important things. This is an interesting feature and really adds to the Sim-fell of the game. It's features that remind you that this is no regular fighting game. Boxing fans rejoice.

One of the cool things about the game is that you can be a variety of fighters including Ali, Frazier, Sugar Ray, and many others I've never heard of. If you're a boxing fan, then just being able to play each character with their own signature punches will be a loads of fun for you.

For those of us not into boxing, the gameplay was fun enough to make me forget that I was playing a sports game (which I should remind you that I hate). It feels more like a traditional fighting game than a sports game.

The AI is solid, with an acceptable ramp-up i difficulty as the game progresses. Fighter such as Ali are very tough, but it never feels like they cheat. It simply feels like he knows where your holes are and takes advantage of them. Kind of like Ali would have done if you were actually trying to fight him.

•• Graphics ••
The graphics of Fight night Round 2 are excellent. Each character is modelled with obvious faithful respect. The models are relatively detailed (as much as a bunch of semi-naked men can be) and high polygon. For those who are not geeky, this means they look more realistic and less blocky. The backgrounds are lush and detailed. There is a variety of places to fight including seedy gyms, Staples, Center, and Caesars. There are many lighting effects especially during each boxers intro scene for each match. Yes, the drama and pageantry of real boxing have been added complete with fire and lighting effects. In short, the graphics are excellent. The only complaint I would note is the occasional clipping which is commonplace for objects that are often close to together and supposedly making contact. But I've certainly seen worse clipping and this margin of error is acceptable. The other complaint is the transitions. The realism of the models is diminished when the boxers can snap from one animation to another in a blink. This gives the fighters a certain twitch that doesn't happen in real-life.

•• Sound ••
If you like the same 10 hip-hop songs over and over, you'll love the soundtrack. If you hate hip-hop, too bad. You can change it using custom soundtracks. The sound effects seem realistic, but my exposure to boxing is Rocky so I could be wrong. I will say that I often felt a certain oomph when someone laid a good punch. I know this is due in part to the sound effects. So in that regard, they were pretty effective. The voice-work consists of your trainer and the announcer with color commentary. The trainer is your basic grizzled coach who will grill you when you suck and encourage you when you're doing well. The commentary during the fights gets repetitive as there seem to be about 20 things he can say. And since he is talking almost constantly, you'll hear the same comments several times during any round. Also, does it make sense that that same commentator found at Staples Center would also be the heard at some run-down gym in the Bronx? A small detail, I know...

•• Multiplayer ••
I didn't spend a huge amount of time with MP, but luckily Fight Night Round 2 does support Live. All the basic features are here including friends, optimatch etc. There are no advanced features such as Halo's ranking/matchmaking service, but none are really needed. There was no noticeable lag, but then there weren't that many people online playing, Fighting games don't lend themselves to distant fighting. They tend to be more geared toward fighting your friend next to you on the couch so you can trash-talk in person. Regardless, the online arena was a suitable, though not terribly exciting venue.

•• Parents Should Know ••
This is a boxing sim, so there is obviously a lot of slugging about. There is some blood especially as the players get better. In between matches, the players faces are shown closeup. If they are particularly beat-up, this might not be something you want to expose your kids to.


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