Today, fight fans in the United States and Canada will be able to get their hands on the newest addition to the UFC game library: EA Sports UFC. After getting to spend some time over the weekend on the final build of the game, it’s easy to say that Electronic Arts has created a solid game. However, it’s not completely without flaws.

The first thing that you’ll notice about the game is the attention to fighter detail. The fighters look as close to their real-life counterparts as you can get without developing a game in 4K resolution. Also, the fighters’ mannerisms have been recreated with an incredible amount of detail. For instance, when Jon Jones enters the Octagon, he does the one-arm cartwheel. When Bruce Buffer introduces Anderson Silva, he does his four-corner bow. Anthony Pettis’s pre-fight pace also could not have been done any better.

For the most part, the gameplay is as smooth as butter. Punches, kicks, takedown attempts, submissions, etc., actually look fluid and not robotic. The controls can get a little frustrating at times, like trying to press LB+B (on Xbox One) to do a signature kick for example, but otherwise feel very natural if you have ever played a MMA game before. My biggest qualm with the gameplay are the framerate hiccups. It can really throw you off if a hiccup occurs when you’re trying to pull off a multiple-strike combo. But that’s an issue that a patch could easily fix down the road.

The in-fight experience is incredible. With EA’s MMAI, the CPU fighters will react with the flow of the fight. If they have you hurt, they will handle the situation just like their real-life counterpart. If they’re down on the scorecards going into the final round, they will push harder for the finish. If their plan A isn’t working, they’ll move on to plan B, then on to plan C, and on to plan D (if there is a plan D). These revolutions in gameplay really keep the player on their toes. Also, the physics have been taken to a level never achieved before.

In previous combat-sport games, if two fighters threw strikes at the same time, both strikes would just land and you moved along. In EA Sports UFC, let’s say you throw a high kick while your counterpart is throwing a low kick. There is a very good chance your opponent will sweep you and you’ll end up on your backside. If you throw a front kick while your opponent is throwing punches, your leg could get hung up on one of their arms. If you take a huge shot to the head, you’ll be doing the “stanky leg” until you recover. If you take a kick to the liver, you’ll be hunched over and unable to defend yourself  for a period of time. Taking too many leg kicks will cause your fighter to limp around. It’s those little details that make for a very realistic fighting experience, minus the whole really getting punched in the face thing.

Also, every fight makes for a real UFC experience. Are you just starting your career and fighting on the undercard of a pay-per-view event? You’ll notice that the crowd is sparse and not very loud. On the other hand, if you’re headlining the card, the venue is packed and the crowd is very, very loud. And if you look real close, you can see Mike Goldberg, Joe Rogan, Dana White and the Octagon girls all sitting cageside.

With the limited time I have been able to spend with the game, I found the Muay Thai clinch to be way too overpowered. I won probably 90 percent of my fights by just getting the Muay Thai clinch and blasting away with knees until my opponent finally fell to the mat. Unless you get knocked out or submitted very early on, this makes it nearly impossible to lose a fight.

On June 17, all features of EA Sports UFC will be unlocked. Be sure to check back for part two of our review as we go more in-depth on career mode and online gameplay.

The Good
Authentic UFC experience, most realistic fighting game to date, awesome overall gameplay experience.

The Not-So-Good
Muay Thai clinch is way too overpowered, training in the early stages of career mode gets repetitive and somewhat boring, framerate hiccups on Xbox One.

The Letdowns
Pride mode is dead.

EA Sports UFC is the best MMA game to date and the best fighting game available now for next-generation consoles.

About The Author

Jason Lundgren

I have been an MMA reporter/opinion writer for over 10 years. I play WAY too many video games. I'm not on Twitter much, but follow me @JLundgrenSports