3 years ago, UFC 4 was released, which is an improvement over UFC 3, especially in terms of graphics and smoother gameplay. UFC 4 has also been well supported post-release with the addition of new fighters, making the game playable for a long time. Now EA has finally followed up UFC 4 with UFC 5. UFC 5 is a current-gen game only, which means EA has switched to the Frostbite engine. This should provide better animations, smoother gameplay, and above all, a graphical improvement. Additionally, UFC 5 offers an online career mode, which should set the game apart from previous titles. We entered the octagon for you and checked whether this was a knockout victory, or whether the split decision game didn’t live up to its promises.
The first thing you notice when you walk into the Octagon for the first time is how good the game is. You can see from the lighting, fighters, and arenas that switching to PS5 and Xbox Series only was a good move, along with switching to the FrotsBite engine. Fighters like Conor McGregor, Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic look great and this time the female fighters also look great in the form of Amanda Nunes or Jedrzejczyk. In fights, the body also reacts beautifully and realistically, as presenting a shot of the body looks realistic, with the other person’s muscles contracting. Additionally, EA has seen an evolution when it comes to injuries. In some UFC fights it’s just a bloodbath. In UFC 5, you can recreate more fights like this than ever before. In some fights, my face was completely open, but so was the opponent’s face. This is a huge improvement over UFC 4, especially with the higher age rating. If you fully punch and kick your opponent, a doctor may also intervene to see if the fight can continue. In the large number of fights I’ve been involved in, it’s only once happened that the fight stopped, while in that fight I had the idea that my opponent could continue just fine. It’s a nice addition, but not very common. Furthermore, the introductions of the fighters were shortened. Where Bruce Buffer previously told us where someone came from and what that person’s win-loss record was, now only names are shown. It has caused me some irritation in my career I simply wanted to hear that I was undefeated 12 times.
Graphically, the game is amazing with all the new additions. The problem with UFC 5 is that the game behind the graphically beautiful champion is actually largely the same as UFC 4. Stand-up fighting is a little more fluid compared to UFC 4, but the attacks are largely the same. Landing strikes, combining strikes, or landing a leg kick all feel similar in formula compared to UFC 4. I was hoping for a little more refinement, even more fluid movements, and perhaps a slightly more thoughtful stance. . On the ground, the game is also the same in many areas, but the presentations have changed. In UFC 4 this was a mini-game, while in UFC 5 it became realistic. Putting someone in a rear naked choke is simply part of your grounding arsenal. If someone has a little stamina and a lot of damage, you may be able to make your opponent tap and thus win the match. The same applies to exiting the submission, you have to get to a different situation and then exit the submission. So, the game on the ground feels more realistic and fluid, but changing modes is quite similar to UFC 4, which wasn’t always great for everyone.
So not much has changed in the octagon, but the fight is still entertaining. The biggest criticism of this game is the content in this game. Career mode is 90% copy and paste from UFC 4. The story is a little different than it was in the previous title, but you have to train again between your fights (thankfully you can simulate some of that this time), you have to do a few things: do activities (which… Don’t see it) Before you fight, you can learn attacks from other fighters and then fight. The cutscenes between certain parts of your career are fun, but they don’t provide the satisfaction that UFC 5’s career mode was hoping to give me. Additionally, your tattoos and hairstyles in Create A Fighter are exactly the same as those in UFC 4. While the hair of real fighters looks great, your Create A Fighter hair looks like it did 10 years ago.
The online career mode is similar to the offline career mode, but in this mode you will fight real opponents. During testing, the servers thankfully improved, as this is a mode I hope to fight and play in in the coming months and years. Fighting opponents, taking a loss and hoping to come back and one day be able to win a title, it’s a rollercoaster, but it works (if the servers are running and there’s no lag, which there was).
The new game modes also include Fight Week, where you are given a number of battles. For example, real UFC events are shown to you before the event starts. Winning these battles can give you in-game currency, but also the egos of the fighters (skins). It’s a great addition that could keep the game fresh in the future.
UFC 5 is a good fighting game. There is no debate about that. It’s also the best fighting game on the market, there’s no debate about that. However, UFC 5 sometimes feels like a copy/paste game in terms of gameplay and content. The game has a full price, and they also have a deluxe edition that costs around 100 euros. In my opinion, these amounts are not worth it for a game that has online career mode and Fight Week added. Of course the battles are great, the carnage you can create is thrilling in the battles and the animation of the larger area is much better. However, UFC 5 feels like a game that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, because after three years, I was expecting more.
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