EA Sports UFC 2 Review

EA Sports UFC 2 Review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

EA Sports has reproduced the world of the Ultimate Fighting Championship with Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor on the cover. Two of the sport’s greatest stars, they possess the precision, dedication, and desire necessary to win championships. Despite this, in their most recent fights, both lost to opponents most expected to beat them. Although they had the moves and talent, they failed to improvise at the crucial moment and fell apart. The same goes for EA Sports UFC 2.

Despite its brutality, the real UFC is full of sentimental glory. It is possible for an underdog to beat a champion with the first strike of a fight. A legend can win in a way that has never been seen before, further strengthening their legend. Using a combination of dodges, counterattacks, and submissions, Ronda Rousey beat Cat Zingano in 14 seconds. This is unusual. Unlike UFC 2, UFC 2 is too sterile, too rigid, and too predictable to ever feel like a true representation of a sport that has built a dedicated audience due to the fact that anything can happen at any moment.

A video game that must provide both balances for casual players and simulation for hardcore players is far from an easy way to replicate the sport’s most fundamental aspect. We ought to expect to be able to tangle with one another and for the better, more skilled player to prevail. In terms of game balance, it would be unfair to have the more skilled competitor be defeated by the first strike thrown at them (whether it be in the first round or the third).

Selecting its battles

Instead of attempting to recreate the UFC, developer EA Canada’s approach is to give an accurate impression of mixed martial arts’ core mechanics within an impressive visual package. Overall, UFC 2 was a success.

In terms of visual impact, this is one of the best sports games ever made.

This is, without a doubt, one of the most visually impactful sports games ever made, competing with NBA 2K when it comes to athlete likenesses and FIFA when it comes to animation variety. The tattoos adorning McGregor appear to be within a single pixel of accuracy, while the tightly packed upper-body muscles of Rousey flex as she throws each jab. It was nearly impossible, even after hours of playing, to not be blown away by the sheer variety of attacks.

When a professional fighter throws a punch during this brief disconnection from reality, he looks like a drunk.

In EA Sports’ 2014 UFC release, awkward moments are thrown up when a fighter’s position is suddenly and dramatically altered. It takes your fighter a second to realize that the opponent is no longer right in front of them after you’ve just dropped him off the canvas with a solid strike. During this moment of disconnection from reality, a professional fighter can look like a drunk as they harmlessly swat at the air before their face.

It’s got moves.

EA Sports UFC 2 Review

Aside from that, the animations have been masterfully crafted so that you can control each action individually. The best strikers are able to execute combos as fast and as accurately as possible on their feet. Softening up your opponent with a few leg kicks and then peppering their head and body with punches is an art unto itself, and it takes considerable practice to execute flawlessly as long as you face quality opponents.

On the ground, however, you’ll see less action if you’re a wrestling or Brazilian jujitsu specialist. It is the right stick that is used to transition between positions of varying dominance, as it was in the 2014 UFC, with the “full mount” position representing the most hallowed ground from which to fight. Once the fight hits the mat, a small icon appears indicating the position each stick movement seeks to secure. This eliminates the need for tedious memorization as in the past and allows you to focus exclusively on outwitting your opponent and provoking their body in a way that makes defense difficult.

Despite the well-thought-out mechanics, the end result of the game is simply too rigid and controlled to allow free-flowing combat. The best ground fighters move seamlessly and often unpredictably to catch their opponents off guard. In reality, Chris Weidman and Fabricio Werdum are able to integrate multiple skills into a single action that leaves both spectators and opponents confused-that doesn’t happen here. It becomes a matter of repeating the best sequence of position changes with a specific fighting style in order to beat the AI time after time.

Expectations

EA Sports UFC 2 Review

There is no shortage of game modes that reflect this predictability, such as career mode, quick fights, and online ladders. In the Career mode, you must play simple training mini-games in order to improve your fighter and win matches in order to earn a title shot. Nothing more than that.

The Ultimate Team is the most notable addition, which attempts to duplicate the success EA Sports has seen through offering digital cards in FIFA and Madden. In this game, you can create a team of up to five custom-built fighters and compete either online or off, winning fights and collecting points that can be redeemed for packs of cards.

The excitement of getting a new type of punch is less exciting when you spend points.

EA Sports UFC 2 Review

Compared to Ultimate Team as seen in FIFA and Madden, these cards unlock new attacks, fighting styles, and stat boosts of varying impact, so the implementation here falls short. Adding some randomness to career advancement is a good idea, but spending points on a new type of punch is less exciting than finding a playable Odell Beckham Jr. or Lionel Messi. The comparatively small number of fighters in this sport makes locking them out impossible. In addition, withholding a punch from you until you’ve bought it rather than allowing you to earn it through training seems cynical and artificial.

Throughout, UFC 2’s problem is that the fundamentals are right, but the spectacle and details that could have made it feel authentic are missing. It is technically brilliant and visually stunning, but never allows its fists to fly in the stand-up game. As soon as you’ve seen 20 or 30 bouts, everything seems too structured and robotic to make you suspend your disbelief and feel as if you’re a UFC competitor.

In the end, this is perhaps the best illustration yet of how difficult it is to simulate certain real-world activities in a video game. In terms of a balanced fighting experience, UFC 2 would fail if it attempted to “be” the UFC, so you could argue that its simulation attempt is doomed from the start. Although UFC fights are not necessarily random in their outcome, there is certainly a constant possibility of surprises within them. What’s missing is that excitement and surprise.

Pros Cons
Impressive visuals Uninspired game modes
Varied stand-up games The ground game is too rigid.
In the end, it is predictable.

Verdict

UFC 2 looks great, but it does not feel like it. Every fighter is beautifully sculpted and recreated, and each strike is razor-sharp, but each element is too robotic and rigid to recreate the dynamism and unpredictability I love about real UFC fights. In those fights, you usually win by finding the spaces between the lines that your opponent hasn’t thought of covering, but here, those spaces do not exist. Although it’s worth your time as a fighting game, if you’re seeking something different from the usual offerings, as a recreation of the UFC it stumbles before the final bell.