Review: Fight Night Round 4

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Images of a youthful Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali tell you almost everything you need to know about Fight Night Round 4, the latest edition of EA’s boxing franchise.

Those two fighters set the tone for the whole game, making it a feel like a playful romanticizing of the sweet science that focuses on boxing’s past while relying on players’ creativity to bolster the present — because let’s be honest, unless you’re a huge fan of the lighter-weight divisions, the present isn’t that great.

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Being like Mike in Fight Night Round 4

I’m always going to remember the mid-to-late ’80s. It was a simple time for me, and a lot of people my age (I’m 30). School was easier, life issues were easier … and if you wanted to know who the best person was at almost anything, there’s a chance his first name was Mike, and there was a chance he had an unearthly talent.

You had young Michael Jordan building his mythos through the air. You also had the other MJ, dubbed the “King of Pop” and always a moonwalk away from another chart-dominating piece of work.

Then, there’s this guy:

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I can’t remember anyone who seized my attention more when I was younger than Iron Mike Tyson. Jordan soared, Jackson dazzled, but there was something about Tyson’s contained feral energy that captivated me and millions of other people. As a gamer, the only real taste we had was in Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, and he was a boss battle.

All this sentiment is why Fight Night Round 4 was especially important for me. I had a thought in my head that maybe I didn’t need to invest myself into it as much, since my fighting jones would be sated with UFC: Undisputed. I was kidding myself: UFC’s a fine game, but I don’t remember watching those dudes when I was 10. I remembered Tyson, and I wanted to see if EA was watching the same guy.

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