The release of this title is quite interesting. While cashing in on the Rocky Balboa movie as a PSP exclusive the game is really more of an overall look at the entire Rocky franchise with all the major fights recreated for this title including those against Apollo Creed, Ivan Drago and Clubber Lang.
There are several game modes in this title - a couple of which will keep you playing for quite some time. First up is Mickey's Corner which is basically a tutorial mode with over 30 information cards to learn how to improve your skills. The Exhibition mode allows you to play an exhibition fight while the Historical Fight allows you to play through all the big fights in the Rocky movies. When you win the bout you can then play it again as the opponent. The other main single player mode is Fast Lane which contains 90 fights of varying length (1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes or 10 minutes) with a series of different scenarios to complete such as knocking out your opponent, or managing to last the fight without being KO'd. Finally Rocky Balboa also has multi-player which allows 2-players to fight in a wireless mode.
Also important is the mood of your boxer. Should you string together a series of effective punches then you'll enter a power mode where your boxer becomes much more powerful for a period of time. If your opponent enters a power mode then it's time to watch out as it won't take too long before you could be hitting the canvas.
There are some disappointments with Rocky Balboa. The biggest of these is simply that there is no career mode. Sure this is a game with quite a bit of content, and you can relive all the historic fights, but there is no way to follow Rocky though the entire process of training or entering sparring sessions before entering the fights. I also found the way in which you recover from being knocked down as annoying to say the least. Basically you have to stabilize the fighter using the analogue sliding stick, but it's so hard to time everything that you'll more times then not be KO'd far too easily.
Graphically Rocky Balboa is a bit of a mixed bag. Importantly the fighters all look quite wonderful with some solid enough animations, but besides that there's little else. Crowds are rather sparse and besides the ring there's little else to look at. Each of the fights does include a clip introducing the event which is nice.
Audio is, of course highlighted by the wonderful Bill Conti score used in the movies. It's always great to hear the Rocky theme song and it is frequently used in this title. Less impressive are the sound effects which are limited and the commentary which does become repetitive rather quickly.
Overall Rocky Balboa is a solid title with some fun boxing, but ultimately a title that also fails to capture the potential of the license. Not including a career mode is criminal given the long movie linage to draw from and the way you recover from being knocked down is quite terrible.