The most impressive things about Fight Night Round 4 are the collision detection and the physics. This isn't the first time you're hearing us say this, but it really is that good. What's particularly fun is using the new instant replay system to watch them in action. In FNR3, you'd often see your gloves partially clip through an opponent, or you'd run into the invisible, limiting "physics wall" in the game that aimed to prevent clipping. Now, the game seems to have a better grasp of where your punches are going, with the physics reacting much more believably. We saw Frazier's head literally push our glove out of the way several times, and in one instance our grazing arm mashed Frazier's nose out of the way instead of just passing through it. It might sound minor, but once you see it in action, you'll be wondering why every game doesn't handle collisions this well. You'll also see rippling gloves and rippling muscles this time around, both of which are new addition to the physics system. Mmm, ripples.
The controls have also been revamped: you'll no longer need to pull the left trigger to perform body blows, as that's been mapped to the lower half of the right stick. As a whole, the controls feel a lot more intuitive, and without any tutorials, we were able to go from "Er... what's this do?" to "Hey, nice punch!" in just about 10 minutes. It'll still take awhile to master, and a skilled opponent can quickly punish you if you don't master blocking, but it feels a lot more solid than FNR3 did. Be warned: It's not as easy to get a knockout in this version, balancing minigame will allow you or your opponent a chance to stay upright.
Fight Night Round 4 feels exactly like what the last game should have been, which, frankly, just boiled down to nifty slow-mo shots of flying blood and saliva. The game will be out next month for Xbox 360 and the PS3, and while we played the 360 version, we received the standard party line, telling us that both versions would look and feel identical.
Great to hear some positive previews of this game. I personally can't wait for it to come out even though I'm still a little bummed some of my favorite fighters *cough* Marquez *cough* won't be in it. Fingers crossed that they'll be made available via online DLC. It looks like they really revamped the game from the ground up. I haven't played FNR3 in a long time but that was one of my favorite games when I first purchased my Xbox360. Combat Sports fans should be satisfied for a while now with FNR4 and UFC 2009 Undisputed coming out in the coming weeks.