The fifth member of EA Sport’s Fight Night series brings revisions to the analog “Full-Spectrum Punch Control,” small updates to the Legacy Mode career game, and a new story-based “Champion Mode.” Engine refinements, such as to the physics and damage models, have also been made.
In response to criticisms regarding Fight Night 4’s “Total Punch” controls, Champion ships with support for both face button control and “Full-Spectrum” control. This scheme uses the right analog stick to throw punches, while the left controls the boxer’s movements. In Champion, punches are now swung by tapping the right stick in one of eight directions – players no longer have to swipe circular movements for hooks or uppercuts. Players are also now able to keep their guard up and still throw punches. Stats also play a greater part in a fighter’s performance, and leveling up a punch unlocks perks along the way. These include “flash knockouts” and “flash knockdowns,” which have a chance to instantly send an opponent to the canvas (or an instant KO) every time that punch connects.
Two major gameplay changes are to stamina and Legacy training. Stamina is now tracked invisibly across the body, head, and both arms. Strain on any of these areas then affects the visible total stamina bar. If a player throws too many punches with the same hand, or takes too many hits to one area, their total stamina will drain faster. This further encourages playing defensively and mixing up strikes.
Legacy Mode is almost entirely unchanged. Players still create a boxer and manage his fight career, and allocate earned experience points to discreet areas of growth. The biggest change in Legacy Mode is to training. Players can now spend money to train at renowned gyms around the world, which specialize in specific areas. Training costs stamina, and players must manage the weeks before their fight with appropriate periods of training and rest, or they will enter the fight with reduced stamina.
Champion’s primary new feature is its title Champion Mode. This mode casts the player as Andre Bishop; a former Olympic middleweight champion who ends up in jail. The story follows Andre’s rise through the boxing ranks, reveals why he is sent to jail, and details his eventual release and attempted comeback. The story is told through cutscenes between around 20 controllable fights in Andre’s career. Aside from tasking the player to tackle the story as Andre (a defined boxer with no ability to change his training, strengths, or weaknesses), many of the fights also introduce temporary challenges that reflect the story. These range from having Andre made a knockout by a specific round, to playing with a cut eye, or injured arm. Opponents also have glaringly specific weakness or strengths, such as an opponent with a power left hook, which must be avoided at all costs.
Little has changed online, and players can still challenge others from around the world for a belt in the Online World Championships. The primary addition in the inclusion of online “gyms,” which are a team of players similar to a guild. Players in a gym can fight each other, or take on members of a rival gym for enhanced experience and trophies. Online play requires an Online Pass code from EA.