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Heavyweight Graphics, but EA UFC doesn't put up much of a fight
on 5 January 2015
The long anticipated EA UFC game looks the part, but the lack of game modes and complicated controls really hurt the overall feeling of value of this game.
It boasts the best graphics I have personally ever seen in video gaming. The attention to detail on most of the fighters in this game is jaw-dropping. "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey always looks means, Anthony "Showtime" Pettis' uneven jawline is on show and even relative newcomer "The Notorious" Conor McGregor looks like his real life counterpart, right down to his gorilla chest tattoo. I wish other sports games would take note of this level of detail.
Sadly though, the looks are about the high point of this game and as weird as it sounds, for the £15 I paid for this, the graphics made it strangely worth it. I want more graphics like this in my games.
The game boasts a basic "fight now" mode which is your typical "exhibition" mode found in most sports games, if not all.
It has a career mode which is very bare bones. You fight your way from The Ultimate Fighter (UFC's own reality TV show), to the under cards of UFC events and eventually fight for titles while picking up new sponsors along the way and having to tediously do training mini games to afford points to spend on your stats or special moves. The career mode leaves a lot to be desired and has a none-existent story. Unless you count awkward pre-recorded video messages from fighters and UFC president Dana White as a story. Which I don't.
The game has an online mode where you are matched up with people based on your skill level and fight. That is it.
I understand that there is very little that EA could have done with a sport which is primarily a 1v1 contest but I would have preferred more interactivity and maybe a story similar to "Fight Night: Champion". Especially with the antics of The Ultimate Fighter house, where there is often drama. I feel like they missed the boat big time.
The gameplay is also a disconnect, I am lucky enough to be blessed with the ability to pick up games fairly easily and be able to play them at an average standard but even I had a couple of problems with the way that this game is laid out:
MMA is a complex sport, it involves a mixture of several fighting styles and in 2014, you can not just rely upon one. But, the average player of this game isn't an MMA fighter, they want to be able to play as their favourite brawlers and look good doing it. The "striking" system is complex, filled with several different buttons to hold in order to land certain punches or kicks. The "blocking" system is basic, up until you have to begin incorporating dodging into your technique in order to land better punches. The "grappling" system is also a strange one, sometimes buttons work, sometimes they don't, but there are so many different ways to grapple with people on the ground that it is hilarious when you realise that as long as you basically spam the "get up" button, you'll be back to your feet in moments. The "submission" mini game is annoying at best, you find yourself not wanting to submit people because of how stupid it seems. All of my friends feel this way as well about that particular area of the game.
The controls of this game favour the person who's played the game more. Every single time I have played this game with friends, I have had to specifically avoid most aspects of the game because of the complexity of it. It goes well beyond a friend not knowing the buttons.
Also, in a funny story; during the tutorial, the games grappling mechanic decided not to work. So I was left getting frustrated with the game, assuming I was doing something wrong, only to quit the tutorial, get called a quitter by UFC President Dana White, re-do the tutorial, only to find it now working perfectly.
All in all. This game is fun for a few days. I paid £15 and got some joy out of it. I didn't finish the career mode which isn't like me and I justify the price I paid because of the graphical beauty and because I'm a big UFC fan. Other people may not be as kind or favourable to this game.