Friday 13 December 2019

UFC has a fighting chance of success


EA Sports UFC for Xbox One and PS4
EA Sports UFC for Xbox One and PS4
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

RATING: 7/10
AGE: 12+

TWENTY seconds in and my guy hit the canvas. Less than a minute had elapsed and he was woozy under a flurry of blows. Seconds later, it was all over.

Serves me right for glossing over the tutorials and trying to tough out my first bout in EA Sports UFC. Riding the coat-tails of mixed martial arts’ newfound popularity, this is EA’s second bite at the UFC cherry, the latest produced by the team behind boxing sim Fight Night.

The heritage is immediately apparent in the phenomenal realism of the fighters’ bodies - muscles rippling, skin stretching, sweat flying. Considerably less energy was expended on rendering everything else, with even the transition between animations verging on clunky.

The next thing you’ll notice about EA Sports UFC is that nothing comes easy – you can’t expect to go out swinging and knock out your opponent with a few choice blows.

UFC requires a mastery of the strategies of striking, clinching and grappling. One leads to the other – although, again, not very smoothly – requiring complex sequences of attacks, parries and blocks followed by a bout of wrestling on the mat.

Button mashers need not apply but even committed players might conclude the controls are a little too complicated. The grappling in particular seems a little disjointed, with the control inputs not quite connected to the movement outputs.

For those used to EA’s all-encompassing spectaculars such as FIFA, UFC feels a light on content, with few modes and a slim training package.

The bone-crunching violence comes to life in online multiplayer, however, where it’s possible to overlook the awkward grappling and fussy controls. This series has more to give and the inevitable 2015 update  may be the one that makes it king of the octagon.

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