From the same stable that brought you the undisputed - and now retired - champion of boxing franchises that was Knockout Kings comes Fight Night 2004, a promising young heavyweight with some devastating new tricks hidden up its gloves. Like the KK titles, it features an array of top boxing talent from all weight divisions - both past and present - including Roy Jones Jr., Shane Moseley, Lennox Lewis, Mohammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Sugar Ray Leonard.
What makes Fight Night a true contender, however, is the unique 'Total Punch Control' system, which utilises the analog stick to deliver a much more natural-feeling blow. You'll also be able to duck, weave, block and counter punches from your opponent with the new, fully analog defence system.
You'll need to make the most of this flexible new system if you want to succeed in the challenging career mode, where you'll work hard to fight your way up from low-ranking chump to millionaire champ.
In a similar fashion to EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour series' 'Total Precision Swing' technique, Total Punch Control KOs digital button presses and gives you access to a full array of devastating straights, hooks and body blows using only the DualShock's right analog stick and shoulder buttons. Push the stick in a smooth diagonally up-left or up-right motion and you'll throw jabs; roll a quarter-circle from either side to forward for head-rattling hooks; sweep a full half-circle in either direction for chin-shattering uppercuts. To aim for the body, just combine these movements with a press of the L1 button.
Of course it's not going to be a one-sided fight, so you're going to have to learn to deal with your opponent's offence: move the left stick with L1 pressed and you'll gracefully sway out of the way of incoming punches, while combining R1 and the right analog stick lets you block and parry with ease.
This innovative gameplay is reinforced by EA Sports' now-trademark high production values: slick menus and licensed tunes from big name hip-hop MCs greet you before you've even entered the ring, and there's a deep, detailed create-a-boxer mode that will keep you occupied for hours. The standard continues once you've stepped into the squared circle, with uncannily authentic recreations of boxing's most familiar faces, slick replays, horrendously realistic facial damage, fully-animated 3D crowds and an eclectic array of highly-detailed arenas.
- Innovative 'Total Punch Control' system
- Detailed create-a-boxer mode
- Numerous 'training camp' minigames
- Features top talent from across the years, from Mohammad Ali to Roy Jones Jr