The Ultimate Fighting Championship (or better known as the UFC) is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Praised for its brutality and experienced mixed martial arts fighters. Back in the early nineties, the UFC was created in order to find the top fighters in the world whatever their fighting style was. There were hardly any rules and these fights would end up becoming bloody spectacles. It was created to answer questions such as, “Could a boxer beat a wrestler?” This was looked down upon by senators such as the one and only, “John McCain” who considered it human cockfighting. In a sense he was right but what he didn’t do right was instead of trying to reform it, he led a campaign trying to ban Ultimate Fighting. Well, after the league was in the state of bankruptcy, Dana White (the company’s new owner) saved the day and completely revitalized the sport. But that’s enough with the history lesson. Everybody wants to know about the game!
First off, it looks amazing. Graphics are spot on. The sweat rolls down the body of the fighters and looks amazingly realistic. The cuts and blood drip and spill to the floor with every strike and movement. And the sound is great. The game only has six songs but they are only played during the main menu and start the tone of the game. In the sub menus you hear clips of previous fights and victories which make the game feel somewhat inspiring when you hear Forrest Griffin talk about his win. The punches, kicks and slams sound really brutal and you can almost feel the impact by the look of the fighter and the game’s solid hit detection. The commentators Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg are awesome as well. Not only do they talk about the fight you hear them make there own jokes which makes you feel like you are watching a real match. But will the gameplay follow up?
When you start the game, which was developed by Yuke’s Osaka and published by THQ (the company behind the Smackdown series), you are greeted with the main menu allowing you a surplus of different modes and extras. There’s Exhibition, Career Mode, Xbox Live, Classic Fights, Create-A-Fighter, Options, Tutorial, and Game Progress. If you do happen to get this game, the first mode I recommend you choose is Tutorial (which, funny enough, the game asks you to do when you first start the game) because if you don’t, be ready to be dominated by a Superman Punch.
Well, let’s begin with Career Mode since that’s the closest thing you’ll get to a story in this manliest of manly games. The first thing you must do is create your own fighter that you’ll have to take through the ranks of your requested weight class. This is a very detailed selection you are given as you not only can choose the facial features, hair color and clothing, you can even choose what kind of six pack you want. After you give your cock fighter a name and origin and decide his physical characteristics, you can decide what Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) disciplines you’d like him to know. There are six in all which include boxing, kickboxing, muay thai, wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Judo. You are allowed to give him two consisting of a striking style and a grappling style. This means you can choose boxing and judo, kickboxing and wrestling, muay thai and BJJ, or any mix and match that may please you.
After finally finishing your creation, you are introduced to a little cutscene of Dana White explaining how tough and dangerous the league is, in other terms; you better know what you’re doing or your cock fighter will find himself with a concussion along with seven missing teeth. From there you do a qualification fight which you are bound to win. And then you are in the UFC going to show off your talent to the world. All of your contact with others will be through emails. You choose a selection of fighters that Joe Silva sends you and then you have X number of weeks to train for the big night. You can train your strength, speed or cardio, you can spar to gain attribute points that you allocate to your skills, and once in every short while you can go to a camp to be trained by a professional fighter to work on your discipline technique. Each of these will take a week and lower your stamina. To regain stamina you have to rest which also takes up a week and the one thing you want to make sure you do is have your stamina as high as possible before the fight because if you don’t you’ll go into the match sucking more wind than a fat kid chasing an ice cream truck.
You also have to work on getting your “cred” up not only by partaking in fights and displaying sponsorhips on your boxer shorts but participating in interviews and autograph sessions. And what I mean by participating is by wasting a good week of training to see a picture on a website of your fighter doing a car salesman smile. And this is what you do throughout career mode; fight through the ranks of your fighter’s weight class, train, and show off your fighter. You will be able to go for the title when you can get a match with the number one ranked fighter and if you win, you’ll have to defend it from that point on. Then you can either retire or be forced to retire after your fighter has received too many kicks to his deformed noggin.
But how is the combat, you ask? How are the controls? And I will answer. To some this will be a solid brick of gold in your hand. You will love every second of giving and receiving roundhouse kicks to the head. To others, this game will cause them to break every piece of electronics and furniture with a sledge hammer and a fork. Let me explain this in detail (and I mean the controls, not the fork). The striking game is simple enough and anyone can grasp it, you strike with the four face buttons, block with the Right Trigger and Right Bumper and aim low with the Left Trigger. You can also go for special moves with the Left Bumper and a face button depending on the fighter’s MMA discipline. This is the really simple part of the gameplay that is easy enough for anyone to pick up. But when you get into the grappling portion is when the more complicated gameplay comes to haunt your nightmares and turn your insides into flaming rage.
