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I'm excited for EA Sports UFC. I know, I know... “It's EA and EA is the Evil Axis!” is the one thing that can't be said enough in most gaming circles where the core audience has been burned more times than a piece of toast that stays too long in a Nixon-era toaster with a broken coil and a penchant for getting hotter than a summer afternoon in Fresco, California.

The reality is that I'm a fighting game fan starved for a good game. EA Sports UFC appears to be a good game. I've been playing the demo even when I don't have time to, and I've really been enjoying the amount of depth and stylistic learning curve(s) associated with the game.

There have been complaints about the striking and the movement and the grapple, but the more I play the more I realize that they aren't problems, just part of the learning curve.

Originally I was in the boat with everyone else who felt that “striking felt too weak”. That was until I won a couple of matches with a few instant and well placed headshots within 30 seconds of the match starting. Boom! Victory. Flask K.O for the win.

I was one of those gamers skeptical about the grappling system. I felt that things could be a bit unfair with the button prompts. However, after learning the rhythm to the system, it's both complex and intuitive. It doesn't favor one play-style over the other.

I was also concerned about the Judo and counter-game. None of the videos really showcased lots of throwing and counter-grapples. While the counter-grappling is very difficult to pull off on the ground, it's actually pretty fun and intense once you figure it out. Also, there are plenty of throw attacks in the game, so players who simply want to focus on throws and submissions can do so.

From a gameplay perspective, it's a lot of what I wanted out of a competitive, realistic fighting game. We don't get many games like this and it's a real shame because a lot of stuff like Tae Kwon Do and Kickboxer on the SNES and Sega Genesis were really fun games, but then they kind of dwindled away in favor of arcade games during the PSX and PS2 era, with the occasional Pride or UFC game here or there.

Hopefully EA Sports UFC will reignite realistic, sports fighting games and we'll see more of them make it to the market. In the mean time, you can check out some more screenshots for EA Sports UFC below, as the game preps for release on the Xbox One and PS4 on June 17th. Right now, the demo is running at 900p and a variable 30fps on the Xbox One and PS4. Hopefully they can get that patched right proper on release day.

For more information feel free to visit the official website.
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