EA bought the license for UFC off of THQ a little before the publishing giant collapsed, selling off all its IPs to the highest bidders. With such a great pedigree in not only sports games in general, but also fighting games such as Fight Night and EA Sports MMA, surely this means that the UFC franchise has moved on to greener pastures. Or does it?
EA Sports UFC, from the outset, significantly outclasses it’s predecessor, UFC Undisputed. This is mainly because of the move to next generation consoles, but the increase in graphical quality is very noticeable, and shows that this title was designed for the new platforms. Character models, and the fighting rings are incredibly detailed, and movement of fighters in general is very fluid and realistic. There are also no real aliasing issues to talk about either, which is a plus.
EA Sports UFC starts off immediately with a tutorial on how to play the new game, and walks you through the basics of UFC fighting. You’ll be walked through how to attack, clinch, defend and force opponents into submission. The tutorial lasts about 5 minutes, and then throws you into a quick exhibition match immediately to show off what you learned. Obviously I learned nothing as I got beaten into oblivion within a few minutes.
The fighting controls themselves are relatively simple. Similar to games like Tekken, the square and triangle buttons are mapped to punches, and the X and circle buttons are mapped to kicks. Sounds simple enough, but this is where it gets tricky. Holding L1 will modify all these attacks, making them use more stamina. Holding R1 will do the same, but will perform different attacks. Pushing the sticks forward or back when attacking will modify the attack yet again, and holding the shoulder buttons and the stick will perform a different attack.
Literally every button on the controller has to be used in order to master this game, and that is not an exaggeration. When you’re in the submission mode, things get even more complex, with you having to swipe the analogue sticks around, and press certain buttons to get out of a submission. You’ll also be presented with a mini-game where your goal is to push the sides of an octagon on the screen to the edges, in order to block a submission.