EA’s The Vault is about to get a heavy dose of MMA action. Coming December 18, EA Access members will be able to nab themselves a free copy of EA Sports UFC, which becomes the seventh title to join the ranks of The Vault.
Even with early access to trials of new releases and 10% off EA digital purchases I’m still yet to make the move over to the program. Don’t get me wrong it’s a fantastic idea, I just own the vast majority of titles that are currently part of the membership.
I love a good EA Sports title, FIFA 14 has been great as has Madden, and I always enjoyed the Fight Night games, and so as the gigabytes wizzed their way down my telephone line into my Xbox One I wondered what would come of EA Sports UFC. When Dana White, president of the UFC announced the partnership they had formed with EA we all waited to see what would be produced.
I don’t know masses about UFC apart from the fact that if I ever attempted to do it in real life it would be a very short career. What I do know is that through my time playing the game I have learnt there is an awful lot to it, the popularity, the different fighting styles and the awesome slow motion shots of huge blokes hitting the deck. The game settles you in by taking you through a tutorial of the basic moves in the game, kicks, punches, blocks. It then moves on to showing you how to clinch your opponent, how to take them down and deal with them on the ground. When you have completed that you’ll take part in your first fight. By this point I had forgotten most of what I was shown, but got the win eventually.
The basic controls are simple enough with the face buttons used for punches and kicks but unfortunately that is where the simplicity ends. The shoulder buttons and triggers introduce modifiers to the punches and kicks, and then the analog sticks controls movements and different transitions. Then you need to defend yourself with blocks and takedowns, for the novice it will take a age to get used to, if you ever do. I’m still struggling with transitions and clinches, but with time I’m getting better and better.
From the main menu, and choose what you want to do. There is another opportunity to take part in the tutorial again, as well as taking part in training challenges; there are 90 of them split between Stand-up, Clinch and Ground Work. They are certainly worth going through if only to drill the controls into your brain. You can create your own fighter to take to the Octagon, the customisation look great and like all the EA Sports games there are plenty of options to go through.
I was impressed with the online Championship, it’s very similar to FIFA 14’s Season mode, you have 10 fights to try and get promoted to the next tier, with the chance to win a belt too. The matchmaking is quick and so far appears fair, you can choose a fighter from any of the weight classes and the game will then pair you up with a similar opponent. It appeared to work well as my opponents seems to be as cautious as me when fighting and I never felt like I was completely out fought by anyone. Once the match is over you are quickly back into the lobby set to fight again.
UFC’s main mode is Career, where you’ll create a superstar that needs to first get a professional contract by winning the Ultimate Fighter competition and then making your way up through the ranks of the UFC until you are considered good enough for a Title Shot. Before you head to each event you’ll get the opportunity to train across the 3 disciplines, the better you perform the more points you’ll earn to upgrade you fighter. There are so many options to improve on; speed of punches, joint submission defence, leg health, it will take you most of your career to fully upgrade and you certainly notice the difference as your career progresses. You can also use the experience points you earn to purchase all sorts of new punches, kicks, takedown and cage moves that give your fighter some extra flair against your opponents, you’ll also earn new abilities as your fighter levels up. In the career menu you can also find a detailed section on your career, great if you love your stats. Depending on how good you are at avoiding the big shots from your opponents will decided on how long your career is, you’ll be told when you are down to your final few fights and when your career ends you’ll find out whether you will be entered into the Hall of Fame
There are lots of great videos throughout the career to watch, there are mini interviews with fighters talking about going for Title Shots, dealing with defeat and there are also some intros to specific fighter styles such as submission fighters. You’ll also receive video messages from a whole host of fighters including the Ronda Vousey, Hall of Famers Matt Hughes and Forrest Griffin. They’ll congratulate on your wins, commiserate in defeat and offer advice for the big fights. You can skip through them easily enough and watch them in the menus at your own leisure.
As ever the presentation is excellent and the graphics are excellent, the slow motion hits look brilliant as fighters cheeks rumble before they hit the deck. The soundtrack is good although if you want to change the music you can in the menu. Those of you with money to burn can head to the store but packs of fighters or just individuals, if you are desperate to buy a pack of Bruce Lee fighters by all means go for it, but your money is better of somewhere else as far as I am concerned.
EA UFC starts well on the new generation of consoles; there is plenty of work needed to ensure it doesn’t just become a game that gets roster updates each year. The online is solid and playing against your friends in rivalries mode if something that will keep going back again and again. The game isn’t quite a black belt yet, but it’s getting there.
EA came out today in force for fans of MMA and the UFC franchises. Five new fighters have sauntered into the foray with amazingly beautiful, photo-realistic imagery. Your new warriors are as follows:
First up is the former Heavyweight Champion, Frank Mir. Frank Mir is definitely the most well-known of today’s announced fighters. This is mostly due to his astounding mat-work and a memorable feud with current WWE superstar, Brock Lesnar. The others fighters are Jose Aldo, Ricardo Lamas, Cung Le, and Joe Lauzon. Check out all of their details down below.
