If you’re like me and a bit fed up of the recent influx of MMA and Youtube crossovers into the boxing world, then you can always go back to UFC. By far the most intense and brutal combat sport organisation in the world that entertains crowds across the globe. It’s been a little while since we have seen a UFC game from EA with the last one coming in August 2020, so it has been three long drawn out years. When it came to the reviews, it was a bit of a mixed bag but generally it fared well in the ratings
UFC 5 is now available on Xbox Series S|X and Playstation 5 and for some strange unknown reason is skipping PC. On the plus side it seems like last generation console releases are slowly being phased out to turn the focus on the current gen. Developed by EA Vancouver and published by EA Sports and utilising that trusty Frostbite engine, it is the first EA Sports game to receieve a Mature (M) rating since Fight Night Champion in 2011. This is due to the incredible realism when it comes to the games injury system along with some more expletive language in the Career Mode.
It won’t take you long to understand just why the rating is mature, in my first fight it wasn’t long before Mcgregor’s face was split right open. The brutality has opened up much more in comparison with the last instalment and this will be a welcome addition to hardcore MMA fans. EA Vancouver has labelled the new injury visuals as the “Real-Impact” system which replicates cuts, bruises and swelling on accurate parts of the body and has an accurate impact on the fight.
Allow me to delve a little deeper here. The damage your fighter takes will effect the mobility and how they react. For instance, if you take too many kicks to the leg then you will begin to limp and find it harder to unleash kicks of your own. You could take a nasty hook to the eye and take a deep cut and dependant on how this progresses, it may require doctor intervention to take a look. This may require you to adapt your style to see out the fight, or if it bleeds too badly then it could be figh over.
In around 35-40 fights I probably had the doctor call it off once, so it felt like a rarity and not something that happens all the time. What compliments all this new realism is the new cinematic KO animations when you knock someone out cold. More intensity is given to the final blow by showing it off in slow motion visuals that make you want to just smash that “Record Clip” button on the Xbox controller. It is really well done and you can tell a lot of love and labour has been poured into this feature.
There are two editions of the game and you may be wondering what the differences are between the two. Just shy of seventy english pounds will get you the standard edition of the game with no extra perks. If you opt for the Deluxe Edition for an extra thirty quid then you will get some extras, whether it is worth it I’ll leave up to you. Included in this version is 3 days early access (now finished at the time of writing, Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, Fedor Emilianenko, Bruce Lee bundle, some alter egos, vanity items and XP boosts.
Career mode felt largely similar to UFC 4 to me but if you have never played this mode before then you’ll enjoy it. Having the ability as a fighter to start from the bottom of the ladder is a feat that extends to hours and hours of fun. However, if you did play the last game then you won’t find many differences here in comparison. I did welcome the ability to simulate training before fights though, as this became a real chore previously.
Even though I have been getting my ass absolutely kicked, I have been really enjoying the Online Career mode. This promises skill-based matchmaking, the problem is that I am that bad I can’t find anyone else as bad. But this works for the most competitive of fighters out there and whilst I am struggling to win, I have been having a blast trying.
Created fighters will no longer be used in Ranked Match mode, but here instead. You can earn evolution points by progressing through fights to make your fighter stronger pinpointing the areas you want. Alongside this, you can climb through divisions and go after their respective titles. I can see the longevity in this game being endless for the biggest UFC fans out there.
Ranked mode is still there so no need to worry if you’re wanting to use your favourite UFC fighters. 20 divisions are present here which again presents a huge challenge and massive replayability if you want to fight real online players. If you just want to fight against AI or your mates on the same screen all the options are there for one off fights and even special arenas like Backyard and Kumite for a different aesthetic outside the area.
Fight week was one of my favourite bits of the game for the pick up and play aspect. With new challenges being introduced every week, you can fight and mirror the match ups that are taking place IRL. You can also place virtual bets on the outcomes of fights and getting them correct will earn you UFC coins. Spending your time in this area taking part in fights, picking fight outcomes and doing daily challenges will reward you with lots of customisation options.
Visually UFC 5 is absolutely stunning in every single way. The meaty roster of fighters are all true to life in terms of their accuracy, not just in looks but how they move as well. Everything from ring walks, the pan out of the arenas and even the Octogan itself are just illustrated wonderfully pushing the power of these current generation consoles to the max. It is clear that having a three year hiatus between games has allowed the development team to absolutely nail the presentation.
When it comes to the audio, no issues here whatsoever. The soundtrack fits the atmosphere of the game with hip hop, rap and grime tracks seeping through during the gaps in gameplay. The roar of the crowd when you deal a hard blow and make the opponent wobble is all too satisfying. Commentary is also fantastic and just adds to the overall experience. Top marks all round here.
I can honestly say that UFC 5 is the best game in the series we have seen and more than likely the best combat sports game ever created, since we haven’t seen a bo xing game in 12 years now. Sure the game doesn’t take massive strides in terms of content over UFC 4, but everything feels slightly more fluid and exceptional in terms of quality. If you want to give it a go you can access a 10 hour trial with EA Play on both Xbox and Playstation. However, Xbox gamers can access this trail using their Xbox Game Pass subscription.
- The most realistically brutal UFC game to date
- Online modes are fantastic
- Combat and the new submission system make the game feel a lot more fluid
- Career mode hasn’t changed a great deal
- Deluxe version of the game is a big leap in price for what you get in return
- Competing online will be a huge challenge to the most casual gamers