Victory Road – GAME REVIEW
Victory Road is a sophisticated boxing management simulator. Fights will be lost. Meals will be eaten. Injuries will be sustained. The real question is how long will your patience for success run before this simulator tires you out?
Looking like an early days Super Nintendo Game, Victory Road has a simple formula. You are the trainer for a boxer of your choosing. Day by day, you plan almost every action your boxer takes from the meals he eats to the boxers he will face. All the while, you keep tabs on his mood, his weight, his boxing attributes, and other little details. Ultimately, you are the head of a boxing gym and the boxer you train is your cash cow.
The ‘action’ in Victory Road is broken into three distinct parts. You train, ‘work a hot dog stand’ for money, and work the corner for your fighter. Each part of Victory Road’s structured days require something a little different.
As the ‘meat’ of the planning and strategy of Victory Road, training is where you flex your decision making. When you train, you work out all of your planning and tactics for your boxer. You decide what meals he eats and pay for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is important because it affects what exercises you can do efficiently. Eat the wrong things and your workouts and boxer’s mood suffer. You then get to choose what workouts to focus on. This ‘levels up’ specific attributes for your boxer. You also choose what basic AI the boxer fights with (slugger, infighter, outfighter), what combos he uses, and what equipment he wears.
As the main strategic part of the game, the daily training really flies by. As you select fights and push your boxer in training, all kinds of options and information whirls by. When you start out, you’ll get into a groove of just building up specific attributes until you get the hang of realizing what style you want your boxer to specialize in. Once you do so, the game even tells you that some attributes are more valuable than others. Of course you have to take a few lumps in fights before you realize it though.
This part of the game alone is very satisfying. As you balance how much money you have and need to make, you make decisions on buying gear, upgrading the gym, making money outside of fighting, and plenty more. Victory Road excels in really making you feel like each day you are making progress.
The next part of the game is the hot dog stand. While this seems like a frivolous addition to the game, the typing tutor style puzzler breaks up the monotony of the strategy a bit. It is a fun little sidebar that, when mastered, can really tally up the dollars for your boxer to use.
The last part of the game is the fights themselves. Technically, you sit and watch your fighter execute, but from ringside you can suggest offensive and defensive maneuvers at certain points. When special moves are available you can also activate them as well. These are based upon you choosing them for your fighter though. While this phase of the game isn’t like a traditional fighter, the graphics and sound effects really do a great job of highlighting damaging moves, wicked combos, or moments when your fighter learns a combo. The fights are lots of fun and your strategy and timing for when you call for certain moves feel rewarding when they pay off and horrible when they do not. Victory Road really shines here and provides a very unique but somehow familiar feel via how it looks and sounds in this mode.
Playing management simulators like Victory Road require a special kind of gamer. Those who enjoy the challenge of strategy and planning more than button mashing and quick reactions will salivate over games like Victory Road. Being a successful boxer in this game requires you to change tactics, plan meals, budgeting, and luck. Thankfully, there is enough content and variation within the game to really pull you into all that it offers, and that’s quite a bit.