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EA Sports UFC | Review

85%
Pretty cool

EA SPORTS UFC

EA Sports UFC appears to be part of a ball. Its comprehensive list of motions and strategies well reflects the sport's complexity. But understanding that every second might be the last of your fighters is what gives UFC weight and drama. Without that, these outbursts fall flat.

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EA SPORTS UFC
  • Gameplay

Tension and risk–these two elements make me passionate about mixed martial arts. Unfortunately, these are the two aspects that EA Sports UFC can’t just conjure up. EA has definitely put on a good show and laid a solid basis for creating the next UFC title, but several misguided compromises and development choices about both striking and grappling knock the teeth out of what would feel like a high-stakes inch match.

 EA Sports UFC 1

These are some of the most popular designs and animations of characters seen in a game. They seem natural and believable even up close and in motion. These digital fighters convincingly exude the personalities of their real-life counterparts, particularly during pre-match introductions. Georges St-Pierre conducts himself with calculated restraint. The Axe Murderer shakes his hands creepily while keeping an icy cold look in place. Combined with the delivery of spot-on TV-style and enthusiastic commentary. These touches effectively help bottle the mood and excitement of a major UFC pay-per-view event.

EA Sports UFC 2

Even when the fists start to fly, good transitional animations and impact reactions keep things looking fluid and natural. Although it is surprising that most of the animations grappling are the same from character to character. But that doesn’t reflect the sheer complexity of the animations. Skin ripples with impact, with each crushing leg kick, fighters visibly wince in pain, and hands flail when the fight heads to the ground for leverage. These are warriors of flesh and blood, not a pack of puppets that look uncanny.

With its overall balance is where UFC really gets into the weeds. Having seen a good proportion of mixed martial arts. It’s off-putting and deflating to see how the entire cast shrugs off shots that even the world’s toughest-chinned warriors might drop off. Anderson Silva whips you around in a Thai clinch. Dropping repeated knee-bombs on your face, no matter who you are, it should be a cover.

EA Sports UFC 3

UFC has little interest in selling outside the arena. There are a lot of challenges that show you things that ought to have been in the guide you get strangled into when you first start-up. Online play is operational, but the career mode is an unending stream of dull, monotonous menus and cheesy “atta boy!” FMVs. This would have been a lot more fun to customize and develop the fighter if I didn’t have to wade through so much tediousness to do that.

The reality that you can take an almost infinite amount of abuse and have to wiggle away from submission attempts forever makes it feel safe regardless of the situation, and safety is the opposite of how I want to feel in an MMA match. Before throwing punches, I want to think long and hard when The Spider starts to duck and weave. As BJ Penn starts to douse me with his latex shield to set up a wristlock, I want to throb in terror.

Final Words

EA Sports UFC appears to be part of a ball. Its comprehensive list of motions and strategies well reflects the sport’s complexity. But understanding that every second might be the last of your fighters is what gives UFC weight and drama. Without that, these outbursts fall flat.

The amount of respect that designers have for every aspect of the game is lovely. But appreciation and an eye for detail alone cannot stand in for a sense of fear and excitement that is lacking.