Support Ben, click to buy via us...
Fight Night Round 4 on 360 and PS3 is a great game. But I want to review just one aspect - Legacy Mode. This I found to be a perfectly adequate Career Mode, although something of an afterthought. After hours of training and fighting I eventually made it to be the Greatest of all Time, but I didn't feel any sense of achievement. Just nagging loss for all the time that I would never get back.
Fight Night Round 3 on both 360 and PS3 left a big imprint on me. I played it an awful lot when I had glandular fever and couldn't really do much else for a number of weeks. The controls were excellent, once mastered, and the game itself was stylised and excellently realised. So I was eager to get started with an all-new Legacy career mode in version four.
I chose to be Sergio Mora, winner of The Contender, a boxing based reality TV Show from the same mind that brought you Survivor and The Apprentice. It was hosted by Sylvester Stallone and I got mildly hooked on it around the same time that 24 sucked me in.
Sergio's nickname is the The Latin Snake because of his Hispanic roots and because he's very bendy, like a snake. He was the king of slipping punches. Of course, I never really followed the rest of his career, but a quick glance at his Wikipedia entry seems to suggest that he has not done badly.
Far too many times it felt like I was fighting in one of those bad dreams where you're trying to hit some baddy.
You start your in-game career with an amateur tournament - although against gargantuan men twice your size. However, the fights are limited to four rounds at this stage, so it's pretty hard to get knocked out. I won the tournament final by decision with relative ease, but with each round taking three minutes it was clear this was going to be a long, hard slog.
Your character starts off with pretty weak stats, which you develop through training in between fights. Unfortunately, you have to be pretty good at the training games, or else your character will suffer when it comes to fighting with some of the guys who are ranked highly.
Far too many times it felt like I was fighting in one of those bad dreams where you're trying to hit some baddy or other but you have no energy and all your punches are feeble, glancing off your enemy's invincible, smug face.
Training is a bit painful. You have six different mini-games to choose from, and if you don't play them then your character's stats will suffer. It's pretty tough to win. This adds to the sense of challenge, but can feel a bit frustrating as you never really feel like you're being rewarded for learning this particularly specific skill-set.
Fight Night Round 4 tries to keep you to a realistic schedule, so once your character hits his early 30s, if you haven't made it to be a champ yet, then you probably never will. This is incredibly disheartening once you realise how many game hours have now gone to waste - but perhaps that's also a testament to the realism of the experience.
I got a genuine surge of adrenaline every time I stunned one of my opponents
Having said all that, the game is incredibly addictive. I got a genuine surge of adrenaline every time I stunned one of my opponents, Sergio would be given a boost to his stamina and I knew that I was about to knock the other guy down. I guess that feeling is what kept me playing. Fight after fight.
Ultimately, I made it. I was crowned Greatest of All Time, and then I decided to finish my career with one more fight with Joe Calzaghe, my chief rival, to seal the deal. It was hard earned, but finished with an unfussy and decisive Latin-uppercut in the ninth round. After that I retired immediately, excited to see what my legacy would bring me.
What rewards would I reap for all that effort? The answer was disappointingly realistic – I had nothing to show for all my efforts. Not even a tragic cutscene. I switched the game off and decided that was enough for me. Legacy mode, done.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: