EA UFC was a great game, but it lacked substance. The meat was fine, but it had no potatoes. The other problem with the game was that while the presentation was great, it suffered from a ridiculous ground game system and lack of other game modes. EA UFC 2 fixes most of these problems with an even better presentation, much better clinch and ground game and new game modes, but it still lacks that knockout punch to make it perfect.
The one thing that both games has done a great job of is the presentation. EA UFC 2 takes it up a notch by adding introductions for the hundred fighters in the game and all of the fighters look fantastic. Every superman punch, every roundhouse kick and every knockout is animated wonderfully and everything looks more fluid this time around and not a robotic as it was in the first game.
The sound is also great as well with some of the best videogame commentary I have ever heard in a sports game from Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. Hearing Goldberg yell "IT IS ALL OVER, JUST. LIKE. THAT" after a knockout never gets old. You even have the option to touch gloves at the beginning of a fight, which is great. Even the created fighters look as good as the real life fighters. For those who are fans of female MMA, the game features a very healthy selection of female fighters from both the Women's Bantamweight and Women's Strawweight fighters.
In the first game, clinching and the ground game was severely hampered by the confusing transition system of quarter circles, half circles, dragon motions, zig zags and scallywags. EA UFC 2 simplifies this by only needing to press and hold the right thumbstick in a single direction. The positions are also listed on the screen as well so now you will know exactly where you will end up instead of performing crazy motions and hoping you will end up in Full Guard or North South position. To defend on the ground, you have to hold the right trigger and then move the right thumbstick in any direction. At least, that's what I think you have to do because unfortunately the in game tutorial doesn't offer that much help.
One of my biggest problems with the first game was the severe lack of any substance in terms of other game modes. You had quick fight, online fights and the career mode. That was it pretty much. EA UFC 2 does add a couple of new game modes but it is still lacking in some areas. The first new addition is the Knockout game mode. This mode plays out like a fighting game in which all clinching, take downs and ground game have been removed. The normal health bar is replaced with a different one that has hit points on it. Long story short, knock out your opponent. This game mode is fast and fun and is perfect for parties or some quick vs. action with some friends on a couch. The second new mode, and the one that I was most excited about was the event creator. Here you can put together the fight card of your dreams as you can add as many as 11 different matches on your card. You can set the venue, title fights, referees and of course the fights themselves and you can even turn off weight classes if you wish.
Career mode however is disappointing. In UFC 2 you can start career mode as either a male or female fighter or you can import one of the real life fighters already in the game and start a career with them but with reduced stats. It's the same as last year. You start off fighting your way through the Ultimate Fighter, make your way to the UFC, pick more fights, then go through three rounds of training mini games and then you have your fight. The great thing this time around however is that you are graded every time you train. There are three difficulty levels of training. Easy, medium and hard. You can simulate training between fights and will automatically receive the stats boosts based on what your highest grade was for that difficulty level. This means that you aren't forced to do the tedious training mini games between fights anymore. The one thing that has also remained from the first game is your wear and tear. Between the risk of injury during training and taking a beating during fights, your fighter has a meter that will fill up and after a while, your fighter will be forced to retire. It's not terrible but it's about as basic as you can get with a career mode, with the only real events happening in forms of random events that either help or hurt your training sessions. Your wrestling coach is sick? You won't be able to work on your ground game. Stayed up too late binge watching your favorite TV show? Your chance of injury goes up. The only other "events" are when you get a short video for a special fight or a title fight. Gone are the videos of Dana White and other fighters either praising you or telling you to keep your chin up if you are on a losing streak.
The most disappointing thing that was removed is of course the sponsors. This however I completely understand as it reflects the current UFC product but it was really cool being able to put sponsors on your gear and to create a banner that your camp hangs on the octagon before a fight. I ended my career mode 21-7 record and was told that my contract would not be renewed so I was forced into retirement. The career mode also has a new ranking system. When I started I was around rank 40. When I finished, I made to rank 8. It took me around 5-6 hours to finish the career mode via forced retirement.
Just like with other EA games, EA UFC gets it's own Ultimate Team mode and the new Ultimate Team mode is really fun. If you have played Madden or Fifa, you have an idea of what this mode contains. Unlike those games however where you are buying card packs to put together a team of players, UFC's Ultimate Team mode has you put together a team of five created fighters, male or female and the card packs contain various moves and boosts to those fighters. This mode seems more like a career mode than the official one does as you can participate in online fights against other players or offline fights against other players created fighters that have downloaded to the game. Each win or loss earns you cash which can be spent on more fight packs and also helps you climb up the rankings. Out of all the new game modes this year, this one is my favorite as managing a team of fighters as opposed to a single fighter is incredibly fun.
EA UFC 2 is certainly an improvement over the first game and while it does add more game modes and more to do, it's just disappointing that the main game mode, the career mode has almost gone untouched and the new additions don't really add much to the experience. That being said, they have gotten the most important part of the game, the fighting game, right. Fighting is extremely satisfying and the clinch and ground game is a massive improvement over the first game. If you enjoyed the first game, there is no reason that you wouldn't enjoy EA UFC 2, but the game is still an arms reach away from perfection. Hopefully the third time, if there is one, will be the charm.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember. My earliest gaming memories come from playing Lady Bug and Snafu on my fathers Colecovision and Intellivision respectively. It wasnt until I was 6 years old and played a Mortal Kombat 2 arcade machine in a game room at a hotel that I truly fell in love with a videogame. I have so many wonderful memories of my dad and I playing Mortal Kombat on SNES every night after dinner. Throughout my childhood NES, SNES, Gameboy and Sega Genesis were the loves of my life. Here I am 29 years old and still as much in love with videogames as I ever was. And for the record... I enjoyed the Mass Effect 3 ending... sue me