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Five-star preview: Our man loves upcoming UFC game

Games & TechnologyBy Sunday World
Conor McGregor's fighting stance in UFC 2
Conor McGregor's fighting stance in UFC 2

It has been almost two years since the last UFC game, and a lot has changed in the world of MMA since the 2014 release.

The first EA UFC game was pretty solid and boasted some really cool moves, but a complex grappling system and some dodgy judges’ decisions meant the game could be equally as frustrating as it was fun.

The year ahead is set to be the UFC’s biggest yet, and Conor McGregor’s rise to the top has been nothing short of spectacular, so it seemed fitting that EA would have him star on the cover of the new UFC 2 with Ronda Rousey.

Gameplay has also been made a lot more accessible.

One of the game’s biggest issues has always been the complexity of the grappling system, which required hours of practice.

Clearly this is something that EA have focused on in UFC 2, and the gameplay has improved because of it.

When rolling on the mat with an opponent, the transition options are presented to the player above your fighter and knowing your transitions on the ground will help you fight a lot smoother.

Submissions are also vastly improved, and they seem easier than ever to lock in. While playing online as Royce Gracie, I managed to wrap in a kimura against Rory McDonald, my first online submission in any UFC game. There’s also more emphasis on landing strikes instead of power punches. Knockouts seem easier to come by too, which is a welcome change. There is no longer a need to bash the power strike button, instead timing and precision can be the key to victory.

Pacing is also different, with players recommended to take a slower approach going into fights, otherwise they run the risk of getting finished quickly.

With the original UFC game, players relied on holding a single button to protect all parts of their body, and although this mechanism was effective, it was used way too much. Now blocking has been split into two parts, high blocks and low blocks.

Players can no longer rely on holding a single button in hope that they will be protected. This makes fighting a lot more skilled.

Practice sparring is available too and you can choose to focus on certain aspects of your game – if you feel you’re not up to standard on the ground then you can choose to solely spar on the ground.

I utilised this game mode for over an hour and was still having fun when I left.

Something completely new to this year’s title is the addition of Ultimate Team; where players have the ability to create a fighter from scratch and to build him or her into the machine you would like to see in the UFC.

Progression in Ultimate Team comes down to cards you receive in packs, and you can learn things such as new moves or the ability to throw more powerful punches or the ability to kick more effectively. Like all Ultimate Team modes, it becomes strangely addictive from the offset so I can see players utilising this mode straight away.

From start to finish, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to battle with the best in the MMA world. Dana White and co should be very happy with the return from EA; they have taken a game which was previously a journeyman fighter and made it into a pound-for-pound champion of the world.

Release: March 15, 2016.

FIVE STARS

Evan Finlay