E3 2014: UFC hands on preview

5 min read


Two years in the making, the latest title out of the EA Sports factory is UFC. With the goal of combining excellent gameplay with realistic fighters, the game seeks to break into the sports market and make quite an impact.

I got some hands on time with the game, and I almost managed to forget about Bruce Lee’s giant package in the EA press conference trailer. UFC is a complete and enjoyable experience and will be a must-have for any fans of the sport.

First up, the game offers a smart UI. This means that the tiles displaying the various game modes, fighters, etc adjust as you play the game. If you like to play with specific fighters, their faces will appear on the tiles.

UFC offers a variety of modes. Career mode kicks off in Ultimate Fighter, letting players earn their spot in UFC. The eventual goal is to get into the hall of fame. In order to do that, you will need to learn how to fight. Challenges (another game mode) can help with that, offering practice in bite-sized pieces so that players can learn specific skills and techniques to improve their overall performance.

Online play is divided into three main types: quick match, championships and rivalries. Quick match is unranked – just an easy way to play against others online but without any commitment or long-term consequences.

Championships form the core online experience. With five divisions, players take part in seasons. Those seasons consist of ten fights which can be played over any period of time. All players start in the bottom division and work their way up to the top over a series of seasons. Players can also move down the divisions, ensuring that they over time they end up playing against other people who are of similar skill levels.

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Rivalries are similar to championships, but they’re more about challenging your friends. Seasons only consist of five games, making it much quicker to determine which of your friends are the top dogs.

There are plenty of profile options with a profile page that is full of stats and infographics. These can give general information about preferred fighters, as well as fighting types and details on how you tend to lose matches. This can help players determine what they should practice in the Challenges mode to be more well-rounded fighters.

At the end of a match, players can opt to send a highlight reel. If they do so, that reel will be available for others to view under UFC Spotlight. In addition to the video on demand highlight reels, everyday they will collate 10 highlight reels into a collected video, creating a top moment of the day clip.

The game will launch with 98 fighters, with an ever updating roster. Bruce Lee is one of the signature fighters, and the designers even got a cast of his head to work with to ensure his likeness was as close as possible. All the fighters are as lifelike as currrent technology allows, with even their pre-match shakes and bounces resembling their real-life actions.

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But enough about modes and aesthetics, we all know that in the end it comes down to gameplay.

UFC uses stamina as its primary resource. Throw too many punches and kicks in a row, and your character will run low on stamina, making it easier for opponents to take you down and also harder for you to throw the next punch or kick. The controls are fairly intuitive with blocking mapped to triggers, attacks mapped to buttons and bumpers used to modify attacks.

Unlike other fighting games that players may be used to, it’s really hard to get an opponent’s health bar down to zero. While you can do damage, and particularly make certain parts of the body more vulnerable, it’s not a matter of just throwing a few kicks and knocking out your opponent. It’s a careful dance between players, balancing stamina and impact, damage and timing. But the game is a lot of fun – it’s a unique kind of fighting and sport game, and I think it could appeal to a variety of players in the EA Sports world.

Last Updated: June 12, 2014

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let’s get on with it!

  • Sk3tz0

    Downloaded the UFC Demo off PlayStation Store last night waiting to go to test it out. looks fun.

  • Hands-on with the UFC fighters????……ohhhh naughty

    • Dutch Matrix

      Sorry,, I have to ask: Is your avatar a boy, girl or both?

      • Rinceinantici

        It’s a JRPG, who the fuck knows?

        • oVgeeeeee Comet Drop

          Lightning with a haircut πŸ˜›

      • Boy lol Ace

  • oVgeeeeee Comet Drop

    Nice run down ZOE, who says girls don’t like fighting games?

    I remember when I popped UFC 2009 in. The learning curve was steep indeed. But the reward was ageless. In the process I garnered a new found respect for the sport. A very scientific sport but to the layman it looks like nothing more than a cock fight in the cage.
    Super reward gratification when your play goes exactly down to your game plan.

    My bro and I have been playing this game for 5 years now and each fight is never ever the same.

    The only concern that I have is the grappling system because it never worked in the third game. UFC 2009 sold 2million copies because it was the first game to never have a HUD MINI GAME. Knowing when your opponent is tired and ready for a leg bar just came second nature.

    But when I saw the EA UFC dev demo on the PS4 my jaw dropped. I have never seen such realistic animation in a game, I know, I have played countless hours on the other titles. The collision detection and animation made me go out and buy a PS4.

    Off-line gamers are also rewarded with a solid career mode.

    Check the control scheme.

    • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando


      • oVgeeeeee Comet Drop


    • Rinceinantici
      • oVgeeeeee Comet Drop


        • Rinceinantici

          Too soon?

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            That’s what she said.

    • Rinceinantici

      Yeah, I am a little concerned about this new ‘game’ for the grappling system. I hated the 2010 version’s SNAKE game, totally broke the immersion and made it an arcade game, not a simulator that 2009 was. Still, I am excited to have a crack at this, bring it!

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      The way Rince tells it, every game is the same. Him beating you.

      • Rinceinantici

        Watch the video below πŸ˜› PS: Yes, he had to down a beer after this πŸ˜‰

      • oVgeeeeee Comet Drop

        That because he buys the Beers πŸ˜‰ Long term con.

        • Rinceinantici

          Pah! Then why are you so reluctant to down them after? tehehehhe

  • FoxOneZA

    UFC aka The Man-Hug simulator.

    • oVgeeeeee Comet Drop

      Ronda Rousey would like a word πŸ˜›

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        I’m more interested in how to turn a breath mint into a weapon. Safe cracking is just training & jumping off a cliff is not exactly rocket science.

        • Anon A Mouse

          Throw it in you opponents mouth and let him choke on it. It’s also not really rocket science you know.

        • FoxOneZA

          But can you jump off a cliff with a horse?

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            A real horse? They’re quite heavy.

        • Dutch Matrix

          Take breath mint from pocket/mouth.
          Wipe your arse on it.
          Shove down opponent’s throat.
          Watch him die in agony…
          Walk away with a fresh minty feeling to your arse.

      • FoxOneZA

        Hmmmmm πŸ˜›

      • Dutch Matrix

        I played UFC for all of 30 minutes. The first time my fighter pinned a guy to the wall and stared into his eyes like he did, I got REALLY uncomfortable. I’m not a homophobe. Far from it. I just cannot get into male/male homo-erotic stuff…

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Gentleman’s moustache? Tats? Wait.. Is that a digital representation of me?

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