EA UFC: Pettis vs. Aldo footage - a brief analysis

After months of releasing small teasers, screenshots of the fighters and a brief overview of the career mode, EA UFC have finally revealed some real gameplay of their upcoming next-gen game. Previous footage of ‘gameplay’ from EA had showed anything but that, with a lot of animated and edited trailer-esque videos being broadcast rather than footage of the game in action. Finally, that’s changed.

UFC tweeted the video, encouraging fans to ‘score’ the round from the video of an EA UFC fight between UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. The gameplay footage can be seen at the bottom of this article.

EA have only once ventured into the mixed martial arts world before, with EA MMA released in 2010 to mixed reviews. This will be their first game working with the UFC and will likely have some flaws, as many first instalments do, but the future is bright for the franchise.

The Good

There were numerous positives to take from this, mostly surrounding the visual of the game. Bruce Buffer looked awesome, Yves Lavigne looked surprisingly realistic (for a non-playable character) and – aside from the strange tale of the tape (featured image above) – both Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis looked spot on. Their mannerisms are accurate and they really got the feel of the pre-fight announcement with the movement of both fighters, raring to go to war.

The corner’s reaction during Buffer’s announcement was brilliant, they really did a great job with how the fighters react to Buffer and it clearly showed that EA were stepping it up a level with the introduction of next-gen technology.

Credit: EA

Credit: EA.

You could clearly hear calls of ‘come on baby’ amongst others, and that was simply incredible. Usually with video games, you get the generic chanting and whooping from the crowd, but this added some eery realism that is unbeknownst to the gaming industry. You could, also, hear the corners advising their fighters throughout the bout, and this is a another little feature that adds to the realistic visual and takes it to the next level.

The transitions from the ground looked realistic, and it was also abundantly clear that the EA UFC game has a lot in common with Fight Night in the stand-up department. Is that a good thing? I’m on the fence. MMA level striking is not quite the same as boxing level striking, but it looked fun to play. The taunts, the uppercuts, the jabs – they all seemed very Fight Night-esque.

The variety in the striking department was good, and they did a good job of matching this with some accurate commentary. In the footage, you see Aldo get rocked, and this was handled magnificently with the audio. On the whole, the commentary sounded fantastic and you get a sense of how Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan commentate a real fight – their excitement, their catchphrases and the fact that they are true fans of the sport. That was particularly great.

The Not-So Good

Like most near-complete games, not everything went swimmingly in this 6-minute video. In truth, this may not be the finished product, as the game is scheduled for release in over a month, but this is perhaps the best view of the game we will get until it is available.

Bruce Buffer’s announcement didn’t have anything near the same sort of intensity to a real Buffer introduction, where he makes you ever-more pumped to see the two fighters fight. Especially as this would be the main event of a big card, and Buffer would be screaming, going from one tone to another and spinning like crazy (if you don’t believe me, watch this.)

In some ways, Bruce Buffer’s announcements gets me more pumped than anything – he makes me frantically clap and laugh like a mad man due to my anticipation (just me?) This game really didn’t give you that same sense, and Buffer’s introduction was slow, edited and less than his usual passionate self.

Now, pernickety stuff aside, the gameplay just didn’t look all that. It seemed hard to put together combinations, the takedowns seemed unrealistic (Aldo slamming an opponent into side control?!) and level changing looked very telegraph. In general, it seems like it is hard to put everything together in the same way that you can in a real MMA bout.

The stand-up was perhaps the least realistic aspect of the gameplay, but that is something that has also been the case with previous UFC games. One good advantage that the EA edition’s stand-up seems to have on its predecessors is that one-punch knockouts aren’t so prominent – on previous UFC games, fights would likely end in the first round. However each blow had a sitcom-esque sound effect along with it, which could become increasingly annoying. The speed of Aldo’s strikes didn’t translate well onto video game, though for some reason he has become an All-American wrestler on EA UFC.

Potential Improvements

Overall, this was a very impressive debut by EA UFC and it’s really added to the excitement of  many fans. There were a few flaws, none too major, but if some things could potentially get ironed out – or are in the process of doing so – then this could be a great first game in the UFC’s deal with EA.

The Buffer introductions really needed some work, and they need to get the same level of intensity that you get in the real sport. This may be something that they quickly edited together, and in that case it is hardly disgraceful, but to translate the same feeling Buffer can provide, this is a minor problem that can be easily fixed.

The commentary seemed great, they got the Rogan-Goldberg partnership translated well into the video game, but they need to try and link it all together a little better. Goldberg tends to add facts throughout the fight on either fighter, while Rogan will give expert analysis, but their overall play-by-play commentary was realistic to say the least.

I liked the gameplay in some areas, but there were some flaws. It seemed that every shot was damaging and popped the head of the opponent, but this isn’t the way real MMA works. Sometimes there are jabs that are ineffective, and not every shot landed will make the opponents head move. On top of this, the way the striking and grappling merged together didn’t seem realistic – the takedown from Aldo was the sort you would expect from Chael Sonnen or Yoel Romero, but not the featherweight champion.

This is just a short analysis from watching the footage twice, and there are likely a number of things I have missed and some that I could be overly critical on. The game looks great, and I am excited to get my hands on it, even if there are a couple of issues to iron out.

EA UFC is set for release on June 17 on PS4 and Xbox One.

Agree with anything I’ve stated, disagree with anything? Are you pumped for this game? Let us know what you think in the comments section below or via Twitter: @cagepagesfs.

Tags: Anthony Pettis EA UFC Jose Aldo

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