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PlayStation 4 Review: ‘EA Sports UFC’

Released just a few months after the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Electronic Arts’ Fight Night Round Three was the fighting game to own, at the dawn of the last console generation. Eight years later, mixed martial arts fighting has surpassed the comparatively pedestrian sweet science, and EA is attempting to regain their fighting-game crown with EA Sports UFC. Released exclusively for Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s Playstation 4, the game was developed by EA’s Fight Night team with the EA Sports Ignite game engine. If nothing else, EA Sports UFC certainly looks the part of a showcase title for the new console…

Review Overview

Reviewer's Rating

Three Out of Five Stars

Summary : EA Sports UFC's stunning level of presentation far exceeds the actual mechanics and content of the game itself.

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Released just a few months after the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Electronic Arts’ Fight Night Round Three was the fighting game to own, at the dawn of the last console generation. Eight years later, mixed martial arts fighting has surpassed the comparatively pedestrian sweet science, and EA is attempting to regain their fighting-game crown with EA Sports UFC. Released exclusively for Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s Playstation 4, the game was developed by EA’s Fight Night team with the EA Sports Ignite game engine. If nothing else, EA Sports UFC certainly looks the part of a showcase title for the new console generation.

EA Sports, UFC, video gameNot enough can be said about how good EA Sports UFC looks. The textures, lighting, deformations, and animations are second to none on gaming consoles, though surprisingly, there is some dropoff with the female fighters. Though she was obviously involved in the development, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey looks pretty trollish in the game. It is also worth noting that you are also not able to create a female fighter in the “Create a Fighter” menu. As long as neither of those points are deal breakers for you, EA Sports UFC will go a long way in justifying the expense of being an early adopter of the Playstation 4 or Xbox One.

Despite how breathtaking the graphics are in EA Sports UFC, there are some flaws in the actual mechanics of the game. At first glance, the game seems fairly realistic while the two opponents are on their feet. High and low punches and kicks are delivered with a button press and they all land appropriately. Where things start to fall apart a bit is all behind the scenes. Though the game boasts a real damage system, its actual implementation leaves something to be desired. An undefended square shot to the head is unlikely to deal the damage it would in real life. Likewise, the culmination of leg strikes and body blows don’t adequately impair your opponent either.

EA Sports, UFC, video game, Ronda RouseyOf course a huge part of MMA is the ground game. EA Sports UFC for the most part creates a multi-level mini-game of the jiu-jitsu, wrestling, ground and pound portion of the fighting. This actually creates something of an exploit when facing the CPU. Once the pattern is figured out, beat-downs and submissions are easy to come by. It is a near equivalent to the repeated leg sweeps in the corner, on the original Mortal Kombat.

To be fair, mapping the huge variety of attacks, counters, and submissions in MMA fighting is a feat unto itself. The only improvement I, personally, would like to see is the removal of the graphic overlay and a way to make the process a little more organic.

EA Sports, UFC, video game, Bruce LeeThough EA Sports UFC does offer a career mode, it is pretty bare-bones. Instead of occasional gameplay diversions, the title offers some prerecorded videos of actual UFC personalities offering words of warning or encouragement. The real-life characters do create an unnecessary contrast with game models. A better option would have been to just use the actual voices with in-game models. Though most players will be able to create a character they like, the options are somewhat limited compared to many big-budget RPGs. Of course, EA Sports UFC offers a local two-player option along with an online option that I found almost no issues with.

EA Sports, UFC, video gameEA Sports UFC is an MMA fan’s only choice on the Playstation 4 and Xbox One and it really looks impressive. Unfortunately, the level of presentation sets a standard that the rest of the game struggles to keep up with. While the fighters’ models almost all look like the real thing, the fighting doesn’t feel quite as authentic. 

For their first shot at the UFC license, EA Canada has done an admirable job of starting the franchise. There is obviously room for improvement, but I for one have no doubt the team is on the right track.

EA Sports UFC is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, and Violence. This game can also be found on: Xbox One.

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About Lance Roth

Lance Roth has over 10 years experience in the video game industry. He has worked in a number of capacities within the industry and currently provides development and strategy consulting. He participated in all of the major console launches since the Dreamcast. This videogame resume goes all of the way back to when they were written in DOS. You can contact Lance at RPGameX.com or rpgamex@gmail.com.
  • Lance Hairdo

    I just preordered the white Destiny bundle. I have the plain black PS4 but I’m selling it now, before it loses any value, and I’m getting the white one instead. It looks SWEET! Amazon still has some here if you’re interested: http://goo.gl/X9Xnro