From Rookie to Ultimate Fighter

Being a massive fan of the UFC Undisputed games from THQ, I was really excited when EA Sports picked up the UFC licence a while back. Knowing they have an interest in the sport with their release of MMA in 2010 – you automatically know the licence is in safe hands but I still arrived at the preview event with high expectations as the Undisputed series earned a loyal fanbase. Can the developers from Fight Night deliver the hits that count?

Upon laying my eyes on the build present at the event, I noticed how amazing the quality of the visuals are. Being a PC Gamer primarily, EA Sport’s IGNITE engine never fails to amaze me at the sheer quality the depth the developers go into making the game almost lifelike in terms of visuals. Playing as my favorite Michael Bispin, his visual appearance in-game in comparison to real life was jaw dropping.

Not only does the visuals of character look hyper-realistic. The movement and finer smaller details such as sweat, facial emotions and ..of course blood were incredibly detailed as well. It’s one of those game where you can get the AI to duke it out as you sit back and enjoy some virtual UFC action with a side of popcorn.

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Down to the nitty gritty stuff, the fighting elements of EA Sports UFC were split on two levels – quite similar to Undisputed. On foot, players will duke it out exchanging punches and kicks while the 2nd level of the game (and most tricky) part of the game is played out in grapples. Players not accustomed to fighting games will easily get the gist of exchanging blows but once a player delivers a throw down or grapple move – the gameplay changes into a tug of war struggle.

Getting close and personal with the grapples is probably the most difficult part of the game to master – with my opponent and I not being very familiar with the mechanics of this part of the game up front, we both struggled to understand the chemistry of ground battles. It’s the part of the game that requires lots of practice and showcases a significant depth to the fighting.

Stamina plays a vital role, it determines how many attacks you’re able to dish out but once it hits the low mark of the meter – players can and will get knocked out if not careful. Another feature I picked up was the body diagram showcasing your fighter’s damaged areas. It was no surprise my fighter got a few too many into the head.

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The fights are intense and rewarding especially fighting a real opponent. There’s lot of strategy involved and you can win in various ways depending on how you tackle it. Exploiting weakness is the best and really reflects how a real fight would go down. I was REALLY bad at blocking standard hits on the ground and my opponent exploited that weakness to the max.

Other than the fights, there’s a few other features that would get players more involved than the standard exhibition matches. Players can create their own fighter to fight from rookie to pro like the UFC reality show – The Ultimate Fighter. Players can also Game Face a picture of their face into the game and model it onto a fighter, so you too can be a UFC fighter.

EA Sports attention to detail with this upcoming UFC is incredible. They’ve basically replicated the sport in video game form without overlooking any piece. The fighting mechanics while easy to jump into can turn out challenging and offers that depth of learning the mechanics people will invest the time in to master. From what was show, I’m quite excited for this title and UFC fans will be highly impressed as well. Definitely a contender this year.

EA Sports UFC is available June 19th on Xbox One and PS4.