EA Sports UFC

What is “EA Sports UFC?

“EA Sports UFC” is EA’s first venture into the world of UFC. Gathering the licenses to use the UFC and all of the current fighters (as of 2015). “EA Sports UFC” is a typical sports venture with all the usual fare. There is multiplayer both local and online, a career mode in which you create a fighter and work his way up from a UFC hopeful to UFC title winner, and of course standard quick matches against the computer.

What was the win condition?

As stated in my first Gaming Conquest post, I will play all games to any% completion. Being that there isn’t a definitive end to the Career mode in EA Sports UFC I couldn’t simply play until the credits role. I decided the most reasonable win condition was to play career until a UFC title was won.

The Career Experience

When I launched a new career mode I was thrown into a character creation system. The character customization was fairly basic but has most the typical features from adjustments of facial features to hair. As someone whom does not care much about character customization, I did not spend much time here. In fact I rushed through this so fast that I forgot to enter a fighter name, so I went through career as the menacing fighter, “Player Name.” The one part of customization I did take some time with is the selection of fighting style. Selecting a style does not lock you into any specific movesets but is a pretty notable stat modifier. In addition to determining your starting stats, your style also determines your stat cap. This is nice in that it actually gives some meaning to your fighting style after the first fight. Being someone whom is most fascinated by submission victories when it comes to mixed martial arts, I of course chose Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as my fighters style.

After creating your character you are thrown into “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show. This brief introduction to your career has you participate in a series of fights that you must win to get your invite to the UFC. Unlike the rest of career mode you are given the option to retry if you lose a fight during this section. This introductory section is a nice touch that gives you the feeling that you are really building a fighter up from bare bones rather than just jumping in as an established professional.

Once you finish “The Ultimate Fighter” segment you are thrown into the primary gameplay loop of career mode. Before each fight you are given three randomly selected training exercises to perform. These exercises are miniature minute long tutorials that will have you practice individual skills. Performing an exercise well will grant you attribute points that can be used to unlock new moves or upgrade your fighters stats. In my opinion, this is the best feature in “EA Sports UFC.” It is incredibly rare for a fighting game to give a fun tutorial that actually makes the player want to learn but this does just that. While skippable, the training exercises entice the player by offering attribute points. The exercises themselves are typically a fun little challenge that actually delves into some pretty advanced techniques such as parrying and counter attacks. By keeping the exercises short (<1 minute) and only giving 3 exercises between every fight, the player is kept from getting bored and is continuously reminded of valuable mechanics they may forget throughout their  career.

After training you are given the opportunity to spend your hard earned points on stat boosts or new moves. The upgrade system is rather generic but does help give the player an incentive to keep playing because, let’s be honest, everyone like to see their character get stronger as they play.

After you upgrade your character you are thrown into your match. Your opponent is determined based on your power ranking, a variable determined based on your fight history. Early on the fights are a lot of fun. Constantly trying to find a way to put you and your opponent in a situation that is advantageous to you and a hindrance for your opponent. As a submission specialist, this typically meant finding a way to take the opponent to the ground before suffering too many blows to the head. While these early fights were easy, they provided enough challenge to be enjoyable. Unfortunately power creep kicks in very fast, at least for the submission build I went with. After about 4 or 5 matches my character became so good at taking down the opponent and submitting them that every match went more or less the same. Deal three or four hits to the opponents head then perform a takedown when they try to counterattack. Immediately perform a submission and the match is over. The matches quickly began taking less than a minute each, meaning I was spending more time in the gym training than I spent fighting matches. Worse yet the training became rather unimportant because they teach mechanics that I clearly didn’t need as matches were already too quick and easy.

Between matches you are given short FMV videos based upon varying feats you have achieved. The videos are rather bland and tend to repeat themselves. I found myself skipping through at least 3/4ths of the videos.

The Ranking

A fantastic tutorial system and fun early game makes “EA Sports UFC” a worthwhile play. Unfortunately a drastically too easy late game keeps the game from being worth more than a few hours of play. Overall I did enjoy the game slightly more than expected. I decided to place “EA Sports UFC” at the current rank #4 on the fighting list, placing it between “Power Rangers Battle For The Grid,” and “Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition.”

Console: Xbox One. Time To Beat: 5 hours 44 minutes 51 seconds.

How can you play “EA Sports UFC?”

“EA sports UFC” is currently available with EA Play, which is free for Game Pass Ultimate subscribers.

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