- Developer: EA Canada
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Platformers: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Release Date: 15th March 2016
UFC 2, the second game in the new EA franchise. To be fair to EA it has taken them 2 years (or the best part of) to get the second game out. I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that from now on it’ll be a year show.
The first game at launch was a fucking insult of a title. The game was charged at full price, for a title with three game modes. Vs, Vs online and career mode. The graphical engine was nice, create-a-fighter was lame. After a year of non-stop updates, which added to the gameplay with extra animations and moves, along with extra characters, eventually made the game worth £20.
Coming from Undisputed 3, which had Pride and UFC, Tournament mode, Vs., Vs. Online, Challenges, Career Mode, Challenger (Title run), Champion Mode (Survival), all with a decent create-a-fighter mode, you could even create a banner for behind your fighter, and a event creator. For a UFC fan Undisputed 3 is a really good game. One which had challenge, and accessibility. The Tournament mode, made it so you and friends can have a good ole elimination tournament, perfect a game for streaming tournament Mmmmmm.
Here we are now with UFC 2, what improvements have they added? Have they EA’ed it (by that I mean, minimum effort)?
Well, it looks pretty, the animations are solid enough, the aesthetic is the new dull boring Reebok UFC styling, and the menus are dull. Sounds promising right?
So you boot up the game, the game kicks up with a little montage of Robbie Lawler Vs. Rory MacDonald UFC 189, showing a decent enough battle, then the game throws you into the final round in control of Robbie Lawler. The game gives you a brief pop up of basic controls, whilst you are left to finish the round/fight.
Starts of pretty enough, cool and gory. The the main menu is open to you.
Fight now (Vs.), Career, Event creator and create-a-fighter, KO mode (what??!), Online Vs., Team Modes Online Bollocks.
Just so people know I test the all my games offline, and online. Offline, this game still has some thing’s to do Vs., KO Mode, Career. At least the game works offline unlike most Ubisoft games.
KO mode is a shoe horned mode that someone pulled out their asses just to try and fill the back of the box. Both players have a few hit points, once you lose them you fall down, fall down twice and you are Ko’ed woot woot! This mode is touted as the perfect pick up and play mode, but it’s simply a shit version of the game, no grapples and submissions. Just seems like a waste of time programing to me.
The career Mode is as dull as a career mode can be. You had better really enjoy the gameplay because otherwise there is literally no reason to play the career other than kill time. The beginning is improved over the last game, but then it drops into shit training mini games.
The first games career mode starts with you fighting in the Ultimate Fighter Finale, this game sort of farts out TUF, you fight a prelim, get chosen for a team, fight through three more bouts, and get into the UFC. They used to have videos of actual fighters in the previous game, talking shit and sometimes giving your a quick insight into their experiences, which could have been expanded on in this game, but no. Also, there should have been pre and post fight pressers, so that you feel that like you are a personality. Because let’s face it, they need to talk shit to sell a fight. Undisputed 3 had little interviews with Joe Rogan after some fights which at least felt like you were part of something.
In EA MMA (game that was pretty decent), in the career mode, you would choose a camps to train at, travelling around the world to learn new techniques, and strengthen areas your weak at. Undisputed 3 had something similar, you even had guest fighters coming in to train with you. The mini games should go and sparring should just be the training mode, you pick what you wanna focus on and the sparring partner will react accordingly.
All these things would be welcome additions to a career mode, but instead you get a pretty sterile experience. That being said, if you can get into to the game mechanics, you will have some wars, and fighting to stay upright until the final bell can be riveting.
Create-a-fighter is substantially improved over the last game, now you have sliders to change the details of the face, which was missing from the first game completely. That being said it does still need some tweaking, I really struggled to even make someone slightly reminiscent of my beautiful face. There is the EA Gameface, which i’ll have to have a play with at some point. So I can’t really comment at the mo (will update when I get to check it out).
You can also create women this time round, something which is touted as a feature, but it should be in the game anyway. I expected it in the last one.
