So my most recent holiday game was: Fight Night Round 3 on PSP. (Not that I go on holiday to sit inside and play games, but there are odd moments when the opportunity arises, and the flight, of course).

I’ve been after a boxing game for a while, but options are extremely limited on PC, with EA declining to even knock out half-arsed ports of their console boxing titles (I’m sure they’ve done their sums) which leaves, well, very little actually.

Fortunately, half-arsed ports are what the PSP does best. It’s normally a good bet that you’ll get a cut-down version of an existing PS2 title, particularly if it’s a multi-format sports games from a behemoth like EA, which is probably a bit of a raw deal when you’re putting down £30 a time, but expectations are significantly reduced when it’s a case of hunting the second-hand shelves with a handful of pocket-change to spare.

Graphics and sound stand up pretty well, but it seems as if some compromises with the control scheme have had to be made to allow for the PSP’s lack of a second analogue stick. Which basically means that, here, punching is pretty easy, but blocking and parrying is pretty damned difficult.

So far, it’s been fairly enjoyable stuff, although progress has been pretty trouble-free considering I haven’t got a clue how to defend myself properly (and this is on medium difficulty, before you ask). The controls are partly to blame, although I think it would be also fairly difficult for you to anticipate where punches were coming from in time to pull off the more effective parrying manoeuvres even if you had a joypad at your disposal.

The result is that recent fights have largely resembled the Rocky movies, rather than any real boxing match I’ve ever seen, with huge punches landing left, right and centre, and both fighters taking one hell of a beating before they actually a) get knocked down and b) give up the ghost.

Another problem is that you have to give your boxer a macho nickname (selected from around 15 presets), only to discover that many of your opponents seem to share it with you. This makes for some confusing in-fight commentary: [whirr]…”THE BEAST is taking a beating from…[whirr]…THE BEAST” (yes, I know it’s a silly name, but it’s boxing – there aren’t any modest options).

On the plus side, it does most things a casual fan of boxing like me could ask for, with a lengthy career mode that offers the chance to indulge in some of the more ridiculous aspects of the sport (adding silly tattoos to your chest, paying for fireworks and an entourage to accompany your entrance) as you battle your way up the rankings. One thing I might have liked a little more of is something that does a little more to capture the media pantomime that accompanies real-life boxing – smack-talk in the press and at the weigh-in, post-bout reactions etc.

On the other hand, that might well be a gimmick too far, and there is something to be said for sports games not trying to shoehorn in a narrative in an attempt to add drama to proceedings. If you just leave the player to get on with things, then the events of their own game provide enough of a story – heroes, villains, rivalries – without it being bolted on artificially.

The same argument could be made to explain why sporting films are generally crap. Driven may be terrible, but I’d argue that you’d have a hard time coming up with a non-clichéd script based on any sport. Sporting documentaries, or biopics, on the other hand, do a lot better job by using the real events and stories and re-telling them.

Anyway, what were we talking about? Oh yeah – Fight Night on PSP. It’s quite good, although not, I suspect, as good as it could be. Which is a pretty good summary of my feelings towards EA Sports titles in general.