EA Sports UFC is an ok game, and while that may be acceptable for some, it's a huge missed opportunity for the company. Hopefully this is the the start of a long-running series, giving the developers a chance to build on the foundations. Having reviewed the game, I've come up with a list of 7 things to make 'Round 2' the game this entry should have been.
EA Sports UFC lacks any modes outside the basics: Fight Now, Online and Career Mode, plus some more detailed tutorial offerings. Fans expect more, and UFC 'Round 2' should include some extras like tournaments. It should also allow us to choose whether we include fighter's entrances in Fight Now.
This may be a based on a real world, highly competitive sport, but it's still a game. More modes are needed to keep players interested in the roster at their disposal.
The UFC puts on some excellent pay-per-views with incredible fights top-to-bottom. Give players the chance to do the same with a 'create your own PPV' and open up the opportunity for us to stream the card on Twitch.
With livestreaming becoming a big pull for next-gen consoles, I'd love to be able to put together an event and invite players to watch and even fight on the card.
This creativity also needs to extend to fighters. Players should have the tools to create whomever they can think of and put them in the game. The ability to share these creations also needs to be readily available.
As I said in my review, a combat sport game should offer WWE-levels of creativity and customisation, and it's inexcusable that this title not only doesn't, but lacks the basic creative suites offered in the earliest Fight Night games.
The control scheme needs to be completely reworked. Right now, it's overly complicated that requires claw-grips for some of the more extravagant moves and suffers from the problem faced by the first Fight Night games: there's an overdependence on quarter circles on the right stick coupled with shoulder button modifiers for needless complexity.
EA MMA's scheme was far better - the simplicity of control meant I never had to think about what I was doing, which meant I never hesitated and therefore was never frustrated. Revisiting this old layout would be a huge benefit to UFC.
I know the presentation was one of the main selling points for this game, but this means more than great graphics.
EA Sports UFC lacks touches that make the real sport so special: weigh-ins, taunts, coaches screaming at their fighter in the intervals while the cut man goes to work, pre- and post-fight interviews. All of these would make fights go beyond the few minutes spent in the Octagon.
Even some elements of this year's entry could be improved: Bruce Buffer's face capture looks great except when he speaks; the commentary feels canned rather than calling the fights and knockouts that occur on the mat suffer a slight delay between the punch and the fighter going down - it's more like they faint than get knocked out.
Gameplans are a nice addition, but more choices are needed to feel like I'm having an impact on my fighter's career. Having a choice of two or three opponents for each fight each with their own strengths and weaknesses, sponsor bonuses and training camps with some of the world-famous gyms would help flesh out the mode more so that it has the longevity to keep you invested through multiple fighters.
Yearly wrap-ups of the year's top fights would also be nice. I had 17 fights before realising it was the year 2019, and that I had won Knockout of the Year in 2017. A rundown of the year's highlights across all divisions would be great if put together in the broadcast style, with the award winners being shown off in style.
The game may have the women's bantamweight division, but it's absurd that I can't create a female fighter in career mode. Although the UFC itself lacks sufficient female fighters right now. Hopefully more will be added to the roster by the time 'Round 2' is released, making female creative options essential.
Having Royce Gracie and Bruce Lee is great, but when the likes of Ken Shamrock, Randy Couture, Bas Rutten, Tito Ortiz and the entire Pride catalogue are missing, you can't help but wonder why.
The next game has to go all out, much like WWE '13 did with the excellent Attitude era content. A scenario mode that allows players to recreate classic fights from unforgettable cards is a must and would again give us more reason to fight with the entire line-up, giving lesser-known fighters a chance to shine.