Real Boxing may just be one of the Vita’s punchiest titles yet. Already released as a mobile game late last year, the Vita version of the game features some noticeable changes to the control scheme and visuals, setting it apart from any version that has come before it.
Upon starting Real Boxing you have to create your own boxer to take into the ring. This opens up the customisation options, which allow you to change your fighter’s ethnicity, hair style, tattoo patterns, and attire. It’s not that extensive but it does allow for enough variation to create a distinguished boxer.
You will also be given upgrade points to spend on your fighter’s abilities: strength, stamina and speed. With upgrade points earned from each fight, and in-game credits, you will have to gradually improve these attributes. The better your boxer’s stats, the more likely you are to win a fight.
Real Boxing only features three tournaments in career mode, amounting to a total of 27 matches to fight your way through. The first tournament is fairly easy, with no opponent really giving you any hassle, but once you move onto the second tournament there is a huge step up in difficulty.
This means that you will have to backtrack and complete the previous tournament again for extra credits and upgrade points, or you will find yourself getting knocked out left right and centre. It’s a clever way of making sure the game isn’t all over too early.
As well as career mode, you can indulge in multiplayer fights, quick matches and occasional exercises at the gym. So, all in all there is a lot of content to twiddle your thumbs through – don’t be alarmed, that £7.99 price tag is justified.
When you do get into the ring, Real Boxing doesn’t disappoint at all. It’s fast paced, fluid and brutal. This makes the game a perfect pick up and play title. You can fill those spare ten minutes you have with some really exciting bursts of boxing.
You can throw a host of different punches from jabs, hooks to uppercuts, and when you do connect with your opponents face, you should expect some blood. As with the real sport, Real Boxing isn’t all about strength and throwing punches; you have to able to dodge and block and timing is essential. It is after all, a boxing simulator.
There is a big emphasis on countering your opponents attacks. If you pull off a successful counter, you will not only be rewarded with a staggering blow on your opponent’s health, but you’ll also see your stamina bar refilled.
If you throw a quick succession of punches your stamina will deplete fast, resulting in sluggish movement and weak hits. Only by avoiding further contact and successfully dodging will your stamina replenish, allowing you to again throw more robust jabs and hooks. As well as a stamina bar, you also have a health bar. Once your health bar reaches zero all you can do is watch as your dazed fighter stumbles to the floor.
A great deal of focus is required to play Real Boxing, especially for the more difficult fights that come later on. What also requires a little more graft is the clinching and KO mini-games. For example, if you get knocked down by an opponent you have to tap the left and right shoulder buttons in quick succession to regain your balance. The more times you get knocked down the harder it is to get back up. Sometimes it becomes near impossible to get back up, so you have to be careful not to damage your Vita in these circumstances
Real Boxing features two control schemes, with one using buttons and the other touch controls. The latter, however, restricts your movement and feels fiddly. The button controls, on the other hand, allow for more freedom, and are strongly recommended if you want the best experience, setting it apart from the mobile versions.
The game has come on leaps and bounds from the mobile versions in terms of visuals too. While the boxers may resemble Action Man figures with their perfect six packs and superhuman shoulder muscles, there has been a lot effort put into creating realistic body and arm movements, thought you can still expect some hiccups. The boxers even develop bruised cheeks and bleeding lips throughout fights, and the crowds are full of life; there is some great attention to detail.
Where Real Boxing does slightly disappoint is the voice of the ring announcer, which may sound like I’m nit-picking, but it is an important aspect of boxing in my eyes. The announcer just doesn’t build up any hype or excitement before a fight, and he also spouts out the same lines every single time.
- Improved visuals and control scheme over the mobile version.
- Fluid, fast paced fights.
- Perfect pick up and play title.
- Boxers look like Action Man figures.
- Ring announcer’s dialogue is poor.
- Occasional hiccups with animations.
As the first boxing game on the PS Vita, Real Boxing has set a high standard. It may not be anything ground-breaking but I feel the title should be regarded as one of the Vita’s best games yet. With vastly improved visuals, animations and control schemes over the mobile version, Real Boxing on the Vita is surely the best version of the game to get. Even with the stacks of content available, for me the game works best as a pick up and play title for those using their Vita on the go.
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