With the horrid Reebok aesthetic, comes the lack of customisation. In previous games (UFC:Undisputed 1,2,3, EA MMA, EA UFC), you could pick and customise what type of shorts you wear, adding a little extra personality to your avatar. Adding sponsors to get cash or popularity. But again the Reebok-ification of the UFC means lack of interesting colour, or quirkiness. I’ve not liked the Reebok aesthetic of the UFC since it’s come through. It’s a way for the UFC to control the sponsorship of the fighters and it makes the UFC look dull in my opinion.
The lack of colour becomes all the more jarring in career mode. When you fight in the TUF matches you have either bright blue, or vibrant orange shorts. Then you hit the UFC, your options are black and white, or white and black. It honestly adds to the lack of interest for the eyes (or is it just me?).
The fight mechanics have changed a little since the first game. The striking game is pretty much untouched, parrying feels a little more difficult to me, but I’ve probably just not settled in to my timing yet. Where the big changes have happened, is the grappling and ground fighting.
Previously the grappling was a contest of quarter circles on the right analog. Now, it’s more deliberate. You move in for a clinch (for instance), once you are engaged a little octagon will appear near your fighter, around that octagon are your options eg: Over/under, Thai, break. You push and hold the right analog into the direction of your desired action. Whilst holding in the direction, a circle will fill inside the octagon, once complete, you perform the action. The speed at which the circle fills is stat and stamina dependant.
At first this style of grappling bugged me, but after spending more time with it, I quite like it. In previous games, I’d take folk down, then easily work to full mount and destroy. All the while the chaotic cacophony of spinning analogs would ring through the air. Now it’s more deliberate, you can choose you position more, it feels better. Also it’s easier for new comers to grasp, and get up.
UFC 1 had pre-animated knockouts, this time round the knockouts are more fun, the fighters get switch off when knocked out which results in some very awkward and brutal knockdowns. I approve.
Ground and Pound has changed up slight. It has been slowed down, the only reasoning I can think of is game balancing. By slowed down, I mean slowed right down. Again, in previous UFC games the quarter circle grappling didn’t get stopped or reset if hit, the new grappling system with the circle, the circle gets reset when hit. So if you were to take someone down and love tap at 150bpm, they wouldn’t have a reasonable chance to recover, every time you took someone down. So this works for game balancing, which is ok I guess.
Online modes, fuck em.
Online Vs. Meh, some spammy arse will beat you like you’ve never played the game before. This will happen 80% of the time, you will get bored, people rage quit. Crap!
Ultimate Team, pick five fighters…..ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…pay money if you want…ZZzzzzzzzzzzzz
And It’s All Over!!
The game “Features” legends of the sport, Bas Rutten, Kazushi Sakuraba, and Mike fucking Tyson. Seriously, I was annoyed with Bruce Lee last time round, but at least Bruce Lee was more of a fit to MMA than Mike Tyson. The reasoning is, what if… Well what if the UFC stopped treating the early days of UFC as a bad night of drunken sex with someone they are embarrassed to talk to. And give us legacy fighters, All the previous tournament champions, Royce Gracie, Steve Jennum, Dan Severn, Oleg Taktarov, Don Frye, Marco Ruas. Mark Coleman is in the game, so why not add these guys (admittedly, Steve Jennum only won because he was an alternate).
The Post Fight
The game floats this strange mid ground of wanting to be a sports sim, and wanting to be arcadey. On the whole the fighting is solid, i’ve not felt ripped off in a fight, and i’ve actually had some 5 round, pick my shots decisions, which is a good thing.
It’s not overly difficult for a new comer to pick up and play, just ease them in with a few grappling tutorials with them, you put them through their paces. Don’t do the in game tutorials, they are crap.
The characters look lifeless after a fight, just dead avatars. Which is a shame especially when EA were talking about “capturing the personality of the fighters”. They’ve certainly captured the look, just not the personality.
I’m looking forward to the next game, and hopefully it’ll be 2 years away. But in the interim, this is a solid base of a MMA game. Needs more (offline) features, like tournament and a robust career mode.
If you are a MMA fan, it’s all you’ve got. If you don’t have a PS4 or Xbox One, and just have a 360 or PS3, go get UFC: Undisputed 3.