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COLUMN: Aaron's Backstage Pass: 'EA Sports UFC PS4' Review

Updated: 08/19/2014 10:55 AM
Created: 07/09/2014 9:37 AM KSTP.com
By: Aaron Chalich

When it comes to sports games, one company really stands out in my mind and that’s EA Sports. Over the years they have released some of the most amazing sports games ever. EA Sports really does a great job with making the players and arenas look as realistic as they can. It seems like every time they release a game it looks and plays better than the last. 

This past week I got the opportunity to play “EA Sports UFC” on the PS4 and I was completely blown away. In “UFC” you can choose one of the many fighters and have them compete against other players in the Octagon. The goal is to knock out the other player or make them submit by tapping out.

“EA Sports UFC” has one of the largest rosters ever. You can choose to play as a male or female fighter and I thought that was pretty awesome. Some of the fighters include: Liz Carmouche, Travis Browne, Roy Nelson, Robbie Lawler, Ronda Rousey, Frank Mir, and many more.

The characters in “EA Sports UFC” look very lifelike. For the first time, EA Sports used 3D body scans of each athlete to make them look as realistic as possible. They also used new facial animation technology to give each character more emotion and expressions. 

You can also see all of the athlete’s cuts and bruises, because of a new non-linear damage system. Now you can do major damage if you land a kick or a punch just right. It’s pretty cool, because one minute you could be on the ground trying to get out of a submission and if you get out of it, you could win the fight by knocking out your opponent with the right kick or punch.

As I mentioned earlier, the graphics are amazing and you would swear you were watching a UFC fight on television. I just can’t believe how realistic this game looks.

The controls are very easy to learn, there is a tutorial you have to go through at the beginning of the game explaining all of the controls very well.

There are also challenges you can do that will explain all of the moves and controls available when you get into the Octagon. When you do the challenges you can choose to do stand up moves, clinch moves or ground moves.  Once you complete one challenge a new one opens up, explaining how to do more advanced moves and techniques. 

I would highly suggest that you go through the tutorial and do a bunch of the challenges before you start fighting. I had never played a UFC game before so I had no idea what to do, I learned pretty quickly how to control the fighters and perform their moves. It wasn’t long before I was making other fighters tap out. One really cool thing is that all of the fighters have their own unique fighting style and moves. It is a lot of fun to play around and try to find which fighter works best for you.

Each fighter can punch, kick, dodge, and block when they are in the standing position. They can also grab onto the other fighters which is called “clinching.” Here you can do more attacks such as using your knees and elbows on the other fighter. 

Another thing you can do when you are in the standing position is take down the other fighter. You can rush in and pick up the fighter and slam them to the mat. Then you can start your ground attacks.

When you are on the ground you can punch the other fighter and try to wear them out. There is a meter at the top of the screen that shows both player’s health and stamina. Once the other player’s meter drops you can try to start doing submissions on them. Once you start a submission, a grid will pop up and you will have to move the right analog stick in a direction. If an “L” appears in one of the grids you need to flick the left analog stick.  This will make the grid smaller and will make it harder for the other player to escape the submission. You will need to keep pushing the right analog stick in a certain direction and the grid will start filling up. If you fill up the grid on a certain side you will make the other player submit and win the fight.

If you are on the ground you can strike the player on top of you and try to escape.  If you escape you will go back on your feet and be able to punch and kick.

The fights are real time so if the fight starts to drag on, the fighters start to get tired. Then they will begin to move slower and their veins start to pop out.

The AI(artificial intelligence) is very smart and really makes playing “UFC” very challenging. At first I was afraid the fights were going to be too easy, but I was wrong. Even the very first fight was challenging because the AI seemed to know how to counter all of my moves and how to get out of my submissions. I think having very smart AI in a game is very important, because it really challenges you.

There are so many different game play modes that really make “UFC” fun to play.

Home menu choices are:

Fight Now

  • Select one of the many fighters from the roster and fight against a computer opponent or friend

Career

  • Choose one of the fighters or create your own and take them all the way to the UFC Championship

Challenges

  • This is where you can try all of the challenges and learn more fighting techniques

Online

  • Shows how many players are online, allowing you to play against other players from around the world.


Another menu is Fight Net and this shows UFC Spotlight fights, your friends, and your profile.

In the customize menu you can adjust the settings, select the music you want to play during the load screens and menus, create a fighter from scratch and see all of the fighters you created.

There is also a store where you can buy other fighters, which I thought was awesome.

One of my favorite modes was career mode. Here you can use one of the characters in the game or create a new character.  You can also take a photo of your face and put it on the fighter, which I thought was awesome.  You can choose your body style, hair color, tattoos, gear, and skills. As you play more you will be able to unlock different gear and sponsors, which I thought was awesome.

As you play the career mode you will earn evolution points and you can use them to increase your abilities and skills. I thought this was a pretty cool system and worked very well.

When you first start out in career mode you are on the reality series Ultimate Fighting Championship and you have to keep winning fights and be the winner of the show. Then you can start fighting in the UFC.  I thought this was pretty cool. In between matches there are actual video interviews with really UFC fighters talking about different things related the UFC.  I thought that was pretty interesting. Even the president of the UFC, Dana White also talks to you and makes you feel like you really are on the Ultimate Fighting Championship show.

After being the winner of the show, you will start fighting your way to the top.

The online mode is really fun and you can do several different things online. You can do a quick fight, where you can fight against another player or you can do one of several tournaments, such as the starter cup, amateur cup, or the Tournament of Champions. At first the tournaments will be locked, but they will eventually unlock after you start winning fights.

I played online a lot and I did not have any problems connecting or losing connection. The online runs very smoothly which makes playing “UFC” online a great experience.

Overall, I really enjoyed EA Sports “UFC” for the PS4. The graphics were awesome and the controls were very easy to learn. There are many different game modes to play that are fun and very exciting. The online is great and it’s fun to play against other players. If you are a fan of the UFC, then I would highly recommend that you check out EA Sports “UFC.”

“UFC” is rated “T” for blood, mild language, mild suggestive themes, and violence.

Aaron Chalich is an entertainment columnist for KSTP.com


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