The main event of the evening has arrived. The fighter’s hands are sweaty and the music is blaring. He’s just completed a warmup and he’s coming out to the Octagon to the tune of “The Champ is Here” by Jadakiss. The outcome of the fight is dependent on the complex movements and combinations that the player holding the Xbox or Playstation controller can perform in the heat of the moment. The difficulty is dynamic depending on what the setting is at, from Beginner to Pro. This is EA Sports UFC 2.
From the developers of the boxing series “Fight Night Champion,” EA Canada returns with their second attempt at a Mixed-Martial Arts game based in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). They boasted a large roster of over 250 fighters, new modes for players to experience like Knockout Mode where players are restricted to stand up fighting, and an improved grappling system that was unlike any previously seen before. However, does the actual product live up to the hype and expectations of the fans?
The gameplay of EA Sports UFC 2 is relatively solid. Despite a few glitches where fighters sometimes get flung around for what appears to be no reason, or just the need to defy the laws of physics, the gameplay in general is relatively fluid and majestic. The controls have been changed to mimic THQ’s UFC Undisputed 3 closer, with the main difference being that the “Advanced Strike Modifier,” which allows stronger punches or kicks to be thrown, is on a different button as compared to THQ’s UFC game. The bobbing and weaving feature in the game has been adapted to be more like Fight Night in terms of fluidity.
The game’s content is rather extensive. The fighter roster pulls from the biggest stars to newest prospects from the 10 weight classes in the UFC which includes Women’s Strawweight, Women’s Bantamweight, Flyweight, Bantamweight, Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, and Heavyweight. The game also features fighters such as Phil “CM Punk” Brooks, “Iron” Mike Tyson, “El Guapo” Bas Rutten, and other fighters who are like “bonus fighters.” Also, in the first update of the UFC game, EA Canada included a secret fighter that must be unlocked with a code at the main menu. Additionally, the game offers various single and multiplayer modes including new additions such as Ultimate Team, which allows players to create fighters and have them fight online; Knockout Mode, which handicaps the fighters to just stand up fighting; Custom Event Creator, which allows players to create custom UFC events; and more modes to appease to UFC fans. Arenas in the game include the Satiam Super Arena in Japan, as well as returning arenas like the Toyota Center and the MGM Grand Arena.
Although the game is relatively solid on the surface, the nitty gritty of the game has its kinks to work out. The grappling system, the most prominent change in the game, has stirred up the community and caused a lot of backlash. How the grappling system works is there is little prompts and the player must push their right analogue stick to the direction they wish to perform a certain action. To defend they must hold the defense button and hold the analogue stick in the direction allotted. The issue arises that the time to defend is not always enough. The defense is dependent on the fighter’s ground rating, and if it’s less than the opponent then the opportunity for defense is not as great. That wouldn’t be bad except for the fact that the previous game really didn’t focus on the importance of ratings. The career mode also feels unrealistic, throwing a brand new fighter into The Ultimate Fighter instead of having the fighter work up like in the THQ UFC Games.
Overall the game has a new aesthetic but needs some polishing in order to make it a better game. EA Sports Canada is beginning to build momentum and their gameplan is beginning to feel better, but before they can come out to the octagon for their title fight they have a few more things to polish up. My rating for the game is an 8.1 out of 10. The improvements and gameplay are treasured while the few blemishes drag the game down.