EA Sports UFC is one of the only games exclusively developed for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One and being a fan of EA's boxing franchise fight night, I came into their UFC game with little to no knowledge of the sport other than watching a handful of fights and the realization that it can be a very brutal sport indeed. That is definitely something EA Sports UFC brings across, the brutality of the combat.
The first thing you run through when starting up EA's UFC is the training tutorial and let's just say there is a lot to it. After going through the whole tutorial there was so much to take in that none of it really started to stick until I started to make my way through the career mode. This is where most of your time will be spent. It would have been nice if there was more of a story to the career mode. There does however seem to be an overabundance of video messages from a variety UFC notables, that unless you actually follow the UFC, you will pretty much have no idea who they are. This makes the messages pretty much nothing more than fan service. Career mode consists of training, fight, video message and repeat.
You also assign experience points to upgrade your fighter as well as unlock new moves to cause some serious hurt to your opponents. Making your way up the ranks of the UFC while it can be a challenging and fun experience, it’s basically just a bare-bones mode offering nothing more than adding the "fight now" and "challenges" modes together.
As far as the other modes go you have the standard fight now mode, which is just like an arcade versus mode. The challenges mode is basically the training exercises that you will encounter in the career mode. Of course there is an online mode and unless you have had a bit of practice in the other modes, you are going to get your arse handed to you each time. I did experience a little bit of lag when playing online, yet nothing that was a real game breaker. Overall the modes offer exactly what you would expect from an EA Sports fighting title.
With the IGNITE game engine, I was expecting a little bit more than what they delivered concerning the graphics. The character animations are very well done and the movement is fluid and while graphics for the most part are amazing, I sometimes noticed some character models lacking detail to the point where I felt that the referee's character model was more fleshed out then the fighters. As far as a game only available on the new generation of consoles the new ignite engine is still yet to impress me, especially with the amount EA have been talking it up.
Combat animations look great and while there really isn't that much of a difference between each fighter, the impact and weight of each punch and kick can at times really be felt. Fighter’s injuries are on display and continue to worsen if you focus your attention on the site of injury. Fighters' eyes close over and blood expels which adds to the realism of EA's UFC. Skin ripples on impact while hard hits cause players to become sluggish and dazed. These graphic details of the game come close to making up for the negative aspects which at times include poor hit detection and unresponsive controls.
With the amount of different fighting styles incorporated into the sport of mixed martial arts in can be quite a test to remember half of the different combinations and button presses let alone all of them. With this comes certain parts of the fighting that feels maybe a little less polished. For me I found this to be evident in the "ground game" and "clinching". Wrestling and holding your opponent can really slow down the pace of the fight with the lack of interaction when it comes to combat. Thankfully with the ability to focus on a particular style of fighting, chances are you could have your opponent knocked out before the tediousness becomes too much of an issue.
Overall I found EA Sports UFC fun and entertaining. Even if playing it felt nothing more like EA's fight night with kicks and wrestling thrown in and having since looked back on EA Sports mma on the xbox 360 and Playstation 3 it appears to be nothing more than mma with a new engine and control tweaks. While its career mode has too much of a focus on live-action videos of stars of the UFC, there is some fun to be had with it. You are left with the feeling that EA are re-treading similar ground and while some may say they have established a good foundation for what will no doubt be a yearly release. These foundations have already been laid with the Fight Night and MMA games they’ve previously done.
I can honestly say that the majority of fun I had playing UFC was from the remnants of fun I had from their previous fighting games, which added to the feeling that this is just more of a re-hash, although I'm sure if I was a huge fan of the UFC I would get a lot more out of it using a particular fighter. As it so happened, I ended up getting the Bruce Lee download content just so I would be able to use a fighter that I knew I must say it did add to my enjoyment.
While I might not be getting the next entry into EA Sports UFC, it’s definitely a series that i’ll be coming back to look at in the future.
I'm giving EA Sports UFC a 7 out of 10.