EA’s UFC is not the company’s first jab at an MMA Game. Yes, it’s the first to feature Dana White’s established brand and many of its licenced stars, but it’s not the first. They’ve done it before with EA’s MMA. That mediocre fighter managed to innovate in a few small ways, but it rather importantly laid the groundwork for a sequel that would be better. It’s for this reason that I can’t help but shake the feeling that EA’s UFC should be better.

Kimura

The whole thing feels a little underdeveloped. For EA’s UFC, development was yanked from EA Tiburon and thrown in to the capable hands of EA Canada, who developed Fight Night Round 4. As you’d expect, given the pedigree, the game looks rather nice with detailed and realistic models of your favourite UFC stars (yes, even the women) available to kick, punch and generally bliksem in whatever way you see fit.

Whenever there’s a character customisation option available, I forgo using established fighters in favour of my own creations. UFC’s character creator isn’t the most robust though, consisting of a number of pre-set faces and bodies that you can use to stamp your own personality on your created fighter. Naturally, I did my best to create our own Darryn; using the shortest, chubbiest and hairiest pre-sets available.

EA SPORTS™ UFC®_20140622111837

For whatever reason, I opted for “The D” to be a stand up fighter – and I’m really quite glad; turns out that the stand-up game in UFC is excellent, and probably the best of the 3 general fighting approaches available in the game. Kicks and punches register nicely, with the controller rumbling when a particularly effective strike connects. It’s based off of the controller’s face buttons each controlling a limb, with the triggers and bumpers being used as modifiers. The control scheme opens up a rather dizzying array of stand up attacks; more kicks and punches are available to you than anyone would ever rightly need.

There are as many defence options available. A flick of the stick dodges, while triggers can be used to modify your defence to allow for parries and blocks. The entire stand up game is about a fine balance of risk and reward; go in for a heavy strike at your peril – a quick parry and you might be on the unfortunate receiving end of a foot to the face. Much of “The D’s” career in the UFC was spent kicking away at legs, keeping opponents just out of reach and then heading in for a brutal attack when his weakened legs gave in.

Darryn - a blur of fat and hair

I wish EA had spent as much time and thought on the rest of the game. The clinch and the ground game are far too robotic. It’s part of the nature of turning something as chaotic as MMA in to a video game; the player needs to clearly see what is happening as a transition happens and react accordingly. THQ’s UFC 3 made up or this by doing numerous different animations for the same thing, making it come across as far more fluid and natural than it really was. The same isn’t true here, where transitions on the ground are mechanical and rote.

That’s not to say that the ground game or clinch is terrible, it’s just not nearly as good as the stand-up. It’s based on a somewhat simplified version of what we saw in previous UFC games. Quarter circle rotations of the right stick are used to transition between positions while submissions are executed via a mini-game that has both players pushing the stick in different directions to break the hold or further it.

Schmidt rhymes with...sit.

Career mode itself is exactly what you’d expect; you start out as a fresh young fighter in The Ultimate Fighter reality TV series, working your way up until you eventually join the UFC. From there, provided you win of course, you’ll work your way up from the undercard to the main card, and eventually nab yourself a title shot and perpetual spot in the main event. It’s all a bit repetitive though. Fight your match, do three horribly repetitive training mini games and then use the resulting points to upgrade your fighter by pumping the points in to stats or unlocking new moves. It’s all punctuated by messages from UFC boss Dana White and other stalwarts like Mike Dolce that’re meant to make you feel like you’re part of the UFC, but the long loading times and frequent repeats make it all seem rather shallow. It’s really just an excuse to level your created fighter.

There’s a dearth of superfluous modes to flesh it out beyond quick matches and the online. Online play with our South African internet is actually decent. I had a number of matches without much in the way of lag to get in the way, and even when it does the game pauses momentarily to catch up; so while the flow of matches might be interrupted, you’ll never be at a disadvantage based on proximity.

