UFC was a game I had worried about for a while, I wasn’t sure if it would live up to the hype but after trying out the demo a couple of times I decided it was time to play. UFC offers players the chance to start a career with their own custom made fighter, exhibition fights to play a head on head match with another established UFC fighter.
The game UFC is a pretty intense game that keeps the player on their toes, the one time you miss a block or fail to get out the way of a move is the time you get Ko’d from a superman punch to the face. The graphics are pretty impressive and the animation between the fighters and the moves they pull off is at times almost seamless it could be an actual UFC fight as far as anyone’s concerned.
The controls are pretty basic and easy to pick up as you go, the tutorial also helps you pick up the things you need to know so it’s best to start there. Just like the UFC the game features both striking poses like boxing and kickboxing as well as wrestling moves. The great thing about it is there’s a way to counter most attacks so your opponents attempt at tackling you can end with them on the matt being pummeled by you.For those bloodthirsty or punishment driven players the game really lets you deal out some serious damage and see the results. As your fighters play through the rounds you can see them getting physically tired as their stamina begins to thin out or if your opponent likes kicking you legs you’ll start limping. The face is by far the worst place to get smacked around though as your cheeks, nose, mouth and even your eyes will bust open and make you look like you just got hit by a train. This all adds to your advantage though as this allows the player to work strategy into their game instead of just button mashing pain. It’s easy enough to knock around someone’s legs until they start limping then you can dive in with some hard hitting punches or kicks because they can’t get out the way.
The ground work also lets players work strategy because if your opponent doesn’t have very good ground attack or defence then being on the matt is the last place they want to be and speaking from experience sitting by desperately hitting buttons to get up is depressing as you see you opponent use your face as a stress ball. The wrestling moves differ from boxing though as you need to use the analog sticks more for transitions and submissions but it pays off if you can get them down.
Now there’s no health bar or stamina bar here so it really keeps you on your toes as you’ve no idea when that knockout is coming. Some people see that as a negative but I think it’s a plus because UFC makes you feel more excited and cautious by each fight as you’re constantly unsure what’s coming next and whether or not you could take the hit.
The game also has this slow motion effect for whenever you’ve dealt a serious amount of damage to a player, specifically to what place you’ve dealt it. This is good for two reasons it shows the fighters weak spot and means he’s probably close to a KO.
The game is pretty good in exhibition for all these reasons but it’s when you start playing career some cracks begin to show. Unfortunately you can’t change your weight class after you begin a career so make sure you pick a weight class you really like, or you can just create fighters for all classes it’s your choice. Before you can begin you need to create your character, the custom choices are pretty varied so if you have an idea the kind of fighter you want chances are you’ll be able to make a carbon copy in the game.
Your choice aren’t just looks you need to choose attributes and fighting styles as well as what technique. A cool little thing to notice is each fighter has different stances for their chosen style so it gives that different look to each player. You begin your career with some small fights against some unknowns and you get to train up each of your stats through simple speed, strength, cardio or sparring training. This is where the problems started to show up, because when you go to a training camp in order to improve your levels of striking/ground work you need to perform moves in order to get the points. Now I tried doing this a lot and more than once the game refused to acknowledge the hits meaning I walked away with 20 points when I had done enough to earn 50.
One of the other things that bugged me about the game was the time spent training didn’t always leave me with a satisfied time spent fighting. Sometimes you can end the fight in the first round and the 10-15 minutes spent in training feels wasted on the 2 minutes in the ring. Unless you like dominating your opponent with no real competition because if that’s the case chalk this up on the advantage board.
As you progress through your career your fights become more important and you start fighting against actual UFC fighters earning sponsors and raising through the rank heading for that title. As you continue through training and keep fighting your training becomes more noticeable as your fighter doesn’t get tired so quickly or you can notice him hard hitting or getting even faster, it’s impressive to see your fighter get better with each match. All in all UFC is a great game requiring you to stay on your toes and keep an eye on your opponents attacks because throwing up your defence and waiting for him to get tired just isn’t going to work. UFC is one of the best fighting games I’ve played because of the actual ability to implement strategy into your fights and seeing the damage you inflict before you go in for the KO.