UFC 5 Review
Extra Features: online multiplayer (2 players), leaderboards, download content
I always look forward to the latest UFC game to see what improvements were made and how the roster has changed. EA Sports UFC 5 is the latest game in the series and it still has the same unique fighting style as the last game. Just like all fighting games, UFC takes dedication to master but it is hard to learn. It’s nearly like picking up a Virtua Fighter game and if you’ve played those, you know how much dedication they take to learn. This latest game in the series has some improvements that will appeal to the most hardcore of fans but everybody else will probably not be as amused.
The most notable change in UFC 5 are the visuals. The fighters from the actual roster look much better. There is definitely more sweat and blood that gets knocked off of fighters during hits now. It’s easy to see wounds (such as cuts) on fighters when they take certain hits. Created fighters look overall better. I do feel that hair textures for created fighters look bad. With all the enhanced visuals for everything else, it’s easy to notice how low-res hair textures (even facial hair) are especially when you have certain colors of hair (i.e. blonde).
The overall gameplay has changed a bit here and there. Grapples and takedown moves have a much better (and easy on the eyes) display when compared to UFC 4. There seems to be no way to fight against submissions anymore. They took out the submission minigame. Some of the move inputs have changed also. It’s really all a matter of opinion whether these changes are good or not. I do like the grapple changes, but I’m indifferent to the move changes. Just like the last game, you can still choose between Legacy, Hybrid and Assist for grapple controls.
The game has a new single player mode called Fight Contracts. This offers up challenges of different difficulties that change every few days. The challenges offer UFC points (coins) for completing them. These challenges range from easy to the highest possible difficulty. Once a challenge expires, it is removed from the list to make way for a new challenge. UFC points can be used to buy new cosmetics for your created fighters from the Store. The Fight Contracts mode is much better when compared to UFC 4’s Daily Challenges.
The overall Career mode is basically the same as the last UFC game. The only thing that has really changed are the additional cutscenes. You are still under the tutelage of Coach Davis and must start from the bottom and rise through ranks by fighting opponents. Gain titles and defend them and work your way to the top. If you played UFC 4, it’s all the same. Just go back and read my review of UFC 4 for an in-depth look at the Career mode for that game and you’ll go through what all this one has to offer. Build up your fighter with Evolution points, gain fans through wins and other actions, train, train, train, train! Sound familiar? Just like before, the training can get super repetitive. You have the option to simulate training for exercises that you have previously finished thankfully. It’s truly disappointing that the developers didn’t spice up the Career mode a bit.
The main difference to Career mode is that you can now play an online Career mode. While online you take on other player’s created characters. Online Career mode is separate from the normal career mode. This mode allows you to make multiple created fighters and enhance their stats with Evolution Points while working your way through the ranks. There is a maximum amount of points that can be used, so you can’t exactly overpower your character. You can activate and deactivate up to four created fighters for matchmaking at a time for matchmaking. Each of the four fighters activated has their own division. And yes, created fighters from other modes can be used the online career mode, but they will start out with just basic stats that you’ll have to increase in the online career mode. For online modes, other than the new online career mode, you still have ranked championship matches and Blitz Battles from the last game.
When it comes to created fighters, just like the last game, there is a real lack of customization options. So much of the unique items are hidden behind UFC points that you have to grind for or spend real currency on. This seems to be an ever-growing trend and UFC 5 definitely contributes to it. You can buy single cosmetic items or bundles of cosmetics for a discount price. As usual, if you choose to gain UFC points without spending real life money, your points will go up VERY slowly.
UFC 5 really just doesn’t have enough enhancements to make the game a worthwhile purchase for most gamers. For a game that comes three years after its predecessor, I expected a lot more. I loaded up UFC 4 after playing UFC 5 and it really felt just about the same. The graphical downgrade in UFC 4 was noticeable once I saw fighters up close and especially in career mode cutscenes, but that is about the only thing that UFC 5 does better than UFC 4. The gameplay is still just as good as UFC 4, but UFC 5 is just too much of the same overall. Hardcore fans of this series will benefit the most from UFC 5, but I know hardcore fans wouldn’t even be reading this review – they already have the game and are happily playing it and could care less about what I have to say. For the rest of us though, UFC 5 just feels like a mediocre upgrade that isn’t really worth its asking price.
+ The overall visuals are better in UFC 5 – this is the biggest change
+ Clinch and takedown grabs have been reworked somewhat
+ New Fight Contract mode for single player adds a bit more single player content outside of Career mode
+ New online Career mode
- Career mode is so much of the same as it was in UFC 4
- Lack of customization for created fighters
- Just overall not many changes.
Final Rating: 65% - EA Sports UFC 5 has so much of the same content that was in UFC 4 that it is hard to recommend to anyone outside of hardcore fans.
Note: A review code for this game was provided by the publisher.