I had a bit of a double feature this past weekend, taking in the new Blu-Ray Disc movie, “Rocky Balboa,” from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on my PlayStation 3 and then following that up with some interactive pugilism on Electronic Arts’ “Fight Night Round 3.” For those wondering, yes, there are a pair of “Rocky” games on Xbox and PS2, as well as a new “Rocky Balboa” game on PSP, but they all are pretty bad. And since I did like the “Rocky” movies (except for the fifth installment), I felt like following up Rocky’s swan song with a great boxing game.
While most ports from Xbox 360 to PS3 actually look better on Microsoft’s console, “Fight Night Round 3” holds its own. One of the coolest things about this game is a new first-person perspective fight mode that’s exclusive to the Sony title. Pictured above, it literally puts you inside the boxer–and considering the fact that you can play as just about any of the greatest fighters of all time–that’s enough to satisfy a post-“Rocky” high.
When I interviewed Oscar de la Hoya last year he actually said he plays this game as part of his training. Granted, he’s a big gamer. He spent $1,500 to get an Xbox 360 at launch, but it also shows just how realistic this franchise has become. The way the boxers move and punch is exactly how they behave in the real ring.
Anyone who’s seen the latest “Rocky” movie knows that its a computer simulation that pits the in-his-prime Rocky Balboa against the current heavyweight champion, Mason Dixon. Essentially, a videogame simulation, which the filmmakers created using motion-capture like “Fight Night,” shows that Rocky would have one. This leads to the 60 year-old boxer coming out of retirement to take on a champion a quarter of his age. I won’t give away the ending, but it does work. (An alternate ending shows why by offering the other alternative.) As long as I’m talking about this film, the 1080p picture brings every drop of blood and sweat from the monster punches right into your living room. This is a great movie to watch in high definition with surround sound to pump up that theme song.
Back to the videogame. “Fight Night Round 3” brings that same high definition intensity to the table, but it puts you in control of the action. You’re Muhammad Ali dancing around the ring in his prime. And you can pit any of the classic fighters against current day favorites, just like in the “Rocky” scenario. This makes for great gameplay as skills and styles from multiple decades can be played against each other, ultimately putting the outcome in the hands of gamers. Fighting has never been as fun as it is in this game, and it’s never looked so real.