I’ve been a UFC fan for many years now, one of the reasons I actually started watching UFC in the first place was because how great the first UFC Undisputed game was which released all the way back in 2009. Since then I’ve always looked forward to the new UFC game releases. The Undisputed series unfortunately ended in 2012 due to THQ going out of business and EA buying the rights to the games. EA released their first UFC game in June 2014 which released to mediocre reviews. I wasn’t a fan either due to the lack of modes, thin roster, and losing gameplay features from the past gen series.
EA UFC 2 is everything EA’s first attempt at a UFC video game should have been. The new game is loaded with new gameplay features, the biggest roster in UFC video game history, and more modes. I will go in more detail as this review progresses. I will say right now though, EA UFC 2 is a much better MMA video game than EA UFC 1.
EA UFC 2 boats some great new gameplay features. One feature that really stood out from the rest was the addition of a new knockout physics system which makes knockouts look way more realistic than the previous game which used canned animations for knockouts. Knockouts are now more satisfying than every due to the varied style of knockouts that the new physics system brings to the game. Along with better knockouts, leg kick TKO’s have been put back in after not being possible in the first EA UFC game.
I struggled immensely on the ground as does many other players in EA UFC, so with that feedback EA managed to come up with a change to the way ground gameplay works. Once on the ground, you will have multiple choices on what position you will move to next. Once you’ve chosen a position, you must fill the meter completely to complete the ground transition. It works the same when you are defending from position advancements on the ground. I found myself having actual interesting fights that took place on the ground for the majority of the fight due to the ground gameplay being much more user friendly.
One of my main issues with the first EA UFC was the game was just so bare bones compared to what we was used to with the Undisputed series. The Undisputed series had an array of different modes to satisfy fight fans, while EA UFC had career mode and online. That was all that was offered in EA’s first UFC game, but they listened to the fans and added a few new modes to the game. The first mode is event mode, in this mode you can make a custom UFC card were you choose the fights, the arena, the refs, and play through a custom card without any interruptions.
Event mode takes an interesting twist however as there is a real time online version of the mode were you can play upcoming UFC events in EA UFC 2. You choose how you think the fight will go down on fight night by choosing the winning method and round. it’s then your job to reenact your prediction in the game, and if you are right you will earn bonus points and rewards for Ultimate Team. Event Mode was missed in EA UFC for me, I always liked playing Event Mode in the old UFC games, and provided a lot of the replay value in the games.
Another mode added to the game is Knockout Mode, which is brand new mode to UFC games and a highly requested feature by fans who don’t like the ground game. While it does sound silly that people don’t want to have any ground game, it’s understandable too because sometimes you just want to fight without the thought of a takedown or clinch. Knockout Mode isn’t a kickboxing version of EA UFC 2, it’s a best of 3 fights (or whatever number you choose) were you win by KO if you hit your opponent clean 5 times, so fights obviously don’t last long. It’s a fun mode that I’m glad was added to the game. Sometimes you just feel in the mode to have a pure striking fight, and with KO mode, you can finally have that.
One other mode I want to talk about is Career Mode, which returns from EA UFC. It’s pretty much the same mode from the last game with some minor changes. There’s no serious effort at all in Career Mode, it’s literally train your character to level up and fight over and over again. It just gets boring once you win the belt because it’s just so dull and uninspired. I found two differences compared to the previous UFC game, and that was you can move up or down in weight and being able to choose an existing UFC fighter. These are good changes, but just not enough to really entertain the player for the hours it will take to fight until retirement.
Speaking of retirement, my already unpleasant Career Mode ended on glitch. In Career Mode you have a “retirement meter” and the more damage in fights you take the more your meter increases. You can boost your longevity by gaining fans, and I did this in what was called my final fight as I had reached the retirement meter. The increase allowed my to continue my career, but a glitch in the game locked me out of the mode, and said I was retired even though I had not reached the retirement meter. Not fun at all.
I do however want to praise how great the roster is in EA UFC 2. You get to choose from 250 characters from 10 different weight divisions. If we can class EA UFC 2 as a “fighting game” then I’m certain that beats the previous record in a fighting game which was 200. In the first EA UFC game there was only 120 characters (post patches) which covered 9 divisions at the time. This means on average only 13 characters in each division, so some top 15 fighters were missing. In EA UFC 2, it has all kinds of fighters like the title holders, title contenders, legends, top 15, even below top 15, up and coming fighters.
The Final Verdict
EA UFC 2 is much better representation of UFC with the improved gameplay features, the expanded roster that covers 10 divisions, and the additional game modes. While career mode was a huge let down, and felt pretty much like a copy and paste, the other modes managed to provide the entertainment of a UFC game. If you wasn’t a fan of EA UFC, I would recommend EA’s 2nd try as all in all it’s a much better game that is worth buying.
+ Knockout system allows brutal and varied KO’s
+ More modes compared to bare bones predecessor
+ Gigantic roster
– Career mode is boring, basic, and uninspired
Final Score: 8/10