Pure fluidity and true motion at the tip of your controller, UFC allows you to feel every blow from strategic strikes to dynamic submission in their newest MMA fighter using an impressive feature, the Ignite Engine.
Stepping into the Octagon and feeling the destruction of a tactical roundhouse has never felt so real, and unique. EA has pushed the meaning of real-time exertion to a new level, every movement, thrown punch or kick or clinch feels real and exhausting, giving the player the real feel of a solid, mixed martial arts game, adding a new depth to what is an already truly exciting, destructive sport.
Other games similar to MMA fighting can’t come close to the movements you experience in UFC, every move you take is strategic and essential to your win. Whether it be a knockout, take down or submission, every move you make changes the way your opponent acts and determines how quickly you will fail if you’re not properly versed with the controls and the opportunities at your fingertips.
Your opponent will opt for whichever style you cannot defend or effectively reverse, forcing you to adapt and overcome, this often challenges you to think how you can quickly end the round. If you learn to turn a choke-hold into an arm-bar, the AI will implement a Plan B to take the upper hand away from you and your ‘A game’ and knock you on to your ass. This intelligent and progressive way of thinking is what makes UFC unique, the opponent ‘thinks’ like a human, and is just as cunning, thus pushing you to up your game with each progressive move, until exertion takes a hold and the next serious blow ends the fight, much like a real match of MMA, and they do play out like a real match.
With the humanesque AI functionality of a real MMA fighter you need them to feel real and act physically in a fight, again this something quite different. with Full Body Deformation every hit anywhere on the body is felt and the fighters behave naturally with each hit, at times in the past it did feel like two superhuman characters barely flinching going at each other but now the fighters will stumble and flinch with each blow, this can very much make you think twice when you receive a blow to the head and you momentarily start to stumble to the floor, your stamina stops replenishing and you start to lose control. You know the hit you just took was fatal.
There are 5 main core values to the gameplay in UFC. Striking, offensive high and low strikes to the body will wear down your opponent making them slow and slip up with the barrage of hits they take, this consumes stamina which shows realistically on your character with the power and speed of your blows. Next up is clinching, this allows you to regain stamina, close the gap and offensively transition to a takedown or throw, this puts you in a dominant position giving you the upper hand while on the ground.
Third there is wrestling, based on the ground again, this allows you to hammer the opponent and makes it easier to move in to the forth, the submission, This is a reinvented way to make the opponent submit, you struggle to move into position and then start the first of 3-5 stages dependent on position, you are then given UI gates where the opponent will try to move away from and you must keep them in, after time you move to the next and so on till either the submission has ended and been countered or the opponent submits and you win the match.
All of these cores affect the fifth, Health and Stamina. this affects the whole match and can occur when specific damage is administered. You can be stunned and wobble, leading on to a KO if the next blow is precise. The liver shot is next, which can lower defence, with the last being ‘limping’, this can slow you and dampen your kicks making you move to other means, this also means you can easily be taken down.
During a battle with an incredible hit detection and real damage, the controller is your hero, making use of the full versatility of both sticks and every possible combination you can switch up from kickboxer to judo in a pinch. No cumbersome, menu-based style switching, its all the on the controller, mapped out and easy to access. At first this is hard to master, mainly with the mass amount of possibilities, but after a few matches and finding what works for you the controls feel almost intuitive, without thinking you will be focusing on low hits and tap away at the opponent’s knees or try to pin them to the floor to regain stamina followed by a submission hold to finish the job.
The great thing about this is there is no wrong way to play, where you may not be too strong on your defence you can clinch to gain stamina and work on cutting an opponent’s reach right out to move in for some head punishment. Anyone can pick this up, learn the ropes and get stuck in, yet another difference from other MMA games you may have experienced.
EA Sports UFC has certainly shown its true potential. Throwing all the above into an exciting and addictive campaign to become the specific weighted champion extends the gameplay and possibilities. Allowing you build and give attributes to your very own fighter, then to train and earn the respect of known, realistic looking fighters. With an octagon of authentic ring voices and refs, this gives some amazing depth. making the game very hard to put down.