Published on March 27th, 2016 | by Tony0
Review: UFC 2
With the ever-growing success that UFC is becoming as every year passes by, EA must feel like complete idiots not getting in with the Streets of Rage end boss lookalike that is UFC president, Dana White, and his money-making machine sooner than they did. Much like WWE, UFC has now become that well-known around the globe that even mentioning the likes of cover stars Ronda Rousey or Conor Mcgregor to a none fan of the sport you will still have people knowing who they are. While WWE is what many like to call “sports entertainment” however (fights being pre-determined and planned out right to the finish) UFC is as real and brutal as they come, and from the moment I saw my first UFC match and KO on one of their pay per views, I’ve always found myself checking out future shows when a fighter I like has a match on the card that night.
The one thing that Both the first UFC game and UFC 2 have done is capture both the realism and flat-out brutality of the sport fantastically. Each Fighter that features in the game is as close as they come when looking through eyes that are squinted or far away from the TV, so much so that your other half will think your watching an actual PPV rather than playing a “damn videogame” as my Wife likes to call them. Throw in an excited commentary team featuring the big kid that is Joe Rogan, and there is no chance in hell of you not feeling like a total badass and getting goosebumps as your fighter makes your opponent see stars from the canvas as Joe shouts “WOW” as the final strikes land. With the game landing the visuals beautifully, all the game needed was a control system to match.
Playing the original UFC game (available now in the vault with EA Access) when we reviewed it for the website back in 2014, the one thing I was hoping for going into playing UFC 2 was a much more welcoming groundwork and clutching control system this time around, but to be truthful nothing has changed. You will still find yourself jumping into online games and meeting guys who suck just as much as you when it comes to the groundwork and clutching system and that’s all fun and games, but every now and then you meet the guy who has it mastered and that’s when you hate the game with every single bone in your body. The game once again has all the training options and skills games eager to show you how to become a master of the Octagon when it comes to grapples and so on, but only a handful of us have that sort of time to sink in and learn what comes across as a very confusing bunch of controls. Press LT and a direction to do this, press LT +LB and a direction to do that. Don’t even get me started on trying to make a guy/girl tap out,with a submission as I’m still to see that ever happen in the first UFC game, let alone in UFC 2. So I guess summing it all up in regard to controls I would say this. If you sucked at the first game much like I did, then you can fully expect to suck just as much in number 2. Unless of course your willing to learn while being beaten by the cocky twa** online who have mastered it somewhat easily the annoying gits.
Onto what modes you can expect and all the standard single player and online modes are there of which we come to expect from sports games these days. You can expect the likes of Fight now (quick 1 or 2 player offline fight), online quick fight (Same as previous but online), Rivalries (playing friends online in a season like race to win the belt), Create events (create your own UFC PPV style event in regards to matches), Ranked championships (fight online to claim points to go up divisions and so on), as well as numerous training and skills modes you can play to get a little better at the game.
The four modes I’m going to speak a lot more about in this review however are the modes I’ve spent most my time on while doing this review, that being live events, the brand new knockout mode, Career mode, and finally the games take on ultimate team.
Live events: While this is more of a side mode to try out every now and then , it will also improve your experience on Ultimate Team over time due to unlocks that come with it. Upon each PPV show that UFC has going that month, this is your chance to make some predictions on some fights that feature on the card which gives the chance to pick the winner, what round it will finish, and how the fight will end. Doing well will get you some Ultimate team cards if you reach enough points to claim them, as well as checking the leaderboards to see if you scored better with your predictions than your friends did. For a bonus you can also play out all the fights that you have predicted and try to make the predictions you have picked come true, which is much harder to pull off than it sounds, trust me I’ve tried.
Knockout mode: This is where you or both you and a friend can come along (offline only) and not have to worry about the confusing grappling system I mentioned earlier on, as this mode is all about stand up fighting. If you have a mate who is a little bit better than yourself then you can also tweak the energy settings so he/she can be knocked out a little bit quicker than you, giving you more of a chance to knock that smug look off their face. A simple mode yet a ton of fun, sadly only for offline play though.
Career: I guess this would be classed as the ultimate UFC experience, as you take either a created fighter or a fighter from the stacked roster and take them from the start of their career right up until retirement. I originally started out in this mode with a created fight that I hoped would look something like me thanks to the gameface feature that is around in most EA Sports games these days. For some reason however gameface hated me, and any attempt to download and use the gameface I know is available would be met with a flatout “your download has failed, please try again later”, which when looking back on my first UFC review seems I had the same issue too back then. So for this review I ended up takin a Conor Mcgregor through the ranks with all his moves and stats removed, and to be honest I had fun with it.
Starting in the Ultimate Fighter you must first earn your UFC contract by beating other men in a tournament, which once that is out the way you will find yourself with the contract and given the choice of a number of fights available to you while trying to reach for the belt. Before the fight you have a set amount of times you can train your fighter. which in turn improves your stats on one of the three main components of your fighter, those being stand up, clinch, and finally groundwork. Scoring high ranks on these also allow you to sim them at a later date to speed up the process of getting those stats up, and not forgetting claiming a small boost in a key area if you fill up a boost bar found at the top of the screen. You also got points to earn that allow you buy both perk and new moves for your fighter along the way, so while I can’t really say it was a career mode that went deep enough to entertain me, I did find myself coming back to it purely to try to get my hands on a belt and become the best.
Ultimate Team: It seems after the success that this mode has seen in games like FIFA and others that have had it shoehorned in of late, it’s now going to be implemented in every single EA game no matter how odd it feels. The UFC take on Ultimate Team sees you take control of a team of up to 5 created fighters, that all start off as a weak low rated bunch but with the ability to buy packs that will include new moves, new perks as well as training to add to a fighter of your choice. From the off each one of the fighters you create are gifted a free starter pack, but if you want to get anywhere with them you are of course going have to fight with him/her in one of the two modes available in this mode.
If you want to face a much harder fight for the coins that you win at the end of each fight then of course online ultimate championships is the place you want to go. If you are a noob like me however, then the option to play other created fighters from other players then the offline single player championships is where you want to begin your path to building up your future champ. One thing I will say about taking part in the offline portion of the game is variety certainly seems to lack if I were to judge the variety of fighters I’ve faced in this mode. At one point in time I faced the same created fighter from the same online persona three times in a row, which saying to you that it felt a little repetitive is a massive understatement. Online s more of the same, but like I said above just throws you more of a challenge.
Personally for me ultimate team feels a little odd in a game like UFC, but that may just be personal taste. It almost comes across as a lite version of the single career mode, as you take a created fighter on the path of becoming something. In this mode however skills games to upgrade are not around and are replaced with packs that you can buy with coins you earn as well as the option to buy with real cash for those that clearly enjoy wasting money whenever they can.
Summary: Much like WWE games that are released, those who love the sport that is UFC are of course going to gobble this up like caged animals just because it's the only UFC game available. While I've had fun with UFC 2, the unwelcoming submissions and ground work control system puts me off giving it the hard sell to ham-fisted fighters who sucked playing the first game much like myself. If you enjoyed the first game though, then you have no reason to not give this a look.