Written by: Scott Beers
March 10, 2016, 7:19 a.m.
Tweet to: @skottbeers
Not annual, but likely frequent enough to lack significance
Let’s start by complimenting EA, and/or the UFC by not making this sport an annual release title as with most oversaturated sports games. The major question here is, how much can you really change about such a complex combat system? For anyone who spent many hours with EA Sports UFC (2014), the ground game was certainly the most difficult.
Not only did the tutorials fail to instruct you in dire situations, but it was more or less a turn-based combat system on the ground. Wait until Player-1 makes a move, counter it, repeat, throw four strikes, allow stamina to recover, repeat again. Timing the counter wasn’t always easy, but those masters who could finally figure it out would end up destroying everyone outside the black-belt and red-belt division online. I only ever made it as far as the brown-belt division, and this relied strictly on playing stand up fighters with solid takedown and submission defense.
I greatly enjoy this game when purely striking, especially compared to that of Knockout Kings or Fight Night (former EA boxing games). If there was a kickboxing or boxing mode, this game would be moving in the right direction to allow players to choose what it is they want to do. Grappling only mode, why not? Yes, this is Mixed Martial Arts but it’s always fun to give fans and players options for what they want to do within that realm. That’s why games such as NBA JAM were so great. Nobody believed a 2 v. 2 basketball game was intended to be realistic, but it provided more enjoyment for the players by subtracting complexity from the equation.
UFC was with THQ when they developed their three last generation games. They progressed very well. That last of which, UFC Undisputed 3, featured PRIDE FC mode, which consisted of a 10-minute first round, kicks and knees to the head of a grounded opponent, and much more as far as customization goes. If EA Sports UFC 2 can implement a similar strategy in diversifying the options a player can choose from, it will do well. If it’s just an updated character roster with slightly improved physics – that’s a big fuck you to anyone paying $60 for something that cost EA close to nothing to make.
EA Sports UFC 2 can achieve solid ratings from journalists across the board if they improve on a few factors: somehow make the ground game as competitive as the striking, don’t allow stamina to drain so quickly, add modes such as tournament or UFC belt defense mode, allow more characters to compete up or down two weight divisions, and allow special rules matches where certain techniques can not be used.
If you want to get really crazy, create a 2 v. 2 online mode where you and your partner each choose a fighter, as do your opponents. It’s still 1 v. 1, but the damage inflicted carries over to player-B when the round is over. Force a switch at the end of each round, but ultimately keep the stamina and damage divided across both fighters on your team. This would create a larger game population and certainly keep the top players boards interesting.
Prediction: EA Sports UFC 2 comes up short. It’s better than it’s predecessor, but not worth the two-year wait.
EA Sports UFC 2 releases in the U.S. on March 15 for Xbox One and PS4