EA Sports UFC Xbox One First Impressions: I Love It
While the game keeps a great pace and the fighting can easily draw you in (much more so than I was anticipating) there are a few things I should point out in order to keep the hype and anticipation in check:
First, there was some frame stutter on the Xbox One. It's become common place in the realm of console gaming. It only happened in between rounds or the introductions or replays – it was minor but still apparent. When you come from PC gaming where it rarely happens, it makes it stand out that much more when you see it happen on consoles. It never occurred during the actual fight, but it is something worth noting.
Second, some of the animation transitions are still a little jerky. Going from knockdowns to the guard position can sometimes look a little off-putting as they blend from the ragdoll effect to the ground-guard position. And sometimes you can see the stop and start transitions between close encounters like the clinch or moving through the different positions while on the ground. It's not major, but again, it's noticeable.
Third, not all the attacks feel as impactful as you might hope. In Fire Pro Wrestling the game prevents players from busting out big moves early on by having auto-counters take place, so instead players have to build up their momentum to pull off bigger moves by peppering opponents with smaller attacks. In EA Sports UFC you can pull off your strong striking attacks at the start of the match and it doesn't really appear to have much effect on opponents. They just absorb the attack and keep going.
However, I should point out that the reactions and shock-absorption of heavy attacks look and feel a lot more impactful as the match wears on. The brunt of each attack (light or heavy) is met with staggering, sweaty, bloody and bruised fighters. By the end of the match every single strike comes across as if it could be the final blow to bring on the K.O. So while some attacks look light and worthless at the satrt of the match, they swell up in importance, impact and response by the end of the fight.
Also, knockouts and knockdowns can really occur out of the blue, but mostly they're in response to an opponent's low stamina.
I should also add that the stamina meter is balanced perfectly. Spammers will die fast!
If you spam your blocking then your stamina decreases rapidly. However, successfully timed counter-attacks won't take away too much of your stamina bar. So players who are precision artists with block-countering will excel in a fight, block-spammers will not.
If you spam strikes of any kind your stamina will rapidly decrease and leave you open for an easy knockout.
If you spam trying to get out of a submission or from out of the grapple, you will also lose stamina rapidly. Once you get on the ground you have to keep your wits about you, stay calm and methodically and technically exercise your skills to get out of a tight situation. Literally it's just like real life, except you don't have to worry about losing any teeth.
The bottom line is that EA Sports UFC rewards skillful, patient players and punishes button-mashers like they're the scum of the universe, which means that this game will be a blast to play online!
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