EA initially refused to take on the UFC franchise in some truly stupid comments between the company and UFC President Dana White. It was at this time that Dana White declared himself “at war” with Electronic Arts. According to White, “EA Sports told us, ‘You’re not a real sport. We wouldn’t touch this thing. We want nothing to do with this.’. We put our asses on the line, THQ and the UFC, to make a video-game deal in the worst economy in the world. We go out there and do this thing, and it’s successful, and now God-damn EA Sports wants to do a video game. You told us you’d never be in business with us. They wouldn’t even take a meeting because mixed martial arts disgusted them. This wasn’t a “real” sport. Boy, they got over that real quick, didn’t they?”.
White even went as far to warn fighters who intended to be included in EA Sports MMA, “If you do business with EA, you won’t be in the UFC”. Electronic Arts purchased the Ultimate Fighting Championship rights from THQ after they closed down. The game was originally shown at the Xbox One reveal event. EA Canada who originally created the Fight Night games were given the task of taking the franchise further after the success of THQ’s UFC Undisputed 3.
The one thing that i’ve always loved about EA’s sport games is their stunning presentation. UFC 2014 doesn’t skimp on showing off graphical prowess. Upon entering the main menu you’re presented with a wonderful level of detail – everything down to the presentation of smaller parts of the game like the menu and soundtrack ooze polish. To top it off, fans of the UFC will recognise that Joe Rogen and Mike Goldberg are present to deliver in-depth commentary.
UFC 2014 delivers on the amazing models of the fighters. From the moment they never the arena, you know that you’re in for a visual treat. The one thing that slightly lets the presentation down is that some of the animations seemed awkward. I’m extremely glad that EA decided to make UFC current-gen only. It’s a game that would’ve struggled on the PS3 and 360.
UFC throws you straight into a match as soon as you boot up. You instantly becomes Jon “Bones” Jones who has to take on Alexander Gutsafsson. The developers have been incredibly smart in using this as an opportunity to walk you through a tutorial and teach you the basic mechanics. Fans of the Fight Night series will be completely lost as UFC takes a completely different approach to how you’ll be controlling your fighter. It definitely took a while to adjust to using the face buttons instead of the analogue sticks but it quickly became a much more responsive experience that is a much appreciated change. The tutorial continues to try throw some more advanced techniques at you before letting you at your first real fight.
Challenge mode is essentially an extended tutorial. You will face nine different lessons, each with ten levels or 90 different drills. Challenges will walk you through the most basic moves to more advanced strategies. Whilst i’d never touch these types of modes in most games, it’s extremely essential in UFC. Sure, you can probably win fights without doing it, but to get the most enjoyment out of the game, i’d highly recommend it.
Like the predecessors of UFC from THQ, EA’s UFC has a rather steep learning curve. If you’re not willing to put the time in to master the techniques, then the game will become frustrating fairly quickly. I can see people who want a next-gen fighting experience buying this game and putting it down fairly quickly. For those willing to take the time to master the controls, it’s an extremely satisfying experience.
Career mode allows you to create a fighter with the intention of becoming The Ultimate Fighter. You’ll start your way at the bottom with the ambition of quickly getting signed to the UFC. From there you will move up the latter towards the title belt. You’re able to pick a class based on what type of strategy you’ll want to use. From there you’ll need to choose your fight-style. There are ten to choose from and include styles such as freestyler wrestler, boxer and mixed martial arts. They offer enough variety to keep career interesting but aren’t so unbalanced that you feel like you’re fighting a separate fight to your opponent. Before each fight, you’ll have the option to head into one of three training sesssions. These are a random mash-up of challenge drills and sparring tilts. Good results will give you more evolution points. You can use these to upgrade attributes or unlocked new moves.
The online mode is acceptable for the first entry into the series, but probably not as in-depth as other EA Sports titles. Championships mimics the general premise of Seasons from the FIFA franchise. You’re able to battle your online friends and see how your win-loss ratio stacks up in Rivalries and Quick Match will find you a random fighter from across the world.