Fight Night: Round 3, the follow up to Fight Night: Round 2, was recently released on Xbox 360. (Other versions are coming).  I really enjoyed Fight Night: Round 2 even though I'm not a huge boxing fan, so I was pretty excited about this release.

FN:R2 was also one of the prettier Xbox games, undoubtedly made easier since there are only two models to worry about. As you might expect, Round 3 doesn't disappoint in the graphics department either. Wow. Fight Night Round 3 is one visually stunning game.

From a gameplay perspective, the Round 3 is pretty similar to Round 2 with a few minor (but important) improvements.

The major difference is the elimination of the HUD. Instead of a health meter on the screen, your health and energy are communicated through visual and aural cues (much like King Kong or Call of Duty 2). This definitely makes for a more immersive experience.

The AI has been improved so that it adapts to your strategy. If you go to the well too often with the same move or combo, the computer will learn and counter it.  It makes the game a little more fun and realistic, but it's still not perfect.  Career mode is fun with the addition of rivalries and a general expansion on the story mode.

The most fun comes from playing real people. Online is great, but it's even better in person.  This is a great game to have people over and play. Gameplay is especially conducive to that since you don't need a split-screen like a FPS or worry about play calling like Madden.

The polish is also evident. Round 3 looks next-gen but it also feels more of a complete game compared to, say, Madden. It doesn't feel rushed.

The soundtrack is great, but like all of these games gets a bit repetitive after an hour. Fortunately, the Xbox 360 lets you replace the in-game music with your own soundtrack, so this isn't too much of an issue.  The announcing is ok. As I mentioned, you have to rely more on the announcer this year than you did in the past. My big complaint is that the announcer refers to the fighters by nicknames (except for the famous fighters). I would really prefer mixing it up a little, using the first and last names instead of just saying "The Beast".

Unless you're a huge boxing fan, I wouldn't recommend this on current gen systems if you already have Fight Night Round 2 - the gameplay improvements are not that great. That said, this may be a must-have next-gen title right now.

I've rented it for now but I will probably keep it. The only thing holding me back at this point is that I have 9 games from launch (+ DOA4) and I only really play Call of Duty 2 and Madden consistently.

All in all, I would probably give the game an 88 out of 100.

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