Today sees the launch of the highly-anticipated EA SPORTS UFC2, the follow-up to the hugely successful first installment of the franchise that was released back in 2014.
Given that the profile of the sport, officially the fastest growing in the world, has changed so dramatically over the past two years; what does EA Sports’ latest delve into the world of Mixed-Martial Arts hold for gamers to match that meteoric rise?
Well, there’s plenty of new features for fans to sink their teeth into. The makers have delivered five brand-new gaming modes as well as the ability to play as more than 250 stunningly realistic UFC fighters, plus a host of famous names from outside the Octagon including Mike Tyson and Bruce Lee.
“By listening to fans, sharpening our fundamentals, focusing on areas of innovation in gameplay, and adding massive depth to modes, we believe we’ve taken the franchise and MMA games to the next level with this one,” said EA SPORTS UFC 2 Creative Director, Brian Hayes.
“We’re excited that it’s finally time to ask fans to stare back at their opponent, bite down on their mouthpiece, come out swinging and finish the fight.”
Leading the way for UFC2 Ultimate Team. Taking their cue from the wildly successful FIFA game franchise, EA Sports have exported it’s Ultimate Team mode, which allows gamers to build their own unique, customised team of five fighters, as well as trade cards and earn coins while playing online.
Fans will love the ability to customise with items from packs which improve or change their fighters moves, attributes and perks while playing with their fellow fight fans from all over the world.
KO mode is for those who like their gaming experience to be fast and furious. Forget the technicalities of UFC and forget tactics, this all-action mode is about one thing and one thing only; putting your opponent on the canvas with a knockout blow. The rules are simple - the fight stops when someone gets stopped. Brian Hayes says: "It was actually the video capture guy who said, ‘hey, this would be an awesome game mode.' And I was like, ‘you are absolutely right. This would be an awesome game mode.'"
The Custom Event Creator helps you morph from warrior to matchmaker; build your dream fight card with real-life venues and referees, Title Chase mode takes gamers online to battle it out for a shot at the title in their weight class, while Live Events replicates reality by playing out upcoming match-ups for the right to win in-game rewards and propel yourself up the leaderboards of the most immersive fantasy prediction game you’ve ever played.
"By listening to fans, sharpening our fundamentals, focusing on areas of innovation in gameplay, and adding massive depth to modes, we believe we’ve taken the franchise and MMA games to the next level" - Brian Hayes
While there’s plenty to sink your teeth into with the new modes, even those left over from the original UFC game have received a facelift. The biggest change? The girls are taking over; you’re now able to embark on a career in Career Mode as Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm or whichever fighter you choose as you try to guide them to glory.
While the new game modes will lure in a host of new fans, it’s the upgraded gameplay featuring hyper-realistic animation and an all-new Knockout Physics System that will keep them coming back for more.
UFC2 promises, and delivers, more authentic and unique knockouts than ever before; the ripple of flesh and splatter of blood with each strike will take fans closer to being inside the cage than ever before. It really does have to be seen to be believed.
Brian Hayes explains: "It's about us being able to have no knockouts really being the same, in terms of they're not canned knockout animations - they're driven by what direction the strike is traveling, what direction the opponent who is getting hit is traveling. Momentum, physics, all of those things play into creating an outcome that is realistic, tremendously varied, and super, super rewarding. So when you see the replays of you sending guys to the mat with tremendous force, it's that awesome couch-play moment where you point in your friend's face and tell him how much he sucks, because look at how incapacitated he is. It's really fantastic."
The game also offers feedback in the form of visual clues to let players know just how effective their wheelkick or overhand right was. If your opponent is rocked or their legs buckle, then you know it’s time to unleash one last final knockout blow.
It’s not just the headline-grabbing knockout blows that have improved immeasurably either. For connoisseurs of the grapple and masters of the mat, there’s plenty to sink your teeth in to as well.
Every aspect of the ground game feels more organic and realistic. From the initial clinch to the takedown and maneuvering out of a submission hold, you’ll be helped out along the way by the Grapple Assist HUD. It will show you what moves are available to you at any given moment and help you make the right decision to get out of a clinch, or to end the fight.
The Ultimate Defence upgrade offers greater control and fluidity over your fighter, which means you can slip, slide, block and parry your way out of trouble like never before.
The major upgrade from the first UFC game is that both fighters can grapple independently. That means rather than just being able to defend when taken down, fighters can transition and go on the attack, creating a more dynamic grappling experience.
The welcome addition of standing submissions as well as submission chaining means UFC 2 offers a more realistic fighting experience than ever before too.
Aside from all the new updates there’s still plenty to keep you entertained otherwise. There are 12 different skill challenge mini-games to get you up to speed as quickly as possible, there’s Create A Fighter, which takes fighter customisation to a whole new level - female fighters are included in this mode too - and, of course, there’s an in-depth practise mode, where it all starts.
With stunning character likeness and animation, brand new game modes, the all new Knockout Physics System and authentic gameplay features, UFC2 delivers a deep, authentic, and exciting experience and takes MMA gaming to a whole new level. It’s time to get ready and finish the fight.