It's Tiiiiiimme! To take a look at EA’s brand new UFC title. EA UFC is a much different beast from the last incarnation THQ’s UFC Undisputed 3. The last gen title was an easy pick up and play for anyone game, this time round with EA at the helm it has been shaped into something that is purely wonderful fan service to say the least.
From the games opening, which is a video diary with Mr. Jon "Bones" Jones in which he talks about some of his daily training routine, we are instantly placed into the tutorial before we even see a menu.
This decision was a stroke of genius as for the "menu skipper" type gamer. As when a player can't even put a basic hold on the opponent it is a sad sight indeed. The tutorial is a step by step of the basics required to have some knowledge of how a UFC fight goes down and works a treat for the casual fan. And helps with some of the various moves and is a great step into the game if you are a first time player.
Visually this game packs a punch (pardon the pun). Each of the fighters have been rendered superbly with great attention to detail that shows in everything from ring entrances to getting socked in the mouth and watching your fighters cheeks ripple with EA’s new "full body deformation" certainly doing it's job. You will feel every hit taken and feel every hit landed. Striking in this game is really spot on.
Controlling your fighter is simple - each button corresponds to a limb and depending how long it's pressed or which direction effects the punches and kicks strength and type, grappling has been definitely improved upon since you now actually feel there is a point to it rather than time wasting. Clinches and throws are performed with the right stick and movement on the left. R1 and R2 function as move modifiers and also strengthening and weakening kicks and punches.
Ground and wrestling moves feel fluid and escaping from an initial clinch is no longer impossible just perform the appropriate right stick movement and click L3 and freedom is granted, unless of course your face has been mauled by someone like Overeem. Slamming someone to the mat and submitting them as standard in UFC titles relies on a mini game where you use the right or left stick to outsmart or escape an opponent on the floor.
The biggest difference Undisputed 3 fans will find in the game is this time you can't just go into a fight swinging like a boxer. EA truly make the player think and behave like and actual mixed martial artist. In Undisputed 3, bouts could quite often be won by a few sneaky punches and a haymaker, not anymore sports fans. This game will take you through more positions than the karma sutra as the AI has it's own plans on how the fight will play out and can change it up at a moments notice.
Characters in the game cover each weight class as expected and even include the female division. Finding a favourite out of the close to 100 available shouldn't be too difficult. However this reviewers favourite (Rampage Jackson) is sadly nowhere to be found. However this has been gladly over looked thanks to another stroke of brilliance from EA. A certain martial arts legend has been used to promote this game, the one and only Bruce Lee, and having him appear as a playable fighter will definitely appeal to many a fight fan as he is considered the founding father of MMA as a whole (and let me tell you he is great to play as in game). For the first time in any MMA or UFC game you can actually feel the difference in each weight class, in speed, strength and the actual fight as a whole. Rethinking your game is key to conquering each class.
Onto career mode, this is one of the most enjoyable features of the game. In which EA have given the player the ability to fight from the bottom in the Ultimate Fighter TV show, through to UFC Pay Per View events, right up to the hall of fame. Ultimate Fighter is sure to bring a smile to anyone with an interest in the Octagon and with added EA game face bringing the players likeness in game is a great way to really take on your friends with their create a fighter.
Some little details from the previous UFC game that would of been a nice touch are sadly amiss, such as the ability to play through classic UFC bouts like Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz. Another feature gone from Undisputed 3 which was great was the Pride FC the Japanese fighting championship however there may be some who aren't as keen on it's ring or rule set.
The menu set up is easy to use and fight highlights can be uploaded and viewed with ease in UFC Spotlight, there's also the choice of which track list you want to hear while laying the smack down on opponents. Challenge mode lets you practice every type of move be it ground, stand up or clinch and functions as an extended tutorial more than an actual challenge, grading in this mode done via belts is a nice touch such as black belt for perfect or brown for not quite there.
And talking about grading let's get down to it for this game. EA UFC is an enjoyable fan serviced title that looks very nice but feels a bit light in some areas. It has the basics down and as you know in the MMA game the basics are what counts in the end. For more on UFC tune in to 42 Level One live this Tuesday evening only on Allgames.com
42 Level One
Overall Score - 89%