Developer: EA Vancouver
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One (Reviewed)
Gene(s): Fighting, sports
Publisher: EA Sports
UFC 4 is the latest iteration of the UFC game series from EA. This game follows firmly in the footsteps of the predecessors, this latest version is about improvements and updates as opposed to an overhaul of the series. One interesting aspect of UFC is that you are thrown into the career mode straight away which may be a bit too much into the deep end for some.
Before you can settle in and get used to the game, you are fighting your first foe, the career mode is underpinned by you being and upcoming fighter spotted by coach Davis. The first few fights of the game can be considered a tutorial, you get used to the core concepts of the game standing game (boxing and Muay Thai), ground game (BJJ), and wrestling. In the lead up to every fight, you have a period of weeks (in-game time) to train, promote, and invite other fighters to your gym to learn new moves. As you train, you can level up whichever aspect of fighting you want to excel at, using moves while playing will increase their effectiveness too. The career mode follows the same steps to pick a fight, post to social media, train, and improve your fighter. You can customise the entire look of the character and build it in your mould. In career mode, it is fairly formulaic however you get to build the style of your fighter.
I always found the stand-up game superb in UFC, boxing and kickboxing have always been my go-to and it was the same this time too. The mechanisms in boxing, the movement, and gameplay whilst standing are slick. The actual feel of fighting is exciting and enjoyable, it does that factor that makes it feel immersive. This is complemented by the sound and the graphics. I enjoyed the clinch scenarios and Muay Thai too. I have an issue with the ground game, wrestling, BJJ, and transitioning. The controls are clunky and it’s difficult to get feedback as to how to control your opponent and block their movements too. I think this part of the game needs more tweaking and was my least favourite. The mini-games for submission are novel and also give the player an advantage for being methodical will submitting.
UFC 4 probably suffers from a lack of competition in this space of fighting games. UFC4 is minor tweaks and improvements from UFC 3, it’s not groundbreaking. Despite this and the clunky mechanisms for the ground game, UFC 4 is lots of fun, integrates a huge roster of players, several styles of fighting in a well-made game that has all the usual EA polish. If you need a UFC or a fighting fix, this is lots of fun and worth getting.