EA SPORTS™ UFC®_20140622163247

For a long while, I didn’t like the game at all. I glossed over the tutorials, guides and in-game walkthroughs because I’m male and we ignore instructions. That was very much to my detriment, as there’s a rather necessary amount of controller-fu required to get the most out of the game. Like the previous UFC games, this one’s a little difficult to pick up and play. In the end though, once I’d actually learned how to not consistently end up being beaten in the face, I had a good time with EA’s UFC – eventually taking “The D” all the way to the championship. I just wish it didn’t feel like a game of two halves. Like EA’s previous MMA game, UFC lays the groundwork for an excellent sequel; let’s hope they don’t throw it all away and start afresh a second time.

Last Updated: June 23, 2014

Ultimate Fighting Championship
Fans of the brutal sport will find a decent and enjoyable game if they look hard enough. An excellent stand-up game is marred by a weak ground game. There's little little of substance beyond the polish, leaving THQ's UFC 3 as an undisputedly better game.
6.7
Ultimate Fighting Championship was reviewed on PlayStation 4
70 / 100

70 Comments

  1. Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

    June 23, 2014 at 15:33

    I CAST OVG!

    Reply

    • Rince&exhale

      June 23, 2014 at 15:42

      hahahaha You may regret that!

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

        June 23, 2014 at 15:42

        Never, he is quite entertaining on a rant

        Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      June 23, 2014 at 16:03

      I think you need to tap 3 mountains & 1 swamp to summon oVg.

      Reply

  2. Hammersteyn

    June 23, 2014 at 15:34

    “The D” wins the championship? Great, another buggy game from EA

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

      June 23, 2014 at 16:04

      Haha

      Reply

    • Skyblue

      June 23, 2014 at 20:11

      Lol

      Reply

  3. Monado

    June 23, 2014 at 15:37

    HAHAHAHA USN Much D? Do you even protein BRO??

    Not a fan of the sport tbh, it’s too violent for my liking. Graphics looks nice though. Their nipples are really well detailed.

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      June 23, 2014 at 15:38

      It’s not that violent, most of it is men spooning on the ground.

      Reply

      • Monado

        June 23, 2014 at 15:40

        Arm bar? morel like feel my nuts bar

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          June 23, 2014 at 15:41

          hahahaha

          Reply

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          June 23, 2014 at 16:02

          lol, “I’ll break your arm over my nuts” bar. You sir, are a comedic genius!

          Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        June 23, 2014 at 16:01

        There’s nothing more loving than cuddling in a full nelson.

        Reply

    • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

      June 23, 2014 at 15:38

      “too violent”

      “nipples are really well detailed”

      WHAT THE FLIP DUDE?

      Reply

      • Monado

        June 23, 2014 at 15:40

        I don’t like RL violence, even if it’s controlled. I can deal with brutal games or movies, but it’s just fiction.

        Reply

      • Dutch Matrix

        June 23, 2014 at 15:41

        There are no androgynous young characters in this game. Most likely the problem…

        Reply

    • Dutch Matrix

      June 23, 2014 at 15:38

      It lacks the theatrics that makes WWE so entertaining.

      Reply

  4. Rince&exhale

    June 23, 2014 at 15:42

    6.7? Fuck kind of score is that? OvG is going to be very disappointed.

    Reply

    • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      June 23, 2014 at 15:42

      It’s decent. 6.7 means it’s not bad. Not great, but not bad. I liked it, but it feels undercooked.

      Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        June 23, 2014 at 15:46

        For the record, I agree with the 6.7. It’s an ok game.

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

          June 23, 2014 at 15:47

          Sucking up to the staff for the next prize draw???….

          Reply

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            June 23, 2014 at 15:48

            That obvious? Hey… I need my hands on some loot!

      • FoxOneZA

        June 23, 2014 at 17:59

        Is that 6.7 with cheese or without cheese? 😛

        Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      June 23, 2014 at 15:42

      Round it off to 7?

      Reply

    • Skyblue

      June 23, 2014 at 20:14

      I am greatly saddened by this.

      Reply

    • Tauriq Moosa

      June 24, 2014 at 10:32

      Thank goodness it’s not 6.6. Cos that would just be weird.

      Reply

      • Rince&exhale

        June 24, 2014 at 10:49

        DIK troll is a DIK

        Reply

        • Tauriq Moosa

          June 24, 2014 at 10:51

          shudup femist

          Reply

  5. Dutch Matrix

    June 23, 2014 at 15:45

    Isn’t this one meant to allow you to create female fighters as well?

