More time has been put into EA Sports UFC in between all the massive coverage leading up to E3 next week. It's a hectic time but I've found myself being absolutely drawn into this game like I figured I would.
In the original impressions piece I had a lot of positive things to say about the striking and very little to dispense in regards to the ground game and the grapple system. This time around I went all-in on the grapple system, focusing solely on trying to get Jon Jones to submit using Alexander Gustafsson.
So the submission system seemed confusing at first, but it really does synch up as you play it more. Waggling the thumbsticks around will get you no where, and if you're a newb it will absolutely cost you the match. You really have to be methodical and tactical applying and escaping submissions.
The thing that really impresses me is that the submissions take form in a handful of tiers. Each tier basically represents applying more pressure and synching in the submission. As you get closer to fully synching, it becomes harder for the other person to get out, just the same as it becomes harder to lock it in.
The submission system is basically similar to Dance Dance Revolution, insofar that it's required to match up the proper right-thumbstick direction with your opponent. As they move in one direction you have to move with them. Eventually there will be a quick left-thumbstick prompt that you'll need to synch with or else the hold will break.
I can easily see some players mastering this method down to a science, as the submission game becomes its own mini-game meta experience. For now, I think it works really well for what it is and ensures that skillful players will always be about their wits. As I mentioned in the previous piece, there's no button mashing required here and it's certainly not rewarded.
Another thing I encountered this time around is instant knockouts. I was afraid they weren't going to be in the game after having some long-winded bouts the previous night while playing as Jones; I was constantly peppering away on Gustafsson and the guy just wouldn't go down. It was frustrating.