UFC 4 has introduced a few interesting aspects and made a lot of subtle changes to try and make the game feel new. But has everything worked the way they want? Do the subtle changes help with gameplay or just give you something new to get used to?
To begin with, I have to commend EA for trying new things with UFC 4. Not all additions may have worked as well as they wanted, but making changes and trying something different is not as common as we would like. So you’re probably thinking “why commend EA for doing what they should?” Well after the catastrophe of NBA 2k20, you never know.
From the very beginning EA decided to integrate the career mode into the main hub. It gets you to create your fighter straight off the bat and puts you through tutorial fights that are technically a part of the story. The reason for this is because the character you create becomes your avatar for the game, and can be the fighter you choose while playing in any online or offline gamemode. There is also a massive amount of unlockables you can get for your avatar, I mean of course there is, it is EA after all. However it really has no meaning on the ability of your character, just more of the cosmetic side of things, like taunts. Yes…. Taunts.
One intriguing addition is that they have added more taunts for you to do. Before, there were little taunts you could do in the ring, however it seems they have taken a page from the WWE book and added taunts for when the Ref points at you and for after you win the fight. Even though I get what they are trying to do, it is a little weird to watch two fighters take turns in taunting each other, it feels too….. theatrical.
The new main hub, honestly, has a refreshing new look and is easy to navigate. At first sight there really isn’t a lot to the game, however as you begin to investigate all the areas you start to notice the differences.Firstly, they have several new game modes instead of just the regular fight. You can create your very own UFC event and create the most star studded main card ever or you can create your very own tournament and grab the very best of the best and have them fight it out and have one fighter victorious at the end. The other new game modes are called Stand and Bang and Knockout.
Stand and Bang is probably my favourite addition to UFC 4, not because it plays into how I like to fight, but because it acknowledges where some fighters have come from. I’m talking about fighters like Kimbo Slice and Jorge Masvidal who used to fight in backyard fights before going to the UFC. The second added gamemode, knockout, is a hilarious and fantastic addition. It is literally UFC’s version of Mortal Kombat. From the cave with cobra statues that you fight in, to the Mortal Kombat like health bars above your fighters, to the best out of three rounds. It’s incredibly comical.
Onto the career mode. To begin with, the animations at the very beginning aren’t that great and there really isn’t much change to the structure of the career mode. You sign UFC contracts, accept fights and move your way up the ladder on your way to become the greatest of all time. However some aspects are a little different. Now you have the ability to improve your relationship with other fighters or create rivalries. Careful though, because if you want to learn a new move off a rival it will cost you a lot more money than learning a new move off a friend.
You can also spend part of your time “Watching Film’ which allows you to learn things about your next opponent like what type of fighter they are and their best moves. And Lastly, to improve your character you have to either spend points you earn through sparring or continuously use a move to improve its effectiveness. I love sparring because not only does it give you points you can later spend, but it helps to increase the star levels of your moves.
Now finally onto the actual gameplay. There are a couple of interesting new aspects to the gameplay. The biggest changes are the new submission mini games and grapple systems. However there is a more subtle change that may cause a bit of annoyance for people. They have changed the clinch system so that in order to clinch, you have to press the same buttons to do a Lead Overhand. This is a little ridiculous because I have already run into the problem of letting loose a bunch of lead overhands instead of clinching. Like I said, it’s going to take some getting used to, just like the bigger changes.
With the new grapple system you now decide what you want to do, Submit, Get Up or Ground and Pound. You then perform sweeps that put you in a position to do that. It is possible to leave it like this, however it takes away a lot of the control you have on the ground, and directs you to the easiest submission, so no real opportunity for a D’arc Choke or a guillotine from North and South position. You do have the option to change the grapple system to Legacy though, which makes it more like in the previous games. This is the best option.
The second big change is to the submission mini games. You now have two mini games, one for chokes and one for all other submissions. The mini game for chokes is simple and easy to do, you just have a circle and you have to follow the opponent’s bar and keep it on top of theirs. For the other submissions however, it is similar to chokes, but in a pendulum form and you have to press the triggers to move left and right. This makes it frustratingly difficult to constantly keep your bar over theirs.
Honestly, there are some great additions to UFC 4 , whilst some other additions that are going to take getting used to. You will have a lot of fun investigating new game styles and fighting your friends, however, if you don’t get used to the new additions in the gameplay, this game could become increasingly frustrating. Overall though, EA have done a great job in trying new things and I highly recommend giving it a go, even if it’s just to try out their Mortal Kombat knock off.
Review by Dillon Van Der Putten