UFC 5 Review

UFC 5 Israel Adesanya header

UFC 5 is here, finally bringing one of the biggest fighting franchises in the world to the current generation of consoles – a jump up in division if you will. Prior to release, there’s been a lot of talk around the improvements that EA are aiming for, and now it is time to see just how UFC 5 weighs in. A future Hall of Famer or not quite a contender?

UFC 5 is slated to be as realistic as possible to the real action of the Octagon, and the career mode is the best place to start with the game to get to grips with its different systems. In career mode, you can choose to import a fighter or create one from scratch in the weight class of choice, before starting your journey up from fighting in back yards up through to the top of the competitive scene.The early fights are designed to get you used to the different controls from basic strikes, moving on to clinches, grappling, and submissions.

Between fights you’ll be at the gym. You can choose how long your training camps will take, from one week to a maximum of six weeks later in the mode. It is advisable to go for the longest amount of time possible, as after each fight your fighter’s fitness will drop to low and will need to be reconditioned.

To do this you can do sparring sessions, split between boxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, muay thai and wrestling. You can also invite other fighters to the gym to learn their moves, learn about your opponent, and hype fights too. However, these cost and you have a budget of 100 points per week. Sparring sessions cost 40 points while inviting a fighter costs 50 points plus currency earned in fights. It is a budget management task to work out how to spend those points. The career mode does fall into a repetitive cycle. Luckily, if you score well in the sparring sessions you can simulate them later on instead of repeating the same training sessions.

The other single player mode is Fight Contracts, which will be refreshed regularly. Essentially, this is a challenge mode where fights are set up with specific fighters and difficulty levels. Each one comes with up four attempts to beat it, rewarding you with XP. Fail all the attempts and you cannot try the challenge again.

UFC 5 defence

The action in the octagon can vary from fast paced brutality with fighters trading blows to more methodical bouts with fighters taking their time. This all depends on the different styles with a large roster of fighters available to pick from. Strikers will likely be the favourite picks for most as they will allow for the more entertaining, action packed fights. However, those who want to focus on grappling and submission fights will go for the wrestlers and BJJ fighters. The submission system has been overhauled to make things simpler and easier to work with. Gone are the mini games with players having to rotate analogue sticks. Instead, when in submission positions submission health bars appear under player health. This is impacted by the damage players have taken as well as fighter attributes. The lower the health of a defending fighter the more likely the submission will stick leading to a tap out.

Defence feels like it is much more important in UFC 5 than previous entries, and this is because of doctor stoppages. Cuts, swelling, and bruising are the nature of a sport like UFC, and preventing them will be key to victory. Defending is simple enough and has not had a huge overhaul, with the shoulder buttons used to block attacks to the head, body, and legs. The controls will feel familiar in general to anyone who has played previous UFC games.

As strikes land, damage occurs leading to additional issues. Get a cut nose and stamina recovery is slower, take damage around the eye and accuracy drops, and get injured legs means slower movement and less powerful strikes. Take too much of this damage and the ref will stop the fight and call the doctor in. It is a tense moment at this point as you wait to find out if the doctor will call the fight off. It is a decent enough system and adds a new tactical consideration when fighting, and it does seem that around nine times out of ten the doctor will allow the fight to continue.

UFC 5 real impact system

Online is where most players are likely to end up playing. There is a online career mode where up to four fighters can be created. Much like the offline career, fighters will start off quite weak and slow, but as you fight evolution points are earned, also like the career mode. These points can be used to upgrade a fighters health attributes, like chin strength and cut resistance, wrestling and grappling strength, and stand up stats like movement speed and power of kicks and punches. As you net wins you’ll move up to win titles. Ranked is another mode where you will use fighters from the UFC roster to move up the divisions. It is already a tough place to fight with a lot of people getting straight into the action and settling into styles. The majority of players will use the top rated fighters in every division, but if you use a lower ranked fighter and win you will earn more points comparatively.

Blitz is probably the most fun and fresh online mode in UFC 5, as each day brings rules changes for the fights. So far, there have been kicking only fights and fights that will only last one minute. There are five rounds in total to get through, but this is tournament style so if you lose a round you have to go back to the beginning. Blitz could prove to be one of the most popular modes in UFC 5, providing a lot of possibilities to mix things up in mixed martial arts.

UFC 5 grappling

UFC 5 does have a couple of issues in the ring. There is still the occasion of fighters flailing when hits don’t quite land, leading to silly falls and getting mixed up. There were also some camera and loading bugs – in one fight the camera remained static and focused on one part of the octagon instead of following the fighters. Another odd bug experienced during Blitz was reminiscent of Groundhog Day. The round would start, a couple of hits would land and then the fight would reload to the start.

UFC 5 is a very good fighting game with a lot of depth to it, and will provide plenty of entertainment for UFC fans. The career mode feels quite basic though and a bit more depth to it would have been welcome. There are also bugs that need addressing and the flailing of limbs when fighters get tangled makes things look a bit comical. Still, this is worth stepping into the Octagon.
  • Doctor stoppages add a new element to the action
  • Blitz battles are fun
  • Submissions have been made more accessible
  • Career mode is quite basic
  • Bugs need to be ironed out
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From the heady days of the Mega Drive up until the modern day gaming has been my main hobby. I'll give almost any game a go.