Gameplay: 8 / 10
Graphics: 10 / 10
Replay Value: 8 / 10
Sound and Music: 10 / 10
Developed by the team behind the critically-acclaimed Fight Night franchise, EA Sports’ UFC steps into the ring to take on the world of mixed-martial arts (MMA) with a heavy hook.
Boasting exceptional nextgen graphics (with realistic skin textures, blood spatter, cinematic introductions), it’s hard not to mistake the game for the real thing. And that isn’t a joke or an oversell either. It’s that remarkable. What’s more, the games sturdy gaming mechanics brings the action into the confines of your living room with flair. You will believe you are controlling Frank Mir, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones and even the legendary Bruce Lee. Every punch and kick is designed to impressive fans and staunch gamers.
The road that led to EA Sports UFC’s creation has been anything but smooth. When UFC President sought to launch a partnership with EA a few years ago, he didn’t get a positive response. This led to the creation of THQ’s Undisputed series, followed by EA Sports’ MMA. Of course, THQ’s bankruptcy has paved away for a new collaboration. And boy was it worth the wait.
Every single licensed fighter in the game has been created from high resolution 3D head and body scans to deliver revolutionary character likeness and authenticity. Powered by EA SPORTS IGNITE, new facial animation technology delivers more expression, emotion and will communicate greater sense of awareness and intelligence in the Octagon™.
Even if you can sense Fight Night’s DNA in the presentation, powered by EA Sports Ignite game engine, UFC feels “alive” and authentic. EA has boasted that the engine allows in-game players to “think like real athletes” and UFC truly showcases this achievement – the lines between video game and real-world presentation blur. It brings the diversity, power and fluidity of attacks to life through Precision Movement, Dynamic Striking and Stategic Submission Battles.
PRECISION MOVEMENT – the Precision Movement locomotion system grounds the fighters, eliminating unrealistic slipping and sliding across the canvas. More realistic physics-driven movement delivers more realistic action as the overall transfer of energy from the ground up delivers more impactful and believable strikes and takedowns.
DYNAMIC STRIKING – A dynamic environment allows you to pull off jaw-dropping moves using the Octagon™, including roundhouse kicks, superman punches and much more. Combine those abilities with the best striking technology in the industry and that one perfect strike could change the fight.
STRATEGIC SUBMISSION BATTLES – Like the real sport, in EA SPORTS UFC fighters will work through multiple stages as they work to advance or escape from a fight-ending submission.
The developers have successfully incorporated an array of fighting styles including kickboxing, Muay Thai, boxing, mixed martial arts, Karate, wrestling, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, Tae Kwon Do and many more. But if it is your first introduction to UFC or any of the EA fighting games, be prepared to fumble the controls. Button-mashing will get you nowhere. UFC is all about strategy as you balance your attacks and blocks. There are a large number of well mapped button combinations (involving both analog sticks, all the triggers and buttons) required to do strikes, takedowns and maneuvers. This might leave some players overwhelmed. But alas, practice makes perfect. The games training modes are sufficient enough to get any gamer up to scratch and winning fights in no time. If your experience of the fighting genre is limited to arcade brawlers you’re going to have a tough time here. There no special moves. It’s a combination of your instinct, your strategy and your skill set that will win you the fight.
Unfortunately, the game also has a few negatives. The game’s storyline lets the title down quite a bit. While it’s exciting to win fights and challenges, you can’t help but wonder what a stronger story or more variety could have added to the experience. Amidst the lack of story, there are also lengthy loading times. For a nextgen game, UFC takes quite long to load between fights and even move between menus. These are all tidbits that need working in upcoming releases.
Overall, UFC is jaw-droppingly impressive. These are the most realistic characters ever created in a sports game. While it certainly isn’t an easy game to play, UFC does reward perseverance. Once you’ve mastered the controls and dealt with the long loading times, you’ll find yourself coming back for more and more, over and over again.