Thank you South Park for summing up my feelings as of last night ever so succinctly.
For those that might be unaware, I’ve been trying on and off to beat Isaac Frost (the final boss of Fight Night Champion) for a good long while now.
As detailed here and maybe not for very much longer here, fighting the guy is a complex affair involving straight up boxing simulation gameplay, and a hokey round to round array of pre-arranged objectives.
That is to say, as much as you’d like to just go out and fight Frost like you would any other fighter in the game, the dramatic nature of the story mode forces you to accomplish certain tasks from round to round, thereby robbing the fight of the organic nature that makes Fight Night Champion such a satisfying experience.
Despite the awkward nature of the gameplay aspect of the fight, from a presentation standpoint, it’s actually quite absorbing at times.
Unlike normal exhibition or vs. matches in the game, the story mode fights make use of ambient music and contextual music cues, resulting in the fight with Frost feeling genuinely cinematic at times.
As frustrated as I was at times, every time the heavy percussion of Isaac Frost’s theme would kick in as he landed a big punch on me, I really felt the tension bearing down on me.
That being said, as annoying as it was to be unable to beat Frost for so long, easily the most annoying part of the whole thing stems from how I actually went about defeating him for the first time.
When you finally beat a tough challenge, especially in a videogame, you expect to feel a sense of accomplishment, of pride for your achievement.
I didn’t get that.
Instead, I learned that all these months I’d been defeated, not by Frost; but by the programmers over at EA Canada’s poor choice of wording.
Before the 3rd round, your trainer tells you to land “power shots” to the body.
At the beginning of said round, the objective listed on-screen reads “Land power shots to the body.”
Do you see where I’m going with this?
In Fight Night Champion, there is a substantial difference between power shots, and regular punches.
Power shots are slower, cannot be thrown in combination, and make use of a modifier button to execute.
That is to say, they are a specialized tool to be used with moderation and caution.
From the 3rd to the 5th round of the fight, I was under the impression that I was being told to land 75 power shots to Isaac Frost’s midsection.
Just to clarify, that’s a fuck ton of power shots, making for a fuck ton of opportunities for Frost to capitalize on the slow speed and recovery time of said punches.
Staying on your feet trying to land 75 power shots inside of 9 minutes against Isaac Frost is like trying to ice skate uphill when there ain’t no ice.
In short, it just doesn’t work.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered, by accident, that despite the specific use of the term “power shot” being utilized both in the dialogue of a cutscene and by the in-game text objective; I was not in fact required to use them.
Truth be told, I wasn’t really that mad per se, really I was just kind of surprised at how easy Frost was once I learned that.
For awhile now I’ve thought of him as one of the harder bosses I’ve fought in gaming, but now that I know how he’s supposed to be fought, he’s almost disappointingly wimpy.
Sure, he’s still got the power to put you down at any time in the fight, but I’m pretty fuckin’ good at Fight Night, so once you’re “allowed” to go on the offensive against him, I put him away just like any other bum.
I just think it’s so funny that, like seemingly everything in life, I made Isaac Frost so much harder than he actually was.
I struggled for days trying to find ways to slip in and out using nothing but power shots, but to no avail.
Believe it or not, I actually got good enough at fighting him that way that I routinely came within a few punches and seconds of being able to land the 75 punches required to advance in the fight.
In a way, I kind of wish my interpretation of the Isaac Frost gameplan was real, as it made for one helluva’ challenge, but one that I likely could’ve achieved with enough practice.
So there you have it:
Isaac Frost < The Shitty Writers Over at EA Canada.