Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor’s starring roles on the cover of EA Sports’ latest attempt at recreating the world of the best Fighting Championship is fitting. They are two of the sport’s most renowned stars; blessed with the precision, dedication and desire necessary to lift them to championship glory. Yet within their latest respective fights they both lost to opponents most expected them to beat. They have got the moves and the talent, however in the essential moment they didn’t improvise and fell apart. EA Sports UFC 2
is no different.
The true UFC is packed with sentimental, if brutal, glory. An underdog will get lucky and beat the champion with the first strike of a bout. The most enduring star can win in a manner that no-one has ever seen before, furthering strengthening their legend. Ronda Rousey beat Cat Zingano in 14 seconds by using a combo of dodge, counterattack and submission that a lot of would think impossible. Such occasions of shock and awe don’t happen here. UFC 2 is too sterile, too rigid, and too predictable to ever feel just like an authentic representation of a sport which has built a dedicated audience thanks in large part to the truth that anything can occur at any moment.
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Of course, replicating this most fundamental facet of sport is no easy feat for just about any gaming – particularly the one that must simultaneously offer both balance for everyday players and hardcore simulation. It’s reasonable to anticipate in order to tangle with each other and also have the superior, more skilled player developing on top. Getting the more skilled competitor being defeated by the first strike landed against them (whether that’s in the first round or the 3rd) simply wouldn’t be fair regarding game balance.
Picking Its Battles
So rather than wanting to be considered a genuine recreation of the UFC, then, developer EA Canada’s approach is to supply a precise representation of mixed martial arts’ core mechanics within a visual wrapper that’s impressive to behold. In this regard, UFC 2 can be viewed as a success.
This is just about the most visually impactful sports games available.
Likewise, without question that is just about the most visually impactful sports games available, competing with NBA 2K in terms of athlete likenesses and FIFA regarding animation variety. Every tattoo adorning McGregor is apparently within an individual pixel of accuracy, each one of Rousey’s tightly packed upper-body muscles flexes powerfully as each jab is thrown. Combine this with the sheer selection of attacks available and it was practically impossible never to be impressed by the visual spectacle even after hours of play under my belt.
Throw a punch in this momentary disconnect with reality and you’re treated to seeing a specialist fighter appear to be a drunk.
Awkward occasions are thrown up, because they were in EA Sports’ 2014 UFC release, whenever a fighter’s position is quickly and drastically altered. That is particularly noticeable after you have just dropped your foe to the canvas with a good strike, it Takes another for your fighter to join up that the prospective is no more standing right before them. Throw a punch in this momentary disconnect with reality and you’re treated to seeing a specialist fighter appear to be a drunk because they harmlessly swat away at the air before their face.
Its Got Moves
Otherwise, the animations have already been masterfully constructed in a fashion that gives you total control over individual actions. It’s if you are on your own feet that things are in their most powerful; the very best strikers in a position to execute combos as fast and as accurately since you can input them. Softening up your opponent with a few leg kicks before peppering the top and body with punches can be an art unto itself and, so long as you pit yourself against quality opposition, the one which takes significant practise to execute flawlessly.
Take the fight to ground with a wrestling or Brazilian jujitsu specialist, however, and the action is less impressive. Transitioning between positions of varying degrees of dominance is assigned to the proper stick, since it was in the 2014 UFC, with the ‘full mount’ position maintaining represent the hallowed ground that fights are usually won. Welcomingly, when the fight hits the mat a tiny icon appears indicating which position each stick movement will seek to secure. This eliminates the boorish memorisation that was needed previously and permits you to concentrate solely on outwitting your opponent and manipulating their body so concerning make defence difficult.
However, as the mechanics are well-planned in isolation, the outcome is just too big strict and managed to permit free-flowing combat. The truth is, the very best ground fighters move seamlessly, and frequently unpredictably, so that they can catch their opposite number off guard. Famous brands Chris Weidman and Fabricio Werdum are, the truth is, able to interlock several skills right into a single motion that leaves both spectator and opponent confused – it doesn’t happen here. After the best sequence of position changes has been found with a particular fighting style it becomes a matter of repeating that constantly so as to notch up victory after victory against the AI.
What You’d Expect
Game modes correctly reflect this predictability; the most common slate of career mode, quick fights and online ladders standing front and centre. Career mode is particularly underwhelming, as you need to undertake simple training mini-games in a bid to boost your fighter and win matches to go towards a title shot. It’s totally perfunctory, nothing more.
The most attention-grabbing new edition is Ultimate Team, an effort to reproduce the success EA Sports has seen through offering digital cards through the entire likes of FIFA and Madden. Here you can create a team as high as five custom-built fighters and contend with them, online or off, with a view to winning fights and collecting points which can be redeemed for packs of cards.
Spending points to get a new kind of punch is less exciting.
These cards unlock new attacks, fighting styles and stat boosts of varying degrees of impact, which ensures that compared to Ultimate Team as observed in FIFA and Madden, the implementation here’s underwhelming. There’s little wrong with the underlying idea of adding hook random factor to career progression through being unsure of just what a pack might hold, but spending points to get a new kind of punch is less exciting than ripping open a pack to discover a playable Odell Beckham Jr. or Lionel Messi. Locking out fighters wasn’t likely to work in this sport, given the comparatively smaller number of names featured within comparison to team sport games, but withholding a punch from you until you’ve got it instead of letting you earn it through training feels cynical and forced.
That’s UFC 2’s problem throughout: the basics are right, however the spectacle and details that may have made it feel just like genuine are missing. The stand-up game could be technically brilliant, and the visuals genuinely eye catching, nonetheless it never lets itself go and allows its fists to fly. Everything is too structured, too robotic and, after 20 or 30 bouts, too predictable to tease you into suspending your disbelief and causing you to feel as if you’re a UFC competitor.
Ultimately, then, that is possibly the best example yet of how difficult it really is to simulate certain real-world activities within a gaming. If UFC 2 really did make an effort to ‘be’ the UFC then it could fail in conditions a balanced fighting experience, so you might argue that it is simulation attempt is doomed right away. That’s not to state that actual UFC fights are random within their outcome, but there certainly does exist a frequent prospect of surprise within them. That surprise, and the excitement it creates, is what’s missing here.
While UFC 2 certainly looks the part, it generally does not feel it. Strikes are razor sharp, kicks are satisfyingly heavy, and every single fighter is beautifully sculpted and recreated, but just about every factor is too robotic and rigid to recreate the dynamism and unpredictability that draws me to real UFC fights. Those fights tend to be won by finding those spaces between your lines that your opponent hasn’t considered to cover, but those spaces simply don’t exist here. As a fighting game it’s worth your time and effort if you are seeking something apart from the most common options, but as a recreation of the UFC it falters prior to the final bell.