I tried the demo and it made me buy the full game the following day. The graphics are stunning, the models are lifelike, faces distort with every blow and sweats glisten like a swimmer. The AI (except the ones in the career mode) is somehow diversified according to fighter's real behaviour ( Barrera will try to dodge most of your head punches while El Terrible waits for you to strike first returns it with a counter haymaker.) you won't be using the same strategy to each and every one of them.
The blocking, though a bit overpowered, is perfectly balanced but the parries is not as rewarding as it should be. I wish the stun effect after the parry should be longer and the signature is much more powerful to deter players who slug their way to victory by relentless punches and fighters will have a fighting chance against pound for pound pugilists like Roy Jones Jr.. Otherwise, even the newbies can win in this game. Despite my numerous counters my friend still managed to put me on the mat by knuckle spamming.
Some of the modern day heroes from Pacqiuao to De la Hoya to Hopkins along with some veterans from Sugar Ray Robinson to Holyfield are modelled and motion captured nicely. But some of legends like Foreman, Tyson, and Lennox were pretty crossed out in the roster yet they included Vicente Escobedo, come on, he never even reached 20+ wins yet.
Playing online, though the lacking different modes, is surprsingly deep thanks to the game's full control scheme. Punching with right analog stick makes you hate button mashing even more. Every button is assigned to every move you could possibly need in the game, from signature punches to clinches to illegal blows. Yet amazingly, the control doesn't alienate first time players, you will be giving facial makeovers to your enemies the moment you picked up the controller. By the way, where's the "bite ear" button?
It may not be big leap from "round 2" but it is the first Fight Night and the only boxing game for next gen systems and it will inspire a lot of competitions in the later years, my bet would be from 2k Games. For now, it is the best fighting game for Xbox 360.
+ Stunning lifelike graphics
+ Distinct AI behaviours
+ Friendly controls
+ Nice set of pugilists
+ Surprising deep multiplayer gameplay (matter of opinion)
- Except the cheap Career AI
- Underwhelming parry system
- Underpowered signature punches
- Some legends are MIA