Current Record: 16-8-0
From: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Fights Out Of: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Height: 6’3” (190 cm)
Weight: 240 lbs (109 kg)
Strengths: Great Submissions, Improved Striking, Two-Time Heavyweight Champion
Stepping into the Octagon for the first time in only his third pro bout, Frank Mir has been a staple of the UFC’s Heavyweight division since 2001. After winning the Heavyweight title from Tim Sylvia in 2004, Mir was sidelined for 20 months by a near career-ending motorcycle accident. His return to the sport is recognized as one of the greatest comebacks in UFC history, with Mir managing to fight his way back to become the division’s interim champion in 2008. An impressive ground game has helped Mir secure devastating submission wins over, Sylvia, Brock Lesnar, Cheick Kongo and Minotauro Nogueira.
Current Record: 23-1-0
From: Manaus, Brazil
Fights Out Of: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Height: Height: 5’7” (170 cm)
Weight: 145 lbs (65 kg)
Strengths: Very Strong Ground Game, Knockout Power, Stamina
Jose Aldo became the UFC’s inaugural Featherweight champion on Nov. 20, 2010 and hasn’t let the title go since. Following his first UFC title defense against Mark Hominick, the former WEC champ hasn’t looked back, defending it five times against some of the division’s top talent, including Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar. Considered one of MMA best pound-for-pound fighters, Aldo is an adept finisher with 15 of his 23 career wins coming by way of knockout.
Nickname: The Bully
Current Record: 13-2-0
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Fights Out Of: Chicago, IL, USA
Height: 5’8” (172 cm)
Weight: 145 lbs (65 kg)
Strengths: Explosiveness, Power
Since making his professional debut in 2008, Ricardo Lamas has been hard at work cementing his status as a fighter to watch out for in the Featherweight division. After racking up a 4-2 record in the WEC, Lamas transitioned into the UFC in 2011, scoring a first-round TKO win over Matt Grice in his debut. The Bully would go on to log a Submission of the Night performance against Cub Swanson at UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos and went undefeated in his first four UFC bouts.
From: Saigon, Vietnam
Fights Out Of: San Jose, CA, USA
Height: 5’10” (177 cm)
Weight: Weight: 185 lbs (84 kg)
Strengths: Striking, Takedowns
A gifted striker possessing some of the most powerful kicks in his division, Cung Le stepped onto the pro MMA stage for the first time in 2006. After debuting with Strikeforce, building a record of 7-1 and briefly holding their Middleweight title, Le made the jump to the UFC in 2011 likening his contract with the company to getting his black belt in MMA. The Taekwondo black belt, most recently scored an impressive KO victory over Rich Franklin and is currently the Mentor and Chief Coach of The Ultimate Fighter: China.
From: Brockton, MA, USA
Fights Out Of: Bridgewater, MA, USA
Height: 5’10” (177 cm)
Weight: 155 lbs (70 kg)
A true MMA veteran, Joe Lauzon has 33 professional fights to his name despite being only 29 years old. A submission specialist, Lauzon is known for his tendency to be involved in exciting bouts, win or lose, and holds the distinction of currently being tied with Anderson Silva as the all-time UFC Fight Bonus leader with 12 awards. After suffering back to back losses for the first time in his prolific career against Jim Miller and Michael Johnson, Lauzon wasted no time getting back to his winning ways, closing out 2013 with a victory over Mac Danzig.
EA Sports brings eight-sided hell to your Xbox One this Spring.
Sixteen fighters. One cover. Who joins Jones? ‘Bones’; the youngest champion in UFC history, will be one of two fighters to appear on the EA SPORTS UFC cover, but it down to us to pick who joins him.
It’s a huge honor to be selected as one of the fighters to appear on the cover of EA SPORTS UFC. I am a big fan of EA SPORTS and appearing on a cover is one of those things you dream about as a kid. I’ll definitely be following the Cover Vote to see which fighter the fans choose to join me as the face of the game.
The voting presented by MetroPCS begins today and will run until December 1, 11:59:59 PM EST (December 2, 04:59:59 AM GMT). The vote will consist of a weekly round-by-round, 16-fighter, head-to-head elimination tournament. Fans worldwide are encouraged to vote as often as possible as well view the full lineup of potential cover stars at UFC.com/covervote to ensure their favorite fighter advances through the rounds.
Fans can double their voting power by using these fighter specific hashtags on “Twitter Vote Thursdays.” Each fighter specific hashtag used on Twitter on Thursdays will be counted as two official votes. Fans can join the conversation about the cover vote every day by using #EASPORTSUFC on Twitter and Instagram.
EA SPORTS UFC is due for release spring 2014 and is being developed by EA Canada in Vancouver and has yet to be given a PEGI rating.