EA Sports finally put their best foot forward in the world of MMA, but is ‘UFC 2’ a complete knockout among fans?

By Dustin Shull

Hopefully you are actually reading this, instead of bypassing it simply because the title of EA Sports UFC was present.

I promise that we are beyond the glitch filled game that was EA’s attempt at competing with THQ’s UFC Undisputed. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just watch the glitch series YouTube user Tommy Toe Hold has posted and enjoy a good laugh.

Two years later though, EA seems to have figured out what they were struggling to achieve in their first attempt.

As with any game, perfection is far away, but improvement is what has been achieved.

Graphics

Whether it is watching Conor McGregor’s hair flow and bounce as he plants a flying knee into someone’s face or the blood spray that follows, this game has graphics that stand out among the best. Faces and mannerisms are spot on. It is quite impressive how much a game can change in just two years.

Once the opening scene of a championship bout between Robbie “Ruthless” Lawler and Rory “Red King” MacDonald begins, you feel as though you are watching actual footage.  The crowd, lighting, and sounds make it feel as life like as imaginable. You roll through the cut scene and are then put into the fight yourself. Landing punches and kicks one after another all-the-while seeing bruises, cuts, and blood pour from their faces, onto the mat and both the fighters. Slow motion replays between rounds and knockout replays at the end of fights will show ripples in the skin when blows are landing.

I would have been more impressed had EA put a little more detail into the emotion that fighters show. After fights it feels as though both fighters have lost and neither one really shows you very much as far as being happy about a win or devastated from a loss.

I found myself in awe at the smoothness. The visuals alone made me want to binge play for hours. Flawless imagery and fluid movements make the game-play enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing.

Gameplay and Controls

As far as actually playing the game, and realizing first-hand how difficult and in-depth this game is, things get a little more interesting. At times I would feel in control and as though I had the game down. Then, I would get caught in a clinch or stuck rolling around on the mat for 3 solid minutes while accomplishing nothing. When you are in control, the game is addicting.

The clinch and ground game is complex and requires quickness as well as tremendous timing. I pride myself on being an avid gamer and able to hone my skills in any genre or game title, but this one kept me frustrated and on the verge of spending $60 on another controller. The tutorials do very little to help you get the hang of it and the training sessions just throw you into the deep end instead of guiding you along.

The stand-up aspect is nearly perfect and is by far my favorite part of the game. Having basic punches and kicks to the head and body do quick and efficient damage to soften your opponent up for the big blows. Holding L1/LB and pushing the left joystick up, down, forward, or back along with an attack gives you a wide range of powerful moves that can turn the lights out in a flash.

My personal favorite, being able to jump from the cage and obliterate someone with a superman punch or flying knee. The damage aspect is suspect at times, sometimes being all over the place. You can stop blocking for a second and get knocked out suddenly, but on the other hand you can land heavy punch, kick, or knee repeatedly and somehow never achieve a violent knockout. Fighting the computer can also get a little nerve-racking when your stamina bar drops at a rapid rate while the CPU retains full stamina throughout the fights.

There are many game modes to hone these skills, whether it be fight now, my career, ultimate team, or taking your skills online. There could have been a little more depth to my career mode as far as training and things to do, but still a lot of fun to play. The excitement of earning your spot on Tough Enough and fighting your way to winning a UFC Championship will keep you glued to this game mode. You might be slightly let down as far as how much customization to your character you can do. Being able to add your own picture for your fighters face through EA Game Face is a nice touch, but when it comes to making your fighter stand out from the rest, it falls flat. The only thing you fight for to unlock is earning evolution points to buy new punches, kicks, submissions, take-downs, and clinch and ground moves.

Knockout mode is by far the greatest addition to the game, as two fighters are given the same amount of health and the object is to just knock the hell out of your opponent. Yes, it is as fun as it sounds. This is a great mode to play with friends or just let off some steam on a virtual enemy.

Overall: 7.5 out of 10

This is a huge step up from the first game and deserves to be up there with the best games of the year thus far.

The fun is there to be had, and would make for a great game night with some friends. There’s no better way to establish dominance than to KO your buddy with a vicious roundhouse kick or spinning back fist.

There is plenty of downloadable content available from Iron Mike Tyson, old and new, and Bruce Lee. Those fighters only add to the deep roster of fighters you have to choose from.

Submissions and the game having the actual personality of the UFC is still not there still needs work, but if you are a fan of UFC and/or a fan of gaming, then you should give this one a shot.

t will take some time to get the feel of the game and to build up your character, so be patient, give it some time, and you should be pretty happy with what the game has to offer.

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