Well, I was not lucky enough to find a copy of Fight Night Round 3 on 360 last week to rent, but on Friday there was one available at the local Blockbuster so I picked it up. I won't bore you with many details about the game because my thoughts are much the same as Dubious Quality and Sports Gamer have.
The graphics are fantastic, although I don't have an HDTV as of yet. Even with the 1.85:1 screen on my regular square TV I have to say the graphics are really good. I do feel sorry for anyone with a smaller square television though. The game is presented in 1.85:1 mode and so it doesn't take up the whole screen. Obviously if you have an HDTV your jaw will drop over this game, but a regular TV will work just fine.
After some time with Fight Night Round 3 I'm not sure it is better than last year's iteration. I'm not sure why EA got rid of the ranking system and put in the stupid "popularity bar". You have no clue when you choose a contract that you would be able to vault up the meter unless it actually says, "your popularity will increase with a win" tied to the contract. The mini-games are actually more stupid than last year's ones. You also can now only choose a trainer and you don't pick a cutman and escort(s) like you did last year. They added a Rivals mode as well, although it is poorly implemented. When you start your career the computer will pick your rival and you won't know who it is until you meet him.
Gameplay has been tweaked, for better and worse, since last year. The haymakers take longer to land and to me it seems as if the AI is a bit dumber this time around. I play the Fight Night games mostly by myself and Round 3 has the same problem Round 2 had: after a while it gets boring. Getting out of the amateur ranks goes pretty fast this year, but when you get into the pro ranks you find that it takes a lot of fights to get a championship opportunity. As Dubious Quality (linkes to actual post) pointed out, it took Bill over 30 fights to get a championship bout. There is a way to know when you have a championship bout though as the title icon above the contract will light up although if you don't look right at those icons you wouldn't know. Halving the amount of fights would make this game more appealing to a player that plays alone, although the developer is thinking more fights = more gametime. The game AI isn't good enough to challenge you though and you get bored after a while with winning almost every round and then beating your opponent to a pulp later on.
I would not recommend buying Fight Night Round 3 on Xbox 360 unless you have never played the series or you want great graphics and gameplay. I'd recommend renting it because it isn't worth blowing $60 on. I have yet to play this game online, but I do hear that is one of the saving graces for the game and I wouldn't be surprised about that as long as there is no lag.
I'm not into the whole ratings thing anymore on reviews and I'd rather recommend or not recommend games (to buy or rent) to people instead of give it an arbitrary number. My next review is coming up.