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Glorified gatekeeper that isn’t championship material

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    EA Sports UFC 2

    Rating: 3.0 – Fair

    Glorified gatekeeper that isn’t championship material

    Being a fan of the sport of mixed martial arts, I like to occasionally play video games based on the sport and use characters I see on television. I have played some of the older THQ ones, but not the last EA UFC title. EA Sports UFC 2 for the the Xbox One has its moments, where the actual fighting is pretty solid at times, but the overall amount of enjoyable modes leaves a lot to be desired. Ultimately, the lack of content makes this game quickly forgettable and ends up back on a shelf.

    Like most sports games, career mode is where I spend the bulk of my time. In EA Sports UFC 2’s career mode, you take a new fighter from his infancy to stardom. Being that this is generally the mode I play the most, EA left a lot to be desired here. The options during create your fighter felt limited and lacked options. While I liked the initial Ultimate Fighter stint before making your full fledge UFC debut, which I thought this was a nice touch, the career mode is heavy on the training. Though this probably accurately reflects real life, where fighters are in fight camps for long periods of time and end up just being in a minute fight, this does not exactly translate to fun in its video game form.

    During training camps, users will have the option to simulate a particular session or take part in it. These sessions will vary from take down defense, striking, grappling, and so forth. None of these felt particularly fun. When in training camp, it made me want to fast forward to the actual fights. During actual fights, the game play overall felt solid. I thought the striking felt smooth. Stringing together combos felt fluid. The grappling felt overly complicated and not seamless however. Transitioning to different positions or attempting submissions felt more like a burden than fun. This is a bit of a shame, since I had a lot of fun with the stand up aspects.

    With the stand up game being quite fun, it overshadowed the ground components. If this game was strictly a kickboxing game, it would be quite good from a game play perspective. However, with the ground aspect leaving a bit to be desired, it felt like a bore whenever the fight went to the ground. With this in mind, the game probably became a bit repetitive to play more quickly than it should had the ground aspect been as good as the stand up.

    Another aspect of the fighting that I thought was a bit too excessive was the stamina meter. It felt like fighters were getting drained of energy too quickly, which became really apparent when I hurt an opponent and tried to finish him or her. With that said, I kind of like the extra presentation where fighters became more sloppy if their stamina meter drained. Additionally, the stats and records felt lacking as well.
    In addition to career mode, there is a knock out mode where the fight is kept standing and two fighters throw punches, kicks and knees till the other is knocked out. This does offer a bit of fun for a short while, but eventually becomes tiresome. I also enjoyed the create event mode, where I create an event and then play through it. My paid Xbox Live subscription expired, so I did not have an opportunity to play online, which did not help from a mode and content perspective.

    One thing that was especially well done was the presentation of EA Sports UFC 2. From Joe Rogan’s commentating to Bruce Buffer’s introduction, the game felt like it was out of a live UFC event. I also liked small little touches like the walk out or the tidbits about each fighter before they step into the cage. The movement and animation also looked quite good. Rocking an opponent with a powerful right looks quite good. The character models also look solid. The game runs smoothly, graphics look good, and the commentating is on point. The overall presentation is a big plus.

    EA Sports UFC 2 has its moments. Throwing punches and kicks in combination is fun, looks quite appealing, and flows smoothly. This is anchored down by a ground system that felt boring. Additionally, the career mode which I spend most of my time in sports games felt lacking and weighed down by excessive training. With that said, there are some potential here. A sequel that brings its ground game on par with the striking and a better effort career mode could lead to a good or even great game. As it stands for this version however, EA Sports UFC 2 is fun at times, but ultimately falls short of living up to a hyped fight.

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