Everything in the grappling category deals with the motion of the Right Joystick. This sounds simple but can really confuse a lot of people. Most of the time you will be worrying about the certain knockout your fighter is going to receive rather than what way of gliding the joystick. You can counter anything by flicking the joystick up or down. This depends on whether your opponent strikes your upper body which would bring you into the clinch or lower body bringing you into the ground game. In the clinch (which is grappling while standing), you can either beat your opponent with the face buttons or move the joystick in certain rotations and directions to gain the advantage. Now for some, this can be problematic because some people will have no idea what to do unless you studied and memorized every aspect of combat. Again, you have to flick the joystick in certain directions and rotations in order to move around when working the ground game whether you are on top or the bottom.
On top, it’s easy because you have control and can work some ground and pound or a submission while changing positions. On bottom, you’re in a world of trouble if you don’t know what you are doing. I found most of the people I played with just randomly flicked and spun the joystick praying to whatever spiritual being they believed in that they would make a reversal or move to a better position. I just feel that this game could have made it a little easier than giving you so many different flicks and glides for every single position. Nonetheless, dedicated players will reach an understanding of how this all works. With more practice, this gameplay mechanic becomes second nature so don’t fret about the complex controls. When you do get a grasp on the control scheme you can attempt to get out of the ground game and win the match by performing a submission but this is probably the toughest part of the game.
Submissions are performed by clicking the Right Joystick and you have to repeatedly spin it or jam down the face buttons to pull it off. This is the same if it’s being performed on you as you can attempt a technical escape with the joystick or a brute escape with the face buttons. Now if you pull off a submission you are one hell of a lucky person. I’ve yet to pull off a submission against the computer and rarely pull them off against a friend or over Live. The best way to do it is to bring down the opponent’s stamina and then work the submission but I’ve had no luck because the fight usually ends way before that point. If you are put into a submission, escaping another player is pretty easy but against a computer, just give up. In career mode I was fighting Hermes Franca and all he would do is put me into a submission because the computer must have known it would rip me apart. I got a blister spinning the joystick to escape a submission by him. I got injured playing a video game! Now that’s ridiculous.
Another huge complaint some will have are the random knockouts. These are both hilarious and obnoxious. A fight can end in fifteen seconds because you get a lucky punch or kick on the guy sending him into a hilarious rag doll movement to the ground as his mouth guard soars across the Octagon. But this can also cause you to want to take a brick to the disc. In the first round of one match I was working the ground game and my opponent had nothing on me. I was slamming him on to the ground working different moves, grounding and pounding and what not. Finally, he breaks out and we stand face to face. Fortunately for him he gives me one solid punch sending me to the floor. When we faced off again, the same thing happened again! Enraged, I had a desire to put my controller through a wall. Never have I been more frustrated over a game but at the same time it’s been a lot of fun.
The other modes are great. Exhibition is basically what it says as you fight with a friend or a computer. You choose your corner, weight class, and fighters and have a fun time grounding and pounding each other. There are over 80 fighters to choose from which is a great roster but they don’t have Randy Couture, the daddy of UFC, or Bas Rutten, my favorite fighter ever. However, there is enough for everyone to find a favorite. You can also fight over Xbox Live and test your skills with other gamers. This is a very cool mode and has an awesome rating system where you gain levels and fans for victories. But you also lose fans if defeated. There are two problems with this mode, however. The first is that if someone is losing a match, he or she can just quit and neither person’s ranking is affected which I feel needs to be patched quickly. This has happened to me a couple of times and can become really aggravating. The other problem is when you are searching for a match it gi!ves you the choice of what skill level you’d like to participate at, the only choices being Advanced or Random. If you are a rookie be ready to receive some KO’s before you actually gain your first victory. Another disappointing aspect is that fighters can not fight outside of their weight class though. I know they are trying to be realistic but it’s a game and it is exhibition mode, not career.
The Create-A-Fighter mode is a great for just creating a fighter for the hell of it even though you only have so many stat points. Game Progress is self-explanatory but the truly unique experience is the Classic Fights mode. What you have to do is choose a certain fight that happened in the UFC’s history and try to recreate it in the game. It can be challenging but a lot a fun and you are rewarded with the video of that fight so if you’re a fan of UFC it’s definitely worth it.
The game is fun and should be a rent for any fan of fighting games. And if you are a fan the UFC and fighting games and you don’t own this game, GET IT NOW!! You will get frustrated at times but the more you play the more you’ll achieve victory instead of getting your arse kicked. But beware of becoming too good at this game if you usually play with friends because the people who spend mass amounts of time with the game learn everything will become the person no one wants to play with and I warn you… friendships will be destroyed… But other than that I recommend it!
Article from Gamersyndrome.com