Okay, so EA Sports UFC is a game I'm considering getting... yes, for the Xbox One, because yes, I do have an Xbox One.
However, I've been very leery about the game for a few reasons: First, I was worried about pre-order DLC or disc-locked content. Thankfully, EA made it known that Bruce Lee – one of the big pre-order bonuses – can be unlocked by actually playing the game. So this is huge right there. You don't need to pay to unlock content already on the disc. Awesome.
Second, I was very worried about the actual gameplay timing, mechanics and fight-functionality. In the previous EA Sports MMA, the fighting looked a bit janky and jerky, and the poor frame-rate made the whole thing feel like watching a dancing monkey with Parkinson's disease. Thankfully, EA released some footage showcasing Bruce Lee in action, and us gamers managed to see enough to know that at least the striking would be as smooth as butter on a toasted bun.
Third, match pacing and fight continuity was the last concern. How well would the game maintain a fight pace that was somewhat realistic but also entertaining? It's been one of those hard balances to maintain with MMA games, mostly because in real-life a fight can take a drastic turn with just one good hit. As the video above showcases, it's more like three or four good hits before a player starts to wobble and fall, but it's all good.
The thing that concerned me the most have slowly been addressed leading up to release, and this is good because it means that gamers interested in buying this product are receiving the sort of promotional material necessary to gauge and scrutinize the game that will dictate a day-one purchase or not.
There are a few things that gamers on Reddit pointed out that they weren't completely fond of:
1.) Lack of commentary.
2.) Awkward pauses in the middle of attacks
3.) Punches don't feel like they have weight
The awkward pauses is where animation transitions take place. I was looking for those and they are there, but compared to EA Sports MMA and the last UFC Undisputed title, I think EA Sports UFC looks a bit smoother.
The lack of commentary is a throwaway. If it's better or worse per match, I don't think that's really that game-breaking. I'm more concerned with the playability and mechanics. However, someone who is watching someone else play, I can see how commentary (or the lack thereof) can be immersion-breaking.
As for the punches having weight... this is something I'm wrestling with. In real life a lot of times the punches don't look like they carry a lot of weight unless it's a heavyweight throwing the punch. The kicks definitely look like they carry a bit more “umph”. It's also hard to judge because I'm curious if it's just the fighters or if weight differences, endurance and fighting styles play a part? For instance, Gracie throwing a kick or punch looked absolutely weak compared to Don Frye or Bas Rutten, just the same as Renzo's kicks and punches looked like a baby waving around a rattle compared to Tank Abbott or Mark “The Hammer” Coleman. So I guess we'll have to wait and see how this plays out with different fighters and weight classes.
EA Sports UFC is set for release on June 17th for the Xbox One and PS4. It will be the first multiplatform MMA game released for the new-gen twins. You can visit the official website to learn more.