Any boxing fan is bound to have had countless discussions about great bouts that never could have been. Fight Night Round 4, which features 48 of the greatest fighters throughout the sport's history, makes many of them possible, including one of the most intriguing, namely Mohammed Ali vs. Mike Tyson.
Would Ali's reach and speed keep 'Iron' Mike at bay or would 'The Baddest Man on the Planet' get inside and unleash a decisive right hand? This contrast in styles is what gives the game so much depth, as if you want to succeed against tougher opponents, you'll need to devise a solid game plan and stick to it. So, if you're fighting as Lennox Lewis, you'll want to keep popping away with the long jab, while if Ricky Hatton's your man, you'll need to slip around the side of your opponent's jab and work the body.
This is all made possible by the incredibly realistic control scheme, which is easy to pick up and very intuitive. The left stick on the Wireless Controller moves your boxer, while the right stick controls his punches. A forward push, slightly to the left, produces a left jab, for example. Hooks and uppercuts are pulled off with quarter-circles and half-circles respectively. You can weave and block using the L1 and R1 buttons and doing so successfully gives you a short window to throw a counter while your opponent's guard is down.
You'll need to master these skills if you want to claim world titles in Legacy Mode, which lets you take either your favourite fighter or one you have created from obscurity to bright lights, fame and fortune.
You can schedule fights in your calendar, rising through the ranks to take on the greats. As you progress, you'll go from Bum, to Contender, all the way to The Greatest of all Time. But beware: a fighter lives and dies by his record, so if you pick up losses early in your career, they're with you for life. Every boxer reaches the point where they need to hang up their gloves, so be sure to make an impact quickly if you want to go all the way. Training is a good place to start and in between bouts you can improve your skills by playing one of six training mini-games.
For ultimate realism when creating a boxer, you can use the EA Sports Game Face feature, which allows you to upload a photograph of yourself - or anyone else - either via easports.com or in-game, using the PlayStation Eye Camera.
As with all EA Sports titles, there's a full suite of online options, including Ranked Matches; World Championship, where you can use your created fighters to compete for belts; and Boxer Share, which lets you download created boxers from users across the globe.
Fight Night Round 4 is the most realistic boxing simulation to date, with everything from the 48 boxers' stats to the sweat and blood dripping down their foreheads, lovingly created. The depth of gameplay afforded by the control scheme and Legacy Mode make it essential for big fight fans, while the accessibility of the controls mean anyone can pick up a Wireless Controller and start swinging.
Check out the demo on PlayStation Store and lace up a pair of gloves as either Ricky Hatton or Manny Pacquiao.