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10 Reasons “EA Sports UFC” Is the Most True-to-Life Video Game of All Time

(“Alex goes for a leg, gets a hold of a ghost that’s been haunting the arena, and huge takedown.” Props: Tommy Toe Hold)

By CP Reader Mike Kofman

While I may be a bit late to the party, I recently started playing the much maligned EA Sports UFC game. All I can say is, wow! What an accurate representation of what it’s like to be a UFC fan in 2015. Here are some of the highlights:

1) The Ultimate Fighter. You begin the Career Mode by creating a generic fighter who is cast as a member of The Ultimate Fighter. There, you proceed to fight a number of other generic, randomly generated, no-name fighters. It’s nothing short of brilliant how they managed to capture the very essence of being a viewer of that show in recent years. Kudos!

2) Oversaturation. Once you win The Ultimate Fighter and begin your career in the UFC, you will start to notice that most of your opponents are randomly generated and essentially indistinguishable from each other. In fact, 70% of the undercards are filled with computer generated fighters. I really have to commend the game designers on their commitment to highlighting the saturation plaguing the industry.

3) Bad Judging. You are often subjected to baffling, illogical decisions by the judges, where you are clearly beating your opponent into “a living death” only to see him get his hand raised at the end of the fight (usually via split decision). The look of complete incomprehension on the dead-eyed face of your character only adds to the realism. Once again, great move by the designers to simulate the state of MMA judging.

4) Dana’s Shouting. I really appreciate that after every major milestone in your UFC career, Dana White will appear on screen to shout at you via Full Motion Video (FMV, more on that later). It doesn’t matter if you just won your preliminary fight on The Ultimate Fighter or are about to be promoted to a Main Event, Dana is sure to appear to yell that he is really proud/mad at you. The fact that he is unable to steer clear of profanity just completes the effect. To anyone who ever watched a UFC post fight press conference, this will be intimately familiar. Bravo!

5) State of Creativity in the UFC. Speaking of FMVs, it’s not only Dana who appears to offer you words of encouragement. The game is full of nearly high definition, repetitive videos that barrage you after every single fight. And what better way to highlight the current state of UFC’s promotional innovation than with technology that was considered cutting edge in 1992? The fact that such currently relevant fighters as Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, and Mike Dolce appear to offer you words (in Chuck’s case, mumbles) of wisdom is just icing on the cake.

6) Music Selection. I remember playing EA’s last foray into the world of MMA (EA Sports MMA) and feeling a sense of outrage wash over me upon hearing Gogol Bordello’s “Immigraniada” or Turisas’ “A Portage to the Unknown” begin to play as my opponent made his way to the cage. Are you kidding me? What a great way to break my immersion in the game, as that is in no way representative of the type of music you hear at an MMA event.  Thankfully, EA Sports UFC corrects this glaring issue.

Now, you are treated to Stemm’s “Bum Rushed”, the venerable “Face The Pain”, and Jarrid Mendelson’s “The Ultimate Remix.” For the adventurous, there are three different versions of Linkin Park’s “Guilty All The Same!” There may be a way to import your own music, but why would you want to? Well done!

7) Terrible Corners. Nothing fools me into thinking that I am watching a real UFC PPV event more than bad corner advice. Luckily, the game has done its homework and does not disappoint. All of the hits are there: From assurances that my character won the round he clearly lost, to emphatic encouragement to utilize my kickboxer’s nearly non-existent ground game against a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu master. I am especially fond of helpful shouts of, “It’s ok, you are fine!” as my character stumbles around the Octagon in a near unconscious daze.

8. Inane Commentary. I am amazed at how accurately this game portrays the fight commentary prowess of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. Goldberg’s exclamations of “Body shot!” during a head kick, and Rogan’s in-depth analysis on how a fighter utilizing his strengths while avoiding his opponent’s will probably win the fight makes me really feel as if I’m watching an actual UFC event. The added shrieks of, “Oh!” and “Wow!” whenever anyone on screen does anything of note just adds to the immersion effect.

9. Late Stoppages. As you progress through your career in the game, you can’t help but notice that the referees sure take their sweet time stopping the fights. Often, I found myself pummeling my clearly knocked out (possibly dead) opponent while the ref is nonchalantly standing by. I would not be surprised if Steve Mazzagatti or Jerin Valel was brought on as an expert consultant. The attention to detail in this game is truly amazing. Speaking of which…

10. Bad Sportsmanship. The fact that I still have no idea how to properly perform a friendly glove tap at the beginning of a round speaks volumes for this game’s adherence to the old sports adage, “If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.” The attention to detail here is stunning, as I was frequently allowed to hit my opponent after the bell, kick him in the head while he’s clearly down, and hold onto submissions for way too long (bonus points for simulating my opponent’s agonizing convulsions as he cradles his clearly destroyed appendage). The level of research that the game designers invested in this product is truly impressive, as my character was never penalized by the tranquil looking referee. If I must level one criticism, it’s that there is no apparent way to grab the cage in order to prevent being taken down, something that I’m hoping the sequel will address.

These are my initial thoughts on this amazing simulation of the current state of MMA. If only there was an option to use PEDs, the immersion would be complete.

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