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A couple of technical issues remain, but 'EA Sports UFC 2' is the most realistic fighting game yet, and the new KO mode really steals the show.

PlayStation 4 Review: ‘EA Sports: UFC 2’

Apparently, there might be a new curse associated with EA Sports games, now that both cover athletes for UFC 2 have just suffered significant defeats. Of course the more likely truth of it is that in the UFC, eventually everyone loses. Even though Ronda Rousey had previously gone 12-0 in the UFC, and seemed invincible, she was spectacularly knocked out by Holy Holm in November of 2015.

It’s that kind of brutal excitement that EA Sports UFC 2 hopes to bring with its brand new knockout system and a KO mode that lets players play the game more like a traditional fighting game.

UFC 2, EA Sports, MMA, video gameEveryone hates to admit it, but all sports games are essentially role playing games, and EA Sports UFC 2 is no exception. Despite boasting the largest-ever roster of any fighting simulation, the game also features an amazing fighter creation tool. Like EA’s current Madden Football and FIFA games, UFC 2 supports the publisher’s “GameFace” uploads that can be sculpted onto your character. Even if that’s not quite your thing, there are robust body and facial sculpting options and tattoo customizations. UFC 2 also now allows players to create female fighters, for the first time.

Beyond character customization, the overall presentation level of EA Sports UFC 2 is really unbelievable. Not that this is any kind of scientific measurement, but there were numerous times while I was playing the game that others thought I was watching an actual fight. UFC 2 tries really hard to capture the brutality of MMA fighting, and it’s all pretty evident onscreen. The game’s new facial modeling rig, the introduction of hair physics, and improved strike deformation, in addition to plainly evident injuries and generous blood splatter, go a long way in representing fighting realism.

No matter how good it looks, the decision about whether to purchase the game depends on how it plays. Here again UFC 2’s improvements make sure there’s something for everyone. Personally, that’s one of my biggest deciding factors when it comes to sports game. Is this something I can play with others in the house?

First, let me say, UFC 2 is no button-mashing fight fest. On anything but the easiest difficulty setting, every fight requires strategy. Even on that easy setting, not watching your stamina can get you knocked out pretty quickly.

UFC 2, EA Sports, MMA, videoOn the other hand, that new UFC 2 KO mode I mentioned before serves as the great equalizer. Reducing the fight to essentially a best-of-three kickboxing match, the KO mode is a way to get even your more casual gaming fans involved. Even the more serious UFC fans will have fun just going for broke trying to knock out a single opponent. There’s not much better in gaming life than having Bruce Lee knock your opponent unconscious with a foot to the face. It’s strangely reminiscent of a Mortal Kombat fatality.

Make no mistake, UFC 2 is an upgrade over its predecessor in every way. The only part where the whole illusion falls apart is, unfortunately, in the fighting itself. No, things don’t get nearly as wacky as they could get in the first game, but there are collision issues. I won’t complain too much, because it’s a difficult thing to get right, particularly in a game as large as this. There are times when punches and kicks that clearly miss register as hits. It’s especially frustrating when one of those phantom strikes results in a knockout.

As I said before, EA Sports UFC 2 improves on just about everything from the original. This is nowhere more obvious than in the grappling, where the attacks and counters are much more intuitive, and no longer require analog stick acrobatics. A contextual menu allows everything to be executed with a single, held direction press. This new system makes a flying armbar or a quick transition from a knee bar to a heel hook much easier to use. It also applies to submissions, and you’ll be happy to hear standing submissions are now included too.

UFC 2, EA Sports, MMA, videoEA Sports UFC 2 features an impressive mix of the UFC’s biggest stars and incorporates thousands of animations that make it the most realistic fighting game yet. Whether you go it alone in the deep career mode, team up with four other fighters in the UFC Ultimate Team, or take your talents online, this is a fighting game filled with content. Of course that means you have to quit playing the highly addictive KO mode.

UFC 2 isn’t a perfect game, but it is impressively complete. If you’re a fan of MMA fighting, this really is the game is for you.

 

top10_tEA Sports: UFC 2 is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Blood, Lyrics, Mild Suggestive Themes, and Violence This game can also be found on: Xbox One.

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 [email protected]

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