• I have been watching mixed martial arts for a very long time, I have also been playing the Undisputed UFC games since they came out. Sadly due to the closure of THQ a new sponsor and new design teams were drafted in to create the next installment of the UFC game, called EA Sports UFC. This is the first next generation game and boy does it look like it. The most staggering aspect of this game will be the visuals, every facial movement, body tone and even gesture have been captured here. The arenas look fantastic and the sounds are not bad. Gameplay is a mixed bag as the controls are ok on the basic level but when you delve a bit deeper you find a mechanic that is not quite there yet. The differences between the fighters are obvious mostly in their appearance but also in their stats. I found a few odd inclusions though as some of the heavyweights who don’t throw kicks or have agile moves have those move sets in this game. This is a great leap forwards in the visual department but technically still needs some fine tuning.

    When you first load up the game you are faced with a tutorial mode, which is not easy. The basic moves are simple enough to execute and learn. Strikes and modifiers have been mapped to the face buttons and the triggers. I liked the fact that hard kicks and punches can be thrown easier now. The ground game is where most gamers may find this control system annoying, as there is a mini game to undertake to get submissions or to break out of them. If you are the unlucky guy to be on the bottom you have to move the R stick in any of the four directions to try and break free whilst the other player tries to catch you. The higher the player’s submission stats the easier submission can be gained or escaped from. Whilst the controls are a bit off-putting for some, it’s basically all about practice and how much time you’re willing to put in. Control wise I like the reworked blocking and parry system as they are more intuitive and integral for setting up powerful counters.

    What can’t be disputed is the great visuals of this game.  Every fighter, arena and move is recreated in glorious detail. Even the master Bruce Lee looks stunning, yes he is here is you pre-ordered the game. All the entrances look fantastic, with GSP coming down in his full karate gear, Jon Jones with his usual swagger and Anderson Silva with his trademark walk on. Bruce buffer is an announcer I really like, his voice can make a fight between two hillbillies look good. So why is it that the volume is low for his announcements? It takes away a lot from the overall presentation. There are a total of 97 fighters here and everyone is accounted for (mostly). I think the fighters that didn’t make it have been saved for future DLC. Menus are fine, but the sounds are not that great, during fights the blows landed but don’t have different impact sounds. Light hits sound the same as heavy ones, punches and kicks sound the same and the trademark commentary is really repetitive.

    The first mode to tackle is the career mode, here you take a novice fighter all the way up to contender and champion if you can. I really like the fact that the first stop is the Ultimate Fighter house. This gives the career mode an authentic feel. From then once you prove your worth you move on to the preliminary card and finally the actual pay per views and the main event. The career mode has an all too familiar feel to it however, as you train to increase stats then fight, then rinse and repeat. For the UFC purists this is fine, as this is the life of a UFC fighter. Casual gamers may end up getting bored but in all honesty if you are buying this game then you know what you’re buying and what the career mode will be. One aspect I didn’t enjoy was the oddly long load times between fights, screens and pretty much any transition. This really interrupted the flow and immersion of the game. Other modes include the exhibition match which is just what it sounds like and the challenge mode, this is a deeper tutorial mode. Did a game need two ways to learn the moves? Yes that’s how complex the move sets are.

    The multiplayer mode is back and is both local and online. To get online you need to sign up for an Origin account but that’s easy enough to do. This gives you access to Fighter Net, which promise free roster updates and challenges so that’s pretty cool. For me the best time is had when I go online with my friends and compete for the belt. This is where you can truly see who knows the controls and who just tries to superman punch their way to a victory. Surprisingly there are a lot of people online and during play with all countries there are no lags or glitches which is a great source of joy.

    EA’s attempt to bring the UFC to the new generation has been a success in terms of visuals and overall presentation. When it comes to gameplay and controls it’s borderline, as the controls are tough to get a grasp of (hence two forms of tutorials) but when you do the subtle range of moves for each fighter can be accessed. The reworked career mode is much more authentic with the Ultimate Fighter making great addition to this mode. Online is where the most fun will be had and where most of the twitch recordings will be made. This is a very decent game with a lot of polish, dig deeper and you may find a gem or a dead rubber. This depends on your motivation and how you approach the game. In my opinion, this game needed a few more hours in the gym.

    This review was conducted thanks to code provided by the folks over at Xbox.

    EA Sports UFC - Review
    A great looking game with a lot of polish, has gameplay issues but worth it
    Our Score7.5
    Positives
    • Visuals are truly next gen.
    • The inclusion of the Ultimate Fighter in the career mode is really a good move.
    Negatives
    • The controls are a mixed bag with submissions being particularly tricky to understand.
    • Load screens are not cool in 2014.
    7.5Overall Score
    Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
    7.8

    About The Author

    UK Editor

    A gamer that loves to play games and write about them. Just living the dream.