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      June 23, 2014 at 15:47

      That’s what I thought. Maybe Geoff can make another character, like The B?

      Reply

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      June 23, 2014 at 15:49

      You can fight as Rhonda, but sadly you can’t create a female character… :/

      Reply

      • Dutch Matrix

        June 23, 2014 at 15:52

        That is kind of disappointing really.

        Reply

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          June 23, 2014 at 15:54

          It is… sigh.. 🙁 I was kind of looking forward to creating Florence McClusky a young 19 year old eager to join the UFC and become UFC Women’s champ. But alas…

          Reply

  6. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    June 23, 2014 at 15:46

    I have to agree with Geoff. Moments of sheer brilliance marred by being generally under-cooked. EA seems to be doing it a lot lately. Decent games or decent ideas with very little follow through (i.e. Titanfall and now UFC MMA). They’ve definitely taken some inspiration from the THQ games, and improved on parts of it, but there are other parts of the game that’s just baffling bad. The ground game is poor. It’s far too easy to fight your way out of transitions. The single player campaign is entertaining though, and I enjoyed the occasional videos from fellow fighters and trainers, but it’s just not at the level that I want it to be.

    Also….

    The multiplayer is crap. The cool championship mode is plagued by rage-quitters. Many quit just as you’re about to submit them, and since there are no penalties for quitting, the problem is rife.

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      June 23, 2014 at 15:54

      They should make your character wear a “I tapped out shirt” as penalty

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

        June 23, 2014 at 15:56

        Hahaha

        RageQuitBaby

        Reply

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          June 23, 2014 at 15:59

          RageQuit like it’s Call of Duty!!!

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

            June 23, 2014 at 16:01

            [insert pathetic insult about your mother] and you are all set!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            June 23, 2014 at 16:06

            “Your momma’s so fat she shows up as 2 encounters on the Witcher 3 map!”

    • Brady miaau

      June 23, 2014 at 16:07

      Um, so you quit, you no lose?

      Awesome.

      Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        June 23, 2014 at 16:09

        Yep.

        At first, I thought it was a bug, but then after 4 matches in a row (with 4 rage-quitters countering my skills with the options button and quit), I returned to the loving embrace of Borderlands 2.

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

          June 24, 2014 at 07:59

          I bought BL2 gotye yesterday, time to partaaaay

          Reply

    • FoxOneZA

      June 23, 2014 at 18:00

      Oh, so now’s you haz some FIFA in your UFC? Cute (-___-)

      Reply

  7. Alien Emperor Trevor

    June 23, 2014 at 15:46

    Needs MOAR Tap Out t-shirts!

    Reply

  8. Tomahawk "Lightning" Jones

    June 23, 2014 at 16:01

    Dat face.

    Reply

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      June 23, 2014 at 16:10

      Those eyes have seen things…

      Reply

      • Tomahawk "Lightning" Jones

        June 23, 2014 at 16:26

        Mainly The D Schmidt’s atrocious man-nips.

        Reply

  9. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    June 23, 2014 at 16:09

    Tonight I plan on schooling Geoff with Bruce Lee. Hopefully I will have a video of sheer brilliance to show for my efforts. MUAHAHAHHAHA MUAHAHAHAHAHAH MUAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH!!

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief Cyber Commando

      June 24, 2014 at 07:59

      Video????

      Reply

  10. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    June 23, 2014 at 16:36

    My Bruce Lee will beat your bearded face guy.

    http://webm.zone/i/1oQ.webm

    Reply

  11. Skyblue

    June 23, 2014 at 20:16

    Shot for the review Geoff and ruining my day, sigh.
    I loved The D references, very cool.

    Reply

    • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      June 24, 2014 at 06:59

      The game is decent, and it’s kinda fun while it lasts – but it just doesn’t stand up to UFC undisputed 3, which is a better game in nearly all regards. Graphically, it’s bloody impressive..but given how long it was in development, and the pedigree behind it, It’s not hard to expect something *better*

      Reply

  12. alcatraz5953

    June 24, 2014 at 13:55

    PC gaming could definitely do with more sports games 🙁

    Reply

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