Last year MMA fans got to see how EA could handle making a UFC game and the results were a mixed bag to say the least. The graphics were amazing with fighters looking incredibly lifelike and in-fight injuries looking just as they would in an actual MMA fight. The online mode is easy to use and offers players the chance to prove their mettle against others anywhere around the world. Yet for every great new addition there was one thing that stuck out after playing the game for any period of time, and it seems that EA purposely made a bare bones MMA game. Fighters have the same basic grouping of moves despite having different fighting styles, fighter attire and banners were usually bare outside a UFC logo or the bigger name fighters having a few of their sponsors on their clothes, and the create a fighter option leaves a lot to be desired.
This list is meant to look at some of these issues and mention what I would hope EA would fix and add to the eventual sequel that will come out in 12-18 months. While EA has a track record of eventually just producing the same game over and over in a series with slight changes and improved graphics (the Madden series) or just releasing the same game the following year with a new number on the cover (FIFA on the Wii), EA has apparently made a base game that they can build upon in the coming years for the player’s benefit. With already multiple update packs featuring new fighters and game changes, EA is going the right direction, but these are just a few of the things that I would like them to touch upon in the sequels in order to make the best possible MMA game possible.
10 The Career Meter
While the new career mode was very fun and in-depth, there were some kinks that could be worked out. With the new career damage meter, players can see for themselves how their fight style is affecting their career. Stand and bang fighters may win a lot of fans with a friendly style, but the damage sustained can shorten a career, while on the other hand a grinding fighter can play it safe and earn the decision and not sustain much damage, but also not gain as many fans or big fight opportunities.
9 Training Exercises
One thing that EA Sports MMA had done well was in the Career Mode once a player completed a certain training exercise at a score they liked; they could repeat that exercise automatically for the same score without having to go through the process again. For some reason this feature was not put into EA Sports UFC. Many of the training exercises get tedious and boring, though they are not as bad as the tire flip exercise in UFC Undisputed 3. Adding the automatic exercising would make the career mode more fluid and save players a lot of time in building their fighter up.
8 More Diverse Career Mode
7 Better Create-a-Fighter
6 Bring Back Legends/Pride Mode
5 More Realism
This is not to say that EA did not make an incredibly realistic MMA game, because they did for the most part. The damage that fighters receive is so lifelike as faces and bodies bruise from damage, blood squirts from cuts and smears on clothes and skin, fighters even take a second to wipe blood from their eyes which leaves them open to attack from opponents, and the image capturing that EA did has created stunning visuals which makes the fighters look the best that they ever have. Unfortunately, EA did not give a complete representation of fighters as many do not have sponsors on their clothes or banners and the skill level of created fighters is all the same within a weight class, no matter what fight style they have.
4 Promoter Mode
Madden had GM mode, so why shouldn’t there be a similar mode in the next UFC game? The ability to set up various cards and title fights using the rankings for fighters in an attempt to get a huge buyrate or TV rating would definitely work in an MMA game. If players want to play with realism there could be injuries which remove a fighter from a big fight, causing the player to hurry and find a worthy replacement that would keep fans happy. The mode could start off where the player can only book events in smaller arenas, but as they become more successful they can get larger, more prominent arenas like Madison Square Garden. Other options could include balancing fighter salaries and handling disciplinary issues if a fighter has a publicity issue.
3 Coach TUF in Career Mode
2 More Moves
A big issue with EA Sports UFC was the lack of moves that a player could assign their fighter. This game featured about 40-50 special strikes, in comparison to Undisputed 3 which had close to three times that amount. It also does not help that each fighting style is meaningless outside of the fighter’s stance, as the attribute values are the same amounts within a given weight class.
1 Ground Game
By far the weakest aspect of EA Sports UFC was the ground game, which was incredibly unbalanced. At times it is incredibly easy getting off the ground and back to a standing position, by simply pressing the the left analog stick on your controller which works well even when a fighter is heavily rocked and about to get knocked out, while other times it is nearly impossible to move or defend yourself from attack. The tutorials make it seem simple enough to transition on the ground or escape from the bottom position, but once it occurs in an actual match, a fighter’s attribute level almost seems moot in certain positions like the postured guard and postured mount.
At these points the player is basically left trying to hit every button on their controller in the hopes that something works or that the round ends before they get TKO’d. The submission mechanics also need a little work as it is heavily favored towards the fighter defending the submission, unless the other player has customized a gameplan that allows for easier submissions. The system of moving the right analog stick to either tighten or loosen the hold would work better if that was how pressure was applied to the hold, rather than having to flick the left analog stick in a split second in order to secure the hold. The previous system of rotating the stick to try and cover up your opponent’s submission marker while a status bar showed how close he was to tapping out.
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