OSW Review | EA Sports UFC

EA Sports UFC

After the closure of THQ in 2013 it looked like any future UFC games might be indefinitely suspended. Thankfully EA stepped forward & purchased the licence. So would they use their almost infinite budget to make the best MMA game ever, or will they simply hit MMA fans with a flying knee to the face & take their money. Read on to find out exactly what I thought.

Developer: EA Canada (2014)
Console: PS3, PS4, 360, Xbox One (Played on PS4)
Reviewed by V1

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The first thing you’ll notice is how incredible this game looks. My goodness this game has some of the best character models I’ve ever seen. Fighter likeness is just mind-blowing & also manages to avoid the uncanny valley for the most part. Characters look & move like their real life counter-parts, they sweat & bruise realistically as the match progresses, body parts bend & ripple as they are worked on. It really is a spectacle!

EA UFC also boasts a perfect TV presentation, much like this years’ FIFA. Everything from entrances, fighter clothing, lighting rigs, sponsorship banners, the pre-fight referee check, Bruce Buffers intros & perfectly rendered stadiums all capture the look & feel of a real life UFC show. It’s a massive upgrade from the last gen THQ UFC games & EA should be congratulated on making such a staggering looking game.

Unfortunately it’s not all perfect in terms of presentation. There are some graphical glitches such as the crowd not loading in (fighting in front of a matte black background), characters sliding into place to start an animation & fighters getting tangled in a spaghettified mess of limbs (this is hilarious when it happens & it’s thankfully a rare occurrence). Other nit-picks include inferior character models for lesser characters (Dana White, ring girls etc.) & repetitive commentary & generic American rock music everywhere. Commentary may be repetitive but it’s still superior to the commentary seen in most sports games.

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THQ’s UFC games always had a huge barrier in the form of a hardcore, demanding control scheme. EA have taken the foundation of this control scheme & slightly modified it. There are buttons for each limb & multiple modifiers for each button. Buttons for attacking high or low, multiple blocks/parries & separate control schemes for ground & clinch work (thankfully these are simplified from THQ’s efforts). I personally think the ground & clinch games have been greatly improved from previous efforts. However I find the striking portion of the game to be more complicated & cumbersome, although I appreciate the wealth of new options available to players.

This years game feels slower than previous efforts. This may bother some players, but I feel it adds to the experience. Fights feel less arcadey & more deliberate. I also believe strikes feel weightier & have far more impact. Submissions have also seen a huge overhaul & are the best improvement overall. No more twiddling sticks as fast as you can or that silly chasing mechanic from EA MMA/UFC Undisputed 3. This year has a brand new mechanic which sees the player being submitted trying to escape by pushing a number of “gates” while the other player tries to block them. There are a number of stages to work through in order to submit the player (this also means they have plenty of chances to escape). These new subs are lots of fun & a genuine attempt to simulate a real submission attempt.

Where EA UFC really falls down is the number of ways to play the game. Aside from exhibition fights or online fights, the only other significant mode is career mode. Here you design your own character, fight your way through The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), win a contract with the UFC. From there you need to work your way through the roster & win the title. Between fights you earn XP to buy new moves, or increase your stats. There are also training segments & lots of pre-recorded videos from current & former fighters. It’s a decent enough career mode, but it has less feature than previous UFC games & that’s just unacceptable, especially on a next gen console. Also where the fuck is my Pride mode!!!

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Good Points:
• Jaw dropping character models
• Great authentic UFC presentation
• Much improved submission game
• More stand up options
• Excellent roster including womens division
• Lots of post release support from devs (15 free fighters & counting)

Bad Points:
• Technical issues i.e. bad texture loading & in game glitches
• Very few game modes
• Generic rock music
• No sprint
• Easy to exploit ground game

Overall: EA UFC feels like a missed opportunity. It should’ve been the definitive MMA game that every fan wanted & built upon everything already in place in earlier UFC games. However a severe lack of game modes & an underwhelming career mode (seriously it’s more barren than all of THQs efforts & EA’s own previous MMA title) just leave me unsatisfied. I’m not saying this is a bad game (it’s actually pretty good), but the lack of content is very disappointing. 6.5/10

6.5-10 stars


Release Date
December 2, 2014