Fight Night 4
(Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Electronic Arts (developer and publisher)
While there may be fewer pure boxing fans these days, the diehards have little doubt that the fight game is pretty good. Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao, Paul Williams, Miguel Cotto, and even Pretty Boy Floyd are stepping back into the ring.
So it makes perfect sense that Fight Night 4 is shaping up to be the best FN game ever. Its smoother viewing (60 frames/sec compared with the 30 frames of FN3), more accurate when punches land, offers better effects (a punch to the right eye will produce a cut right where you landed the blow this time), and we finally have the dream fight: Mike Tyson vs. Muhammad Ali - in their prime.
Controls are similar to previous games (left stick moves, right stick throws blows), but in this game it is easier to effectively bob and weave and the moves look better, too. The last game had fighters who looked like they had intestinal troubles.
EA has added a blocking meter to this game, making gamers fight instead of looking like a ring bum getting a cheap payday. Another tweak to make gamers more active is that the between-rounds machinations to repair a fighter's face are gone. During each round, you can earn points to spend in order to repair the damage done to your body.
Boxers will also conform to style. Lennox Lewis won't be able to stand there and slug, but will be more successful using his heavy jab to set up hooks and uppercuts. Tyson will hammer a fighter at distance so you better bob and weave your way inside, digging to the body, and throwing those brain-liquefying uppercuts.
The available lineup includes almost every legendary boxer - Joe Frazier, Roberto Duran, Roy Jones Jr., George Foreman, you name it. Pac-Man is in the game but sadly, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is not. Guess we will have to wait in real time for that one.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
(Xbox 360, PS3, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, Wii)
Games tied to movie franchises are leaps and bounds better than they used to be. For example, does anyone remember the Superman game? Didn't think so.
Activision's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen looks like it will take a good stab at re-creating the mechanical mayhem of the big screen, as players choose sides when the Decepticons come back for a chance to be victorious this time around.
That's right, this campaign can be played through as an Autobot or a Decepticon, and on a per-mission basis. Autobot followers can use Optimus Prime, Iron Hide, Breakaway, Bumblebee, and Ratchet, not to mention other new multiplayer-only Autobots. Decepticons have Starscream, Long Haul, Grinder, new bot Sideways, and of course, Megatron. The Decepticons also have new bots in multiplayer.
There are a number of multiplayer modes but the one that stands out is "One Shall Stand." Simply put, either Optimus or Megatron has to perish to determine a winner. Every other team member can respawn except them.
Chaos personified, it seems.
Some gamers may be wary of this title because of some control issues and a lack of long-term gameplay in the first Transformers game. Those doubters should at least give this one a rent.
It "more than meets the eye